Hello, once again, and welcome back to my Ohio Plants website! These past several weeks, I have been observing the local flora along the Olentangy River Trail. I wanted to share some of the different plant species that I’ve found throughout my observation.

PART ONE: FOUR HIGH CC AND FOUR LOW CC SPECIES

Listed below are some of the various species I’ve discovered along with their CC value.

CC Value – Common Name – Scientific Name

7- Sycamore – Platanus occidentalis
7- Bush-honeysuckle- Diervilla lonicera
6- Smooth Aster- Aster laevis
6 – Ohio Buckeye – Aesculus glabra
5- Yellow Indiangrass – Sorghastrum nutans
5- Black Walnut – Juglans nigra
5 – Wingstem – Verbesina alternifolia
4- Hackberry – Celtis occidentalis
4 – Woodland Sunflower – Helianthus divaricatus
4- Hairy Wild Rye- Elymus villosus
3- Mistflower – Eupatorium coelestinum
3 – Silver Maple – Acer saccharinum
3 – Green Ash –Fraxinus pennsylvanica
3 – Eastern Cottonwood – Populus deltoides
3 – False Indigo – Amorpha fruticose
2- Spotted Touch-me-not – Impatiens capensis
1- Awl Aster – Aster pilosus
1-Canada goldenrod – Solidago canadensis
1 – Poison Ivy – Toxicodendron radicans
1- Pokeweed – Phytolacca americana
0 – Black Locust- Robinia pseudoacacia

Floristic Quality Assessment Index: 16.15

Four Highest CC values

7- Sycamore – Platanus occidentalis
The Sycamore tree has an alternate leaf arrangement, with a simple leaf complexity. The leaf is lobed, semi-circular in shape, and the leaf base is a hallow enclosing for the following years bud. It is common to have a peeled bark making it look both white and gray. One interesting fact that I learned is that as the tree ages, it is typically attacked by a fungus that hallows the tree out, which in turn makes a home for animals.

7- Bush-honeysuckle- Diervilla lonicera
Bush honeysuckle can be identified by its opposite leaf arrangement that consists of simple entire leaves. Another distinguishing point is the red berries that grow from the shrub. Honeysuckle can also be identified by white flowers that sporut from it. One interesting fact about honeysuckle is that it can grow up to 32 feet high!

6- Smooth Aster- Aster laevis
These flowers really stick out with their bluish-purple flowers. Each flower typically has between 15-30 petals. The leaves are typically thicker with an entire margin. One thing that I found interesting is that throughout its lifecycle, the smooth aster changes colors from white, to bluish-purple, to brown.

6 – Ohio Buckeye – Aesculus glabra
The leaves of the Ohio Buckeye Tree have an opposite leaf arrangement that is palmately compound, they also have leaflets of five. Another distinguishing factor for this tree is the fruit that it produces. The buckeye tree produces buckeyes, who would’ve thought. These are brown two-toned nuts that when crushed can have a putrid odor. One interesting fact about buckeye trees is that their fruit is toxic if eaten, but if properly prepared, they can be consumed.

Four Lowest CC Values

1-Canada goldenrod – Solidago canadensis
Canada goldenrod can really shimmer along the riverbanks, it is quite beautiful with the yellow flowers that help make it easily identifiable. These flowers are typically a quarter of an inch wide and compactly grow from the head of the plant. With such a low CC value, it has a wide range of places where it can grow and be successful. I found it interesting that it was used by natives as a sedative and to treat the flu, diarrhea, and fevers.

1 – Poison Ivy – Toxicodendron radicans
Poison Ivy is known for its three leaves, with a glossy look to it. It can grow from a vine, a standing plant, or a bush. Poison Ivy can thrive in various climates throughout the United States except that of Alaska and Hawaii. Though it definitely irritates my skin, I found it interesting that it does not cause the itchy rash on everyone! Some people are immune to these plant defenses, while others like myself are not.

1- Pokeweed – Phytolacca americana
Pokeweed can definitely stand out in the brush due to its brightly colored pink flowers with four petals along with its dark-purple berries that grow off of them. With a CC score this low it also can grow in a wide variety of climates. One interesting fact about pokeweed is that it is poisonous if eaten, and also the berries are used as a fabric dye.

0 – Black Locust- Robinia pseudoacacia
Black locust has the lowest CC value of all the plants I identified. This means it is the tree with the widest range of all those that I discovered. They have an opposite leaf arrangement that is once pinnately compounded. They typically have leaflets of 6-20 as well. One interesting fact about black locust is that it is commonly used to prevent erosion.

PART TWO: FOUR INVASIVE SPECIES (boo, hiss)

Tree of Heaven – Ailanthus altissima
The leaves of a Tree-of-Heaven are alternate in leaf arrangement. They are also once pinnately compounded, with more than five leaflets, and clear sap. A very unique characteristic that these plants have is their scent, which is described by the manual as popcorn with rancid butter.

Chicory – Cichorium intybus
Chicory is very distinct due to its strikingly bright purple color. There are typically 17 petals found of the head of the flower as well. Each of these petals is fused to an anther which is quite unique. One interesting fact is the Chicory roots can be used to make a type of caffeine-free coffee!

Lady’s Thumb – Polygonium persicara
The leaves of a lady’s thumb are alternate in a leaf arrangement. At the tips, there are densely packed groups of pink flowers. Each of these flowers typically has four or five petals, with six stamens as well that all end in a spike. Additionally, the leaves of this plant have been known the treat stomach pain.

White Mulberry Tree – Morus alba
The White Mulberry Tree is a commonly found invasive species that has an alternate leaf arrangement, with a simple leaf complexity. The leaf is lobed, with a solid base at the stem, and contains a cloudy sap in both the twigs and the leaves. White Mulberries are used in alternative medicine to help control the effects of various health conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

PART THREE: FOUR SUBSTRATE-ASSOCIATED SPECIES

-limestone or high-lime substrates
This is an Eastern Redbud also known as Cercis canadensis. It is commonly found in limestone rich environments like that of the Lake Erie Islands. It has a simple leaf that is arranged in an alternate patten. The leaf of this tree is often “Heart-shaped”. One fun fact about this tree is that it is the state tree of Oklahoma.

-the high-lime, clay-rich thick till plains
This tree is the European beech also known as Fagus sylvatica. The are commonly found in western ohio due to the clay-rich substrate found there. The leaves are simple with an alternate leaf arrangement and have a glossy finish to them. Beechnuts are the fruit of this tree and are still commonly eaten by humans.

-the sandstone hills of eastern Ohio
This is a Chestnut Oak also known as Quercus montana. This species typically stays in the sandstone hills of eastern ohio. The tree can be identified by there simple leaves and alternate leaf arrangement. The leaves of this tree also have a glossy finish to them. One intersting face about them is that the wood of this tree is used to make railroad ties and fuel.

-one side or the other of the glacial boundary
This is the Bur Oak which is also known as Quercus marcocarpa. They are identifiable by their simple leaves and their alternate leaf arrangement. Due to the glacial boundary, it is distinctly found in western Ohio due to the rich in clay substrate left behind by the glaciers. I found it interesting that this species can grow up to 120 feet tall!