Battelle Darby Park

Battelle Darby Creek features more than 7,000 acres of forest, prairies and wetlands. It stretches along 13 miles of the Big and Little Darby creeks, both State and National Scenic Rivers. Besides the areas surrounding the creeks, there are also over 1,600 acres of restored wetlands and prairies. Bison have been reintroduced to the park and roam freely within two enclosed pastures.

Battelle Darby Creek

For the Battelle Darby field trip I was to capture three instances of wildlife interacting with plants

Bee pollinating a flower is one example of plants and other wildlife interacting.

Small mammals like rabbits are methods of seed dispersal for some plants when the seed attached to their fur or if they eat the fruit of the flower and pass the seed through digestion.

Squirrels use trees to nest along with the leaves provided by the trees

Hocking Hills Deep Woods

Jack In The Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)- One to two large leaves which is divided into three leaflets. Large cylindrical flower, covered with a “hood”.

Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) –  leafless stalk bears flowers (rarely 2) with a distinctive pink, inflated, slipper-like lip petalveined with red and with a fissure down the front.

Squawroot or American Cancer Root (Orobanche americana) – 

A parasitic plant with yellowish to cream-colored flowers emerging among lanceolate or ovate, pointed, yellow-tan scales on upper part of a fleshy stalk.

This plant resembles a pinecone as it becomes dry and brown with age. A parasite, it gets its nourishment from the roots of oaks, its host trees. A closely related species, Alpine Squawroot (C. alpina), occurs from the southwestern United States down to Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

Four plants I observed that were consistent  with the patterns that Forsyth explains were:

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) is an acidic soil growing small shrub that has broad to elliptical leaves. The fruit is a small sweet dark blue to black berry. They require soil that is high in organic matter, and they’ll grow best in sandy, well-drained soil. Each plant can grow to between 6 and 24 inches (15 to 61 cm.) tall

Chestnut  Oak (Quercus montana) is an oak of the White oak group native to the eastern United States. It is sometimes known as rock oak because it can be found in rocky habitats as well as acidic ones.

Image result for american chestnut tree

American Chestnut  (Castanea dentata) once dominated the eastern half of the U.S. Because it could grow rapidly and attain huge sizes, the tree was often the outstanding visual feature in both urban and rural landscapes. The wood was used wherever strength and rot-resistance was needed. In colonial America, chestnut was a preferred species for log cabins, especially the bottom rot-prone foundation logs. Later posts, poles, flooring, and railroad ties were all made from chestnut lumber. The edible nut was also a significant contributor to the rural economy. Hogs and cattle were often fattened for market by allowing them to forage in chestnut-dominated forests.

Pink Ladies’ Slippers (Cypripedium acaule) – This herb is found in the eastern part of ohio on the sandstone hills which have the driest substrates. s a large, showy wildflower belonging to the orchid family. It has two opposite basal leaves with conspicuous parallel veins and a large flower at the end of an erect stalk. The flower is magenta to whitish-pink; sometimes the whitish pink flowers will have darker pink venation.

Geobotany of Ohio

The interdisciplinary study involving both geology and botany has been coined as geobotany. The geology of ohio can be divided into two parts. To the west, the region is dominated by limestone  which is relatively nonresistant in the humid climate. Erosion over millions of years caused the area to turn into a flatland. The eastern part of Ohio contains acidic soils and sandstone substrates. This sandstone substrate is resistant, but permeable, which has shaped the landscape into hills and deep valleys due to erosion patterns along stream beds. An example of this is Highbanks Metro Park.

These  regions of Ohio came to be stacked upon one another; sandstone layers on shale, which rested on limestone. These layers formed an arch through Ohio, with the highest part of the arch residing in Western Ohio and it exposed the limestone. In the East of Ohio, which the lowest part of the arch resided, the sandstone was exposed instead of the limestone like in the western part. The erosion effected the western part of Ohio more so than the eastern part due to limestone be nonresistant to the humidity. The Teays River,  was a river that caused most of the erosion that occurred in Ohio. The glacial advancements of the Ice Age stopped the river which ran for nearly 200 million years. The sandstone layers in the East stopped the glacial advance however while the limestone was eroded all the way into Kentucky. Glacial till is a mixture of sand, silt, clay, and boulders that is accumulated through the melting of glaciers.  Western Ohio is dominated by lands of limey clay, leaving the area with pour drainage, inadequate aeration, and with a low pH from the pooling nutrients caused from the clay not allowing water to penetrate into the ground properly. The opposite is true of the Eastern Ohio region. The soils there are permeable, acidic, and aerated, which causes low nutrient availability which is exacerbated if the area is a dry hilltop.

The basis of what species grows where is entirely due to the soil type. Unlike the acidic  soil on this trip, limey soil grows plants like Redbud (Cercis canadensis), Red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), which could be seen at Battelle Darby Metro Park. Above, the acidic species seen at Deep Woods were discussed. The Appalachian gametophyte was found in the acidic region, but growing in a cavern. The cavern the gametophyte grew in was moist and deprived of sunlight which is the perfect growing conditions for the gametophyte

Cedar Bog

Pictured above is a landscape shot of cedar bog. The Bog, which is actually a fen, was accessed through a boardwalk that intersected in between the bog. Woody plants and herbaceous plants surrounded the boardwalk, giving the b fen enthusiast a beautiful peek at the nature surrounding them.

Cedar Bog is actually a fen. The difference between a bog and a fen is that a fen gets some of it’s water from streams or ground water, so you can often see running water in a fen such as we did at cedar bog. Fens also have greater water exchange and are less acidic than a bog. However, both have similarities from containing peat. Bogs have standing water which is only gotten rid of mainly through evaporation. These conditions for the fen came about from glacial movement millions of years ago. The movement left Cedar bog in a valley from lines being made east and west of the bog. Water movement is allowed in the fen due to the fact the hills are made up of sand and limestone gravel which allows water flow.

The first plant to keep an eye out for is the Cotton sedge (Eriophorum viridicarinatum) They are easily spotted with their fluffy white flowers. Cotton sedge can be grown in places of loam, clay, or even sand. The plant is found to be grown in moist soils making fens a perfect place to grow. In Northern Europe, they were used as a substitute in the production of paper, pillows, candle-wicks, and wound-dressings.

Longhair Sedge (Carex comosa) is another graminoid, much like our cotton grass. This sedge is found naturally in wet meadows, marshes, shallow water and the shores of streams and ponds. Its range is vast and includes most of the Eastern, Midwestern and Western US and Canada. Longhair sedge produces lime green, bristly, hanging seedheads after it is established. Its long, green leaf blades angle in a triangular shape. Its showy seed heads are similar to C. lurida, but are green rather than yellow. Longhair Sedge is useful for wetland restoration, moist areas, and bioretention projects. It is appropriate for areas that remain moist.