pawpaw (Asimina triloba, Annonaceae)

        The first tree I came across was actually right outside where our lab takes place, at Jennings Hall. While we were identifying flowers I noticed this pawpaw tree, or Asimina triloba, within the small garden outside of Jennings. The pawpaw is part of the Annonaceae family.

The pawpaw leaf arrangement is     simple, alternate.

Each leaf is long, rounded and            oblong in shape.


As you can see in these pictures, the leaves are of a simple alternate pattern. The leaves are oblong with entire margins. Each leaf has a slight wave or curl to them, as well as slightly pointed tips.


      Currently pawpaws are in fruit! Seen below, this particular pawpaw has small green fruits forming within its foliage. From what I’ve heard, pawpaw fruits have a combination of a tropical, citrusy flavor as well as a sweet mellow taste to them.

Pawpaw fruit is said to be ripened and ready to pick once the flesh has become slightly soft to the touch.

Pawpaw fruit is said to have a unique taste, something like a cross between a banana and a mango.


hackberry (Celtis occidentalis, Ulmaceae)

        The next tree I found was a hackberry on the edge of the oval, near mirror lake. Hackberry is also known as Celtis occidentalis, in the Ulmaceae family. The leaves growing on this hackberry are simple and narrow, forming in an alternate arrangement. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell in the photo, but each leaf has small toothed serrations bordering them.

Hackberry leaves are rounded with pointed tips and small serrations bordering each one.

The bark on hackberry has wart-like blemishes peppered along the surface.


        As I learned last year in my woody plants ID class, a fun part of hackberries, as well as a tip for identification, is their bark! Their greyish bark has warty protrusions littered all throughout.

black alder (Alnus, Corylaceae)

        The next few trees I found while along a walk inside the oval, the first one being black alder. Black alder is, according to Peterson’s field guide of trees and shrubs (pages 229 and 336), of the Alnus genus and Corylaceae family.

                            The leaves on black alder have a wide round shape. They are simple and alternately arranged, with toothed serrations. Their buds are long and rounded, some having a slight curl to them. This specific black alder had bunches of seeds clumped throughout the branches, having the appearance of miniature pine cones.


catalpa (Catalpa spp., Bignoniaceae)

        Another tree I found, more towards the outskirts of the oval, is catalpa. Catalpa is part of the Bignoniaceae family, its scientific name being Catalpa spp.









A signature characteristic of Catalpa are their 
humongous heart-shaped leaves. While it may be hard to tell in the photo, trust me, they’re huge. Absolutely monstrous in size. Their complexity is simple and are arranged in whorls of three.

     Here you can see there are also an abundance of seed pods present. They are quite long, thin and greenish in color.


magnolia (Magnolia, Magnoliaceae)

        I also found a magnolia within the oval. Magnolia’s genus is, surprise surprise, Magnolia. And you’d never guess, its family? Magnoliaceae. Their leaves are simple and rounded, with slight points to each tip. The leaves are arranged alternately.



While you may have noticed the white fuzzy formation at the end of some of the branches, according to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (, the bud scales of magnolias are covered in fine silver hairs that act as insulation for frost protection.







Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra, Hippocastanaceae)

        The symbols of our school, scattered all throughout campus are Aesculus glabra, Ohio buckeyes. I found this particular buckeye on the oval as well, and snapped some photos of a smaller one at mirror lake.

             Part of the Hippocastanaceae family, Ohio buckeyes have oppositely arranged palmately compound leaves of five, each with fine serrations. 


        The buds are orangish-brown, layered like scales. They are rounded with pointed tips, and tend to be quite large in size. Some of the ones I’ve seen in Buckeye Grove have been one and a half to two inches long!

red oak (Quercus rubra, Fagaceae)

        Sitting in front of Pomerene Hall, with large trees looming all around, is a young red oak. Red oak, or Quercus rubra, is of the Fagaceae family.

        Red oak leaves are simple and arranged alternately on each branch. Each leaf contains numerous pointed lobes with deep grooves and clearly defined veins.


The buds on each twig are pointed and are dark brown-reddish in color. At the end of each twig, clusters of these buds can be found.




flowering dogwood (Cornus florida, Cornaceae)

        A journey’s away from campus, a flowering dogwood can be found. Residing within the garden of my front yard, is a Cornus florida, a humble member of the Cornaceae family. The leaves are rounded with curled pointed tips. Along the twigs, they are simple and arranged oppositely.

                                                                On my tree back at home, flowers are already starting to emerge. Long stems with large clusters of flowers can be seen peeking out of the branches. Not shown in my photos, but a helpful fact I learned last year in my woody plant ID class was that the bark of flowering dogwoods is distinctive, with a similar appearance to that of alligator scales.


honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos, Fabaceae)

        As a bonus tree I have included a Gleditsia triacanthos, or honey locust. A member of the Fabaceae family, these trees are one of my favorites to view. Their small pinnately compound, sometimes twice-compound, leaves remind me of that of a fern.


        On my walk back to my apartment, the roadside is decorated with honey locust. Each afternoon, their fine leaves create a dappled effect of sunlight along the sidewalk. Honey locusts are actually a part of the legume family, with browned, curled bean pods decorating the foliage.