BOTANICAL SURVEY OF WHETSTONE PARK

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. These species can be more non-native species, as a lot of them were most likely planted.

 

II. The Woodlands

The woodlands is a habitat characterized by large trees and canopies. Several tree and shrub species were found in these areas. Trees will dominate the upper canopy zone for this area. For the ground cover zone, many shrubs and forbs will be found here. Oftentimes, poison Ivy was found in this area.

 

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 included an abundance of these species, despite the fact that the park had an entire prairie area under construction.

 

IV. The Pond

The pond ecosystem is characterized by a small body of water with vegetation surrounding it. The most diverse group of wildflowers were found here, along with other water-loving species. One of the most dominant species was the variety of cat-tails found.

 

 

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST

Gymnosperms (Conifers)

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Thuja occidentalis (L.) Northern White Cedar. Native tree. CC=9. Very uncommon species due to regeneration failures such as germination substrate, overstory competition, understory competition, browsing by whitetail deer, and hydrologic conditions in wetlands (Reuling, 2019). It is often referred to as Arbor Vitae after it seemed to have cured Jacques Cartier’s team of scurvy. 

Northern White Cedar

 

 

Angiospermophyta (Flowering Plants)

Aceraceae (Maple Family)

Acer negundo (L.) Boxelder Maple. Native tree. CC=3. Common maple tree found in woodlands area. It is the only native maple with compound leaves. Native American Plains Indians used the sap from the box elder to make a fine, white sugar, though sap from the box elder is not as sweet as that of the sugar maple (University of Kentucky, 2019).

Acer saccharinum (L.) Silver Maple. Native tree. CC=3. A second common maple, also found in woodlands habitats. Characterized by the silver pigment on the under side of the leaf. Otherwise, a common maple leaf shape.

Silver Maple

 

Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)

Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze. Posion Ivy. Native Vine. CC=1. Found on the ground cover of the woodlands. Nearly all parts of the plant contain urushiol. When the plant is touched, the substance produces in many persons a severe, itchy, and painful inflammation of the skin known as contact dermatitis (Petruzello, 2019).

Poison Ivy

 

Annonaceae (Custard Apple Family)

Asimina triloba (L.) Pawpaw. Native Small Tree. CC=6. Small tree found in woodlands habitats. Moderately common. It’s the only local member of a large, mainly-tropical plant family, and produces the largest edible fruit native to North America (Matthews, 2016).

 

Apiaceae (Carrot Family)

Osmorhiza longistylis (Torr.) DC. Smooth Sweet Cicely. Native Forb. CC=4. Found in the woodlands along the forest edge. Native Americans employed sweet cicely and aniseroot as a treatment for a number of conditions. The most notable was as a soothing eyewash, necessitated by the prevalence of eye infections attributed to the frequent exposure to smoke (Hiker’s Notebook, 2015).

 

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Cirsium altissimum (L.) Hill. Tall Thistle. Native Forb. CC=4. Common plant found in prairie ecosystems. Flower heads many, solitary at the branch tips, pink-purple or reddish purple, rarely white (Missouri Department of Conservation, 2021). Common source of nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies, skippers, and moths.

Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench. Purple Coneflower. Native forb. CC=6. Found in the prairie ecosystem, slightly uncommon. Extracts thought to improve white blood count. Echinacin stops bacteria from forming the hyaluronidase enzyme, which helps make cells more susceptible to infection. It’s a mild natural antibiotic (TWC Staff, 2020).

Purple Coneflower

 

Eupatorium rugosum (Houtt.) White Snakeroot. Native Forb. CC=3. Found in woodlands area as ground cover underneath the canopy. Very common in this area, one of the only plants still flowering. It is commonly known to poison the milk of a cow that consumes snakeroot. This has lead to many deaths, famously including Abraham Lincoln’s mother (Petruzello, 2016). 

White Snakeroot

 

Silphium perfoliatum (L.) Cup Plant. Native Forb. CC=6. Found in a prairie ecosystem, but not abundant. Characterized by its square stems and pairs of cup-forming leaves that hold water. Soft yellow flowers grow three inches in diameter with darker yellow center disks (Grow Native, 2021).

