- This following list of trees prefer the acid sandstone substrate found in southern and eastern Ohio like where Deep Woods is located. This substrate was formed because this section of Ohio did not have glaciers move over it, remaining only eroded in valleys rather than the entire landscape.
Sourwood (Oxydendron arboreum)
Sourwood is a tree with toothed egg shaped simple leaves that have a sour taste. The twigs are hairless and deer like to eat them. Gourmet honey is produced by bees using the nectar created by the flowers of this tree. Also its leaves and bark were used by the pioneers to cure various ailments, like mouth pain, dysentery, and indigestion.
Hemlock (Tsuga canadenis)
Hemlock’s needles are white underneath which distinguish it from other species, the twigs are rough and the needles attached by slender stocks. The leaves and twigs were used to make tea. It is an important food source for many wildlife species, the seeds and needles are eaten by grouse, twigs by deer, red squirrel, hare, and rabbits.
Chestnut oak (Quercus motana)
We did not get to see a chestnut oak on our field trip because these oaks like to inhabit dryer substrates. These usually occur on the hilltops where there is shallow or exposed sandstone bedrock. Chestnut oak is a tree that has been planted along roads and parking lots due to its low maintenance, it is treated as a good shade tree.
American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
Hornbeam has very distinctive bark that is smooth and kind of looks like muscles. It is used by beavers to create dams. Hornbeam is also the host plant for eastern tiger swallowtail. It doesn’t have much economic use but many wildlife species benefit from having this tree in the landscape.
American chestnut is susceptible to a fungus called chestnut blight or Cryphonectria parasitica. The fungus was introduced to the United States in the early 1900s. They grow in the inner bark of the tree and infect the branches and stems first and eventually girdled the tree and kill it, closing off the nutrient pathways. Native to China the pathogen doesn’t affect the Chinese chestnut in the same fatal way. In effort to save the American chestnut work done to hybridize the American chestnut with the resistant Chinese chestnut, to get a hybrid with the characteristics of the American and the resistance to the fungus of the Chinese.
A fungus called Ophiognomonia clavigignenti-juglandacearum effects the butternut trees. The pathogen enters the tree through wounds creating cankers, the tree tries to heal itself by growing wood overtop the cankers. The branches are first to be affected by this fungus. This fungus’s origin is unknown but is believed to be introduced to North America. To promote survival of the butternut trees managers and scientists recommend to remove infected trees as quickly as possible to keep the fungus from spreading.
Vittaria applalachiana’s common name is Appalachian gametophyte, it lives in the Appalachian Mountains and plateau of eastern United States. What makes it unique is that it exists exclusively as a reproducing gametophyte. They reproduce asexually and never grow into mature sporophytes. They inhabit rock outcrops that are usually near water.
Fern gemmae are much larger than spores so they are limited to how far wind dispersal will work for them. They are dispersed much shorter distances by wind, water, and possible animals. A study by Kimmerer and Young 1995 shown that gemmae dispersal has been accomplished over short distances by slugs.
It is thought that spore dispersal from a mature sporophyte is responsible for the distribution of the Appalachian gametophyte today. The specie is absent north of the glacial boundary. This species lost it ability to form functioning sporophytes sometime before or during the last ice age due to this limited range.
The wide range of the Appalachian gametophyte is most likely due to it once being a fully functioning sporophyte. This sporophyte is responsible for dispersing the gametophyte to its current range. It is absent north of the glacial boundary because they lost their sporophyte before or during the ice age so it did not make it pass it. The range now is supported by short dispersal distances by wind, water, or animals .
Ferns with similar frond types
Cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)
Cinnamon fern is holodiamorphic, it produces separate fronds ones that are fertile (devoted to spore production) and ones that are sterile (devoted to vegetation). They are native to North America with a wide range but only grow in moist shaded areas. Their fronds are between 2-4 feet long, the leaflets are lance like. Their fertile fronds start a pale green but change to a brown. Native people used cinnamon fern to cure headaches, colds, and even snakebites. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
Sensitive fern is also holodimorphic with separate sterile and fertile fronds. The sterile fronds are triangular in shape and have opposite pinnate leaves, they die back at the first frost giving them their name being sensitive to the cold. The fertile fronds on the other hand persist longer into the winter, starting out green they mature to a brown and release their spores in the spring. Sensitive fern is not very useful in many aspects like medicine and consumption. They are the last choice for many wildlife species and can actually rob the body of vitamin B when eaten in large amounts.