Get Poison Ivy

My chosen site for the Botanical Survey Assignment is Blendon Woods Metro Park, located just outside of the outer-belt in Northeast Columbus, near New Albany. Blendon Woods is a 653-acre metro park which boasts a number of valuable ecosystems: oak-hickory forests, beech-maple forests, prairie fields, a pond and stream system, and exposed sandstone rock formations, cut by the ravines which run throughout the park. This park has always been special to me: my father and I used to walk its trails every weekend during the summer break from school. The forests and plants in this park are one of the reasons I fell in love with forestry and chose to pursue it professionally.

Two new trees

1. Eastern cottonwood – Populus deltoides

The eastern cottonwood is one of my favorite trees. It develops deeply furrowed bark as it ages, and is known to love growing in wet landscapes. They are fast-growing trees, with leaves the resemble – you guessed it – a deltoid muscle, from which the species gets its name!

2. Sassafras – Sassafras albidum

Sassafras is a funny little tree. It has three distinct leaf shapes: what I like to call the “claw”, the “mitten”, and the “oval”, all of which can be found on the same branch! Sassafras trees are highly aromatic, I have always thought they smell like lemon pledge furniture polish. The smell comes from safrole oil, which is gives the trees a variety of uses, probably the most notable of which is an important ingredient in root beer! These trees are part of the Native American heritage, and their usefulness was almost exhausted as they were harvested so heavily once Europeans caught wind of how useful they are in medicines and culinary ingredients.

Two new shrubs/woody vines

1. Spicebush – Lindera benzoin

Spicebush is another one of my favorite woody species that can be found in Ohio (I like the species that smell good, can you tell?). They’re shrubs that early surveyors of the country used as an indicator of fertile land. Their leaves turn bright yellow in the fall, and the Native population used the shrubs to treat a number of ailments.

2. Virginia creeper – Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper is a nifty little vine that can be found carpeting the forest floor all over Ohio. Some buildings are covered in this plant as a shading plant. The leading roots of the plant don’t damage the stone, as they climb with adhesive pads, not damagin penetrating roots.

Two new flowering/fruiting plants

  1. Smooth blue aster – Symphyotrichum laeve

 

2. Late goldenrod – Solidago gigantea

Poison Ivy – Toxicodendron radicans

“leaflets of three, leave it be!” is the classic warning to passers-by of this gnarly little vine. These plants can also be seen making their way up tree trunks, creating hairy little leaders into the canopy of the trees.