Solidago rugosa (Mill.) Rough Goldenrod. Native Forb. CC=2. Very abundant in prairie and roadside ecosystems. Goldenrods are very common throughout Ohio, but this particular species can be identified by its flower panicles that resemble fireworks (Gardenia, 2013).

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (L.) New England Aster. Native Forb. CC=2. Relatively common plant, found near pond ecosystems. Often used to attract butterflies or add its purple color to scenery (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2019).

Verbesina alternifolia (L.) Britton ex Kearney. Wingstem. Native Forb. CC=5. Fairly common, found in the prairie ecosystem. Wingstem is sometimes called yellow ironweed because it resembles New York ironweed. However, it is characterized by the “winged” stem whereas on ironweed it is not winged (Virginia Wildflowers, 2015).

 

Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)

LONICERA MAACKII (Rupr.) Maxim. Amur Honeysuckle. Alien Shrub. CC=*. Invasive shrub that dominates the woodlands of Ohio. Often called central Ohio’s #1 “least-wanted” non-native invasive species. It is potentially the most dominant species in central Ohio (Johnson, 2018). Mechanical and chemical methods of preventing this species are being used.

Amur Honeysuckle

 

LONICERA TATARICA (L.) Tatarian Honeysuckle. Alien Shrub. CC=*. Found of the ground cover of the woodlands ecosystem. This species is particularly destructive because it can suppress native plant and timber regeneration and form monocultures (Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 2021).

VIBURNUM OPULUS (L.) Guelder-Rose. Alien Shrub. CC=*. Commonly found on the ground cover of woodland habitats. The real distribution of Guelder-rose in the state is uncertain, since it has been widely planted as an ornamental shrub and looks essentially identical to the native (Minnesota Wildflowers, 2011).

 

Celastraceae (Staff-Tree Family)

EUONYMUS ALATUS (Thunb.) Siebold. Winged Wahoo. Alien Shrub. CC=*. Invasive threat found in open forests, forest edges, pastures, prairies, roadsides. Dominates hardwood forests shrub layer. Leaves turn a bright red in the fall.

EUONYMUS EUROPAEUS (L.) Fortune’s Spindle. Alien Shrub. CC=*. Woody shrub found in woodlands areas. This invasive species originates from Asia and Europe, and is thought to have been brought to North America for traditional use, where the hardwood was used to create spindles for wool (University of Vermont, 2021).

 

Chenopodiaceae (Amaranth Family)

Chenopodium berlandieri (Moq.) Pitseed Goosefoot. Native Forb. CC=1. Very common herbaceous weed. Found in disturbed areas such as clear forests or roadsides. This species is found in each state in the United States except for Hawaii (Calscape, 2008).

 

Cyperaceae (Sedge Family) 

Carex alopecoidea (Tuck.) Northern Fox Sedge. Native Sedge. CC=5. Relatively uncommon. Found in prairie ecosystems. Characterized by tussocks with fine-textured bristly fruiting heads like a fox’s tail. Good colonizer of disturbed, open, moist ground (TWC Staff, 2018).

 

Fabaceae (Legume Family)

Desmodium nudiflorum (L.) DC. Naked Tick Trefoil. Native Forb. CC=5. Found on the ground cover of woodlands. Fairly abundant, despite its CC value. Characterized by very small flowers and legume fruits.

Gleditsia triacanthos (L.) Honeylocust. Native Tree. CC=4. Very common in this area. Trees scattered, and the legume fruit is found abundantly scattered on the woodland ground. Extremely ecologically beneficial, as the bean pods are a favorite food of the white-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, hogs, opossums, and raccoons, along with other domestic animals (Evertson, 2012).

Honeylocust Legume

 

 

Fagaceae (Oak or Beech Family)

Quercus bicolor (Willd.) Swamp White Oak. Native Tree. CC=7. Not super abundant. Commonly found in low-lying moist sites, along bottomlands and in swamps subject to periodic flooding (Iowa State University, 2021). In addition to relative scarcity, its wood is considered less valuable due to its low branches, despite the wood being very similar to other white oaks.

