By Abby Watson

September 10, 2021

This survey was done in the Clintonville portion of Whetstone park in Columbus, Ohio. The exact location is around 40° 02′ 30.514” N 83° 01′ 38.450” W. It is approximately 148 acres, and is home to several different ecosystems such as woodlands, prairie, and ponds. In the photo below, the green areas represent the natural areas where this sample was taken.

Map view of Whetstone Park (Clintonville)

 

PLANT COMMUNITIES

 

I. The Roadside

The roadside habitat is characterized by well kept grass and other manicured plants such as ornamental trees and flowers. Roadside species were not examined in this sample, but future samples will contain other organisms.

 

II. The Woodlands

The woodlands is a habitat characterized by large trees and canopies. Several tree and shrub species were found in these areas such as Acer saccharum, Asmina tribola, Euonymus alatus, and Ribes triste. The other organism found in this habitat was Rhus radicans, or poison ivy. Poison ivy tends to dominate the ground cover along with the sugar maple dominating the canopies. This was also the dominant habitat of the park, as it provides sufficient shade for bike paths and picnic areas.

 

III. The Prairie

The prairie ecosystem is characterized by a lack of trees and large shrubs. Typically only grasses and wildflowers will grow here. This sample did not include any prairie plants as this habitat was under restoration at the time of the sample.

 

IV. The Pond

The pond ecosystem is characterized by a small body of water with vegetation surrounding it. A couple species of wildflowers were found in this area including Osmorhiza longistylis and Aster sedifolius. Other wildflowers were dominant along with grasses and other small shrubs. Aquatic plants were also present inside of the pond. This area was small, only about 50 square meters, but other pond areas are scattered throughout the park.

 

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST

 

Angiospermophyta (Flowering Plants)

Aceraceae (Maple Family)
Acer saccharum (L.) Sugar Maple. Native Tree. CC=5. Extremely abundant in the woodlands ecosystem. It will grow to about 40-80 feet. Produces sap used for maple syrup which is now multi-billion dollar industry in the United States and Canada.

Full image of sugar maple dominating the woodland habitat

Sugar maple leaves

Sugar maple’s simple, lobed leaves

Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)
Rhus radicans (L.) Posion Ivy. Native vine. CC=1. Extremely abundant in the woodlands ecosystem. In fact, it was the first plant I saw. A thornless trifoliate that typically grows to 2′-5′ with leaves about 4″-14″. The plant also contains a dangerous skin irritant.

Posion Ivy in its woodland ecosystem

 

Annonaceae (Custard-Apple Family)

Asmina tribola (L.) Dunal. Pawpaw. Native small tree. CC=6. This relatively large pawpaw was found in the woodlands habitat. This small tree will only grow to about 10-40 feet tall. The pawpaw fruit is edible, but its abundance has decreased due to forest clearing.

Full image of pawpaw tree

Close up of pawpaw leaves

 

Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

Osmorhiza longistylis (Torr.) DC. Sweet Cicely. Native frob. CC=4. Small patch was found along the pond ecosystem. Typically 2-3 feet in height and spread. Leaves are edible and often added to salads. Also has very aromatic plant roots.

Sweet Cicely Close Up

Sweet Cicely full image near pond

 

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Aster sedifolius. Nanus Aster. Alien forb. Small patch was found in along the pond ecosystem. Typically 1′-2′ in both height and spread. Distinguished from other asters by having only 5-10 petals and its light purple color.

Close up of Nanus Aster

Full image of Nanus Aster with pond in the background

 

Celastraceae (Staff-Tree Family)

Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Siebold. Winged Wahoo. Native shrub. CC=*. Extremely common invasive species in midwestern regions in woodland habitats. Deciduous shrub that can grow up to 20′. Leaves are medium to dark green and turn bright red in the fall.

Full image of the shrub in woodland habitat

Opposite, pinnately compound leaves

 

Grossulariaceae (Ribes Family)

Ribes triste (L). Swamp Red Currant. Native shrub. CC=8. The small bush was found in the woodland ecosystem. Not extremely common. Typically about 1-3 feet in height. Fruit is a shiny, smooth, bright red berry ¼ to 3/8 inch in diameter.

Close up of berries

Full image of shrub in woodland habitat

 

CITATIONS

Andreas, Barbara K., John J. Mack, and James S. McCormac. 2004. Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI) for vascular plants and mosses for the State of Ohio. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Surface Water, Wetland Ecology Group, Columbus, Ohio. 219 p. Accessed at https://www.epa.ohio.gov/portals/35/wetlands/Ohio_FQAI.pdf

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. 2021. Whetstone Park. Accessed at https://www.columbus.gov/recreationandparks/parks/whetstone-park/

Gardenia. 2019. Aster sedifolius (Nanus). Accessed at https://www.gardenia.net/plant/aster-sedifolius-nanus-rhone-aster

Harlow, William M. 1946. Fruit Key & Twig Key to Trees & Shrubs. Dover Publications, Inc. New York.

Missouri Botanical Garden. Plant Finder. Accessed at https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=275999&isprofile=0&chr=19

Petrides, George A. 1972. A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs. Houghton Mifflin Company. New York. 

Texas Wildflower Center. 2018. Plant Database. Accessed at https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=astr

Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes Collaborative. 2021. Winged Burning Bush. Accessed at https://woodyinvasives.org/woody-invasive-species/winged-burning-bush/