Trees

I took a hike this weekend at Blendon Woods and I found and identified 8 different trees! Blendon Woods is a low elevation mesic forest with beech-maple and oak-hickory forests throughout. It was so much fun trying to identify these trees without my field guide, and then using it as a reference to double-check. I’ll admit that I’ve definitely been tree blind in the past, not thinking about the many species that I pass each day, but now I can at least confidently identify these 8 tree species!

Bitternut Hickory

Carya cordiformis

Leaf arrangement: alternate, leaf complexity: pinnately compound, leaf margin: serrated

It’s important not to be tree-blind, because during desperate times of need you can find hickory nuts to safely eat, not to be mistaken for other tree nuts that can be toxic if ingested!

Red Oak

Quercus rubra

Leaf arrangement: alternate, leaf complexity: simple, leaf margin: lobed (edges are pointier than the white oak)

Red oaks provide a great food resource for local wildlife, producing over 10,000 acorns when fully mature.

White Oak

Quercus alba

Leaf arrangement: alternate, leaf complexity: simple, leaf margin: lobed (edges are curvier than red oak)

Oak is a strong material and was the wood of choice for viking ships as well as ships in the British Royal Navy, and oak wood continues to be a favorable choice for carpenters today for furniture.

American Elm

Ulmus americana

Leaf arrangement: alternate, leaf complexity: pinnately compound, leaf margin: serrated

American elm trees can be commonly found in cities; it has even been described as “the perfect street tree” due to its ability to grow quickly with a large area of shade provided.

American Beech

Fagus grandifolia

Leaf arrangement: alternate, leaf complexity: pinnately compound, leaf margin: serrated

The bark of beech trees is very thin and is known to scar easily, making them a tree of choice for carving names into. So, next time you’re on a hike and see a tree with initials graffiti all over it, it’s most likely an American beech and will remain like that for the rest of its life.

Sugar Maple

Acer saccharum

Leaf arrangement: opposite, leaf complexity: simple, leaf margin: serrated

It takes about 40 gallons of sap from a sugar maple tree in order to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup. So, next time you’re eating pancakes for breakfast, think of the much sap it takes to make that small bottle!

Black Walnut

Juglans nigra

Leaf arrangement: alternate, leaf complexity: pinnately compound, leaf margin: entire

Early American settlers were known to eat walnuts in their stews and soups, as well as snacking on the entire nut.

Ohio Buckeye

Aesculus glabra

Leaf arrangement: opposite, leaf complexity: palmately compound, leaf margin: serrated

Growing up in Ohio, I’ve always been able to point out a buckeye tree from the pile of nuts that surround them. However, I’ve never taken a closer look at the other components of an Ohio buckeye tree to see the opposite leaf arrangement or its palmate leaf complexity. Also, the buckeye dessert makes a tasty treat, but don’t go around trying to eat buckeye nuts off of the ground — they’re poisonous!