Quercus macrocarpa (Michx.) Bur Oak. Native Tree. CC=6. Relatively uncommon due to slow growing and a deep tap root. Found in woodlands. The wood is very useful, it has been used for furniture, building construction, mine timbers, railroad ties and a host of utilitarian items (Columbus Dispatch, 2021).

 

Juglandaceae (Walnut Family)

Juglans nigra (L.) Eastern Black Walnut. Native Tree. CC=5. Extremely abundant in Whetstone Park. Found in the woodlands canopy with extensive numbers of walnuts on the ground. May even be a hazard for twisting your ankle. American settlers discovered the eastern black walnut in forest throughout the “New World” using it as fence posts, shingles, sills, and poles because of its resistance to decay (Swetlitz & Egbe, 2017).

 

Lamiaceae (Mint Family)

Mentha arvensis (L.) Field Mint. Native Forb. CC=2. Found along the stream-side near the pond ecosystem. This species looks, smells, and tastes very similar to its introduced cousin, peppermint. The main difference is that field mint flowers are at the leaf axes and peppermint flowers are in a terminal spike (Mitchell, 2012).

Scutellaria lateriflora (L.) Mad Dog Skullcap. Native Forb. CC=3. Found in the prairie ecosystem and near the pond. It is commonly used in herbal medicine as a mild sedative and sleep promoter (Calscape, 2010).

 

Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed Family)

Phytolacca americana (L.) American Pokeweed. Native Forb. CC=1. Often found in the open areas of the forest edge.  The entire plant is poisonous causing a variety of symptoms, including death in rare cases. The berries are especially poisonous (Taylor, 2020).

 

Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Plantago virginica (L.) Virginia Plantain. Native Forb. CC=1. This species is a native weed that is abundant in prairie ecosystems and along roadsides. It can usually be found in disturbed areas with scant vegetation (NC State Extension, 2017). 

 

Platanaceae (Plane-Tree Family)

Platanus occidentalis (L.) Sycamore. Native Tree. CC=7. Found in the woodlands. Rather common in the cite, regardless of its relatively high CC value. While it is not the tallest tree, it is considered the largest tree defined by circumference in the the entire eastern half of the United States (Ohio DNR, 2019).

Sycamore

 

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Andropogon gerardii (Vitman). Big Bluestem. Native grass. CC=5. Warm season grass that grows in prairie ecosystems. It is commonly used in erosion control plantings, and it is a good native choice for grazing forage and is very palatable to livestock (Shurette, 2018).

Elodea canadensis (L.) Canada Wild Rye. Native Grass. CC=6. Found in a prairie ecosystem. Characterized by a single, nodding to drooping, thick spike 3 to 10 inches long at the tip of the stem, with a group of 2 or 3 erect to ascending spikelets at each node (Minnesota Wildflowers, 2014).

Canada Wild Rye

 

Elymus virginicus (L.) Virginia Wild Rye. Native Grass. CC=3. Grass species which is very common and found in prairie ecosystems. Similar to the Canada Wild Rye, but characterized by a smaller, less showy seed head. As a fast growing grass, it is a good choice for erosion control and stream bank stabilization (Prairie Moon Nursery, 2021).

MICROSTEGIUM VIMINEUM (Trin.) A. Camus. Japanese Stiltgrass. Alien Grass. CC=*. Invasive grass that is commonly found in forested floodplains, forest edges, stream banks, fields, trails, and ditches. It thrives in disturbed, open areas (Reid & O’Brien, 2019). Around 1919, it was found to have been introduced to North America, in Tennessee, most likely through its use as a packing material for porcelain.

 

Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family) 

Rhamnus caroliniana (Walter). Carolina Buckthorn. Native Shrub. CC=4. Found in the understory of the woodlands. Relatively common. Their ripe berries attract birds and the leaves and bark are browsed by deer (TWC Staff, 2015).

