Plants of Whetstone Park, Clintonville

The site I have chosen to survey is Whetstone Park, and it is located in Clintonville, OH north of campus. This site is comprised of approximately 136 acres of urban and forested land which is commonly used as educational and demonstration sites. Portions of Whetstone Park have recently been converted into prairie lands. Whetstone Park is home to the Park of Roses, which consists of ~11,000 roses on 13 acres.

Plant Diversity in Whetstone Park:

Trees:

1. Boxelder Maple – Acer negundo

2. American Sycamore – Platanus occidentalis

Sycamores are the largest deciduous tree in the Eastern U.S. and can even grow up to 100 feet tall! These trees can be easily identified even without their leaves — their bark peels away, revealing white, fresh bark contrasting with the older, light grey bark.

 

Shrubs:

1. Northern Spicebush – Lindera benzoin

This plant can be identified by its alternative leaves (unlike honeysuckle) and red berries. This shrub is known for its strong, spicy aroma and its berries can even be used as an alternative for Allspice when dried and crushed

 

2. Amur Honeysuckle – Lonicera maackii

Amur honeysuckle is wildly invasive, and can rapidly overtake areas, even outcompeting some native flora. It can be identified by its opposite leaves and hollow stems (seen in picture 2).

 

Flowering Plants:

1. White Snakeroot – Ageratina altissima

White snakeroot is poisonout to humans and domestic animals, containing a toxic substance called Tremetol in its leaves and stems.

 

2. Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod – Solidago rugosa

Poison Ivy – Toxicodendron radicans

 

Species List:

Pawpaw – Asimina triloba

CC: 6

White Snakeroot – Eupatorium rugosum

CC: 3

American Sycamore – Platanus occidentalis

CC: 7

Northern Red Oak – Quercus rubra

CC: 6

White Clover – Trifolium repens

CC: 0

Sugar Maple – Acer saccharum

CC: 5

Silver Maple – Acer saccharinum

CC: 3

Common Burdock – Arctium minus

CC: 0

Eastern White Pine – Pinus strobus

CC: 0

Common Hackberry – Celtis occidentalis

CC: 4

Dawn redwood – Metasequoia glyptostroboides

CC: 0

Amur Honeysuckle – Lonicera maackii

CC: 0

Drummond’s Aster – Symphyotrichum drummondii

CC: 6

Shingle Oak – Quercus imbricaria

CC: 5

Eastern Redbud – Cercis canadensis

CC: 3

White Mulberry – Morus alba

CC: 0

Riverbank Grape – Vitis riparia

CC: 3

Wingstem – Verbesina alternifolia

CC: 5

Box Elder – Acer negundo

CC: 3

Northern Spicebush – Lindera benzoin

CC – 5

 

Floristic Quality Assessment Value: 29

 

Highest CC:

All of these plants have an intermediate range of their CCs, so they are able to tolerate moderate disturbances.

American Sycamore (7)

Sycamores are the largest deciduous tree in the Eastern U.S. and can even grow up to 100 feet tall! It can be easily identified by its peeling bark and large leaves.

Pawpaw (6)

Pawpaws are one of my favorite plants in Ohio. The pawpaw is actually Ohio’s official native fruit! Every year, there is a pawpaw festival in Athens, OH that I’ve gone to the past few years and I highly recommend! There are people from all over Ohio that come and make different products with the pawpaw, including pawpaw beer for anyone over 21. There are fun seminars about a wide breadth of topics — there’s something for everyone!

Northern Red Oak (6)

Red oaks can be identified by their bristle-tipped lobes and alternate, simple leaves. Red oaks have ectomycorrhizal relationships with ascomycete fungi that allow them to have increased growth rates.

Drummond’s Aster (6)

Drummond’s asters are typically a blue-purple color and can be identified by their heart-shaped leaved with toothed edges. This flower was named after a famous naturalist, Thomas Drummond, who collected over 750 species of plants, as well as discovering numerous mosses.

Lowest CC:

These plants have a wide range of ecological tolerances. This means that they can be found in a variety of plant habitats — even becoming opportunistic invaders of natural areas when given the opportunity. They are typically early colonizers of disturbed sites and can handle a plethora of environmental disturbances.

White Snakeroot (3)

White snakeroots have clusters of small, white flowers in a flat head. This plant has been used for making teas and poultices (wound-dressings) made out of the roots, and it got its name from the belief that its poultices could cure snakebites.

Silver Maple (3)

Silver maple can be identified by its silvery-white color on the underside of the leaves, which I thought was very pretty when I saw it at the site. The tree is known for its sweet sap, that is sometimes even preferred over sugar maple sap, but it isn’t used commercially due to its slow production.

Box Elder (3)

This tree can be identified by its pinnately compound leaves that are described as being ash-colored and has samara fruits. The box elder is sometimes called a “maple outcast,” because it is the only native maple with more than one blade or leaflet on a leaf stalk. The box elder tree attracts pests called boxelder bugs that emit foul odors and can even cause asthmatic reactions in humans.

Eastern Redbud (3)

The redbud tree can be identified by its heart-shaped leaves and legume seeds, as well as its pink flowers. Quite a few parts of the tree are edible: the buds, flowers, and seeds are commonly eaten either cooked, raw, or even pickled.

Invasive Species:

These species have either a CC of 0 or very low, because they are advantageous and can take over areas from other species. Some are native but invasive, while others are nonnative.

Amur Honeysuckle

Amur honeysuckle is wildly invasive, and can rapidly overtake areas, even outcompeting some native flora. It can be identified by its opposite leaves and hollow stems (seen in picture 2).

Riverbank Grape

The riverbank grape can be identified by its vining tendrils with large, alternate, simple leaves. Although riverbank grape is native, it is invasive and can climb other species and kill them by out competing them. This vine can even reach 65+ feet in length.

White Clover

The white clover can be identified by its round, white flowers and leaves of three. It’s always fun to try and find a four-leafed clover, but did you know that the world record for the most leaves on a clover was 56 leaves?!

Common Burdock

Common burdock can be identified by its broad, large leaves and its burrs (the most annoying part of burdock). These burrs stick to people or animals and are able to use them as a method of seed dispersal. Burdock is sometimes consumed for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Substrate-Associated Species:

Eastern Redbud

Limestone-loving plant. This plant can be identified by its heart-shaped leaves and legume seeds, as well as its pink flowers.

Common Hackberry

Limestone-loving plant. This plant can be identified by its alternate, simple leaves. Also, you can tell it is a hackberry by touching the rough underside of the leaf.

Eastern Hemlock

Commonly found in acidic soils, but I did spot this tree in a predominantly limestone area, so it may be found outside of sandstone substrates. One of its predominant features are its teeny tiny cones, which are my absolute favorite.

American Hop Hornbeam

Limestone-loving plant. It can be identified by its fruits shaped like hops and its finely serrated leaves.

 

Overall, I was not surprised with the substrate-associated plants that I found at my site, since it has limey substrate. The only one that somewhat surprised me was the hawthorn, since they typically grow within acidic soils.