 

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

ROSA MULTIFLORA (Thunb. ex Murray) Multiflora Rosa. Alien Shrub. CC=*. Moderately common in the site, but a state-wide invasive threat. State conservation departments encouraged people and organizations to plant multiflora rose to create a source of food for song birds and for wildlife cover for many kinds of animals. Additionally, some highway departments encouraged the use of multiflora rose on highway median strips to reduce headlight glare from oncoming traffic and as a natural crash barrier to stop out-of-control cars (Wenning, 2012).

 

Smilacaceae (Greenbrier Family)

Smilax rotundifolia (L.) Common Greenbrier. Native Vine. CC=4. Found on the ground cover of the woodlands habitat. This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home (NC State, 2013).

 

Typhaceae (Cat-Tail Family)

Typha latifolia (L.) Broad-Leaved Cat-Tail. Native Forb. CC=1. Found in the pond ecosystem, but can be found extensively in wet meadows, marshes, fens, pond and lake margins, roadside ditches, irrigation canals, oxbow lakes, and backwater areas of rivers and streams. Can be considered a weed due to its quick reproduction and its tolerance of harsh conditions (Pratt, 2017). Each spike may contain 117,000 to 268,000 seeds, leading to its quick reproduction.

 

Ulmaceae (Elm Family)

Celtis occidentalis (L.) Common Hackberry. Native Tree. CC=4. Very common tree found in the woodlands. Characterized by leaves shaped like spearheads, and dark red drupes as its fruit. Very similar to elm trees, but not susceptible to the disease (Arbor Day Foundation, 2021).

Common Hackberry

 

 

Vitaceae (Grape Family)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch. Virginia Creeper. Native Vine. CC=2. Extremely abundant. Virginia creeper grows along the ground in woodlands, often growing up trees or telephone poles on woodland borders, or in open areas such as along railroad right of ways, rocky bluffs, fence rows, banks of streams or lakes, and in disturbed habitats in both rural and urban areas (Mahr, 2021).

Virginia Creeper

 

 

Citations

Arbor Day Foundation. 2021. Hackberry Tree. Tree Guide. Accessed at https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=845

Calscape. 2010. Mad Dog Skullcap. California Native Plant Society. Accessed at https://calscape.org/Scutellaria-lateriflora-()

Calscape. 2008. Pitseed Goosefoot. California Native Plant Society. Accessed at https://calscape.org/Chenopodium-berlandieri-()

Columbus Dispatch. 2021. Native plant: The majestic bur oak helps support wildlife. Home Garden. Accessed at https://www.dispatch.com/story/lifestyle/home-garden/2021/01/10/native-plant-majestic-bur-oak-helps-support-wildlife/4129677001/

Gardenia. 2013. Solidago rugosa. Perennials. Accessed at https://www.gardenia.net/plant/solidago-rugosa-fireworks-rough-goldenrod

Grow Native. 2021. Cup Plant. Native Plant Database. Accessed at https://grownative.org/native_plants/cup-plant/

Hiker’s Notebook. 2015. Sweet Cicely and Aniseroot. Flora. Accessed https://hikersnotebook.blog/flora/other-plants/sweet-cicely-and-aniseroot/

Iowa State University. 2021. Swamp White Oak. Natural Resource Stewardship. Accessed at https://naturalresources.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/iowa_trees/trees/swamp_white_oak.html

Johnson, Nathan. 2018. Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). Ohio Environmental Council. Accessed at https://theoec.org/blog/amur-honeysuckle-lonicera-maackii/

Mahr, Susan. 2021. Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia. Wisconsin Horticulture. Accessed at https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/virginia-creeper-parthenocissus-quinquefolia/

Matthews, Elizabeth. 2016. Pawpaw: Small Tree, Big Impact. National Parks Service. Accessed at https://www.nps.gov/articles/pawpaw.htm

Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 2021. Tatarian Honeysuckle. Licensing and Inspections. Accessed at https://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/weedcontrol/noxiouslist/tatarianhoneysuckle

Minnesota Wildflowers. 2014. Elymus canadensis (Canada Wild Rye). Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Accessed at https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/grass-sedge-rush/canada-wild-rye

Minnesota Wildflowers. 2011. Viburnum opulus var. opulus (Guelder-rose). Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Accessed at https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/shrub/guelder-rose

Missouri Botanical Garden. 2019. Symphyotrichum novae-angliae. Plant Finder. Accessed at https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=b540

Missouri Department of Conservation. 2021. Tall Thistle. Field Guide. Accessed at https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/tall-thistle

Mitchell, Christopher. 2012. Field Mint. The Nature Niche. Accessed at https://thenatureniche.com/2012/09/13/field-mint/

NC State Extension. 2017. Plantago virginica. North Carolina Extension Gardener. Accessed at https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/plantago-virginica/

NC State Extension. 2013. Smilax rotundifolia. North Carolina Extension Gardener. Accessed at https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/smilax-rotundifolia/

Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 2019. Sycamore. Broad Leaf Trees. Accessed at https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/discover-and-learn/plants-trees/broad-leaf-trees/Sycamore-Platanus-occidentalis

Petruzello, Melissa. 2019. Poison Ivy. Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed at https://www.britannica.com/plant/poison-ivy-plant/additional-info#history

Petruzello, Melissa. 2016. Snakeroot Poisoning. Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed at https://www.britannica.com/science/snakeroot-poisoning

Prairie Moon Nursery. 2021. Elymus virginicus, Virginia Wild Rye. Prairie Moon Nursery. Accessed at https://www.prairiemoon.com/elymus-virginicus-virginia-wild-rye-prairie-moon-nursery.html

Pratt, Mindy S. 2017. Broadleaf Cattail. Utah State University. Accessed at https://extension.usu.edu/rangeplants/grasses-and-grasslikes/broadleaf-cattail

Reid, Alyssa. O’Brien, Robert T. 2019. Japanese Stiltgrass. New York Invasive Species Information. Accessed at http://nyis.info/invasive_species/japanese-stiltgrass/

Reuling, Laura F., Kern Christel C., Kenefic, Laura S., Bronson, Dustin R. 2019. The Northern White-Cedar Recruitment Bottleneck: Understanding the Effects of Substrate, Competition, and Deer Browsing. Forest Ecology and Management. Accessed at https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/10/6/501/htm

Shurette, Ryan. 2018. Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii). US Forest Service. Accessed https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/andropogon_gerardii.shtml

Swetlitz, Nate. Egbe, Alero. 2017. Eastern Black Walnut. Yale Nature Walk. Accessed at https://naturewalk.yale.edu/trees/juglandaceae/juglans-nigra/eastern-black-walnut-59

Taylor, David. 2020. American Pokeweed. US Forest Service. Accessed at https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/phytolacca_americana.shtml

TWC Staff. 2018. Carex vulpinoidea Plant Database. Texas Wildflower Center. Accessed at https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=cavu2

TWC Staff. 2020. Echinacea purpurea Plant Database. Texas Wildflower Center. Accessed at https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ecpu

TWC Staff. 2015. Frangula caroliniana Plant Database. Texas Wildflower Center. Accessed at https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=frca13

University of Kentucky. 2019. Box Elder. Office for Environmental Programs Outreach Services. Accessed at https://oepos.ca.uky.edu/content/box-elder

University of Vermont. 2021. Watch list species highlight: European Spindle Tree (Euonymus europaeus). Vermont Invasives. Accessed at https://vtinvasives.org/news-events/news/watch-list-species-highlight-european-spindle-tree-euonymus-europaeus

Virginia Wildlfowers. 2015. Wingstem. Yellow Flowers. Accessed at https://virginiawildflowers.org/2015/08/09/wingstem/

Wenning, Bruce. 2012. Multiflora Rose: An Exotic Invasive Plant Fact Sheet. Ecological Landscape Alliance. Accessed at https://www.ecolandscaping.org/07/landscape-challenges/invasive-plants/multiflora-rose-an-exotic-invasive-plant-fact-sheet/