FQAI and High/Low CC species!
These 20 native species will be in the FQAI Score and their CC value will be in parentheses (ex: Sugar Maple (5))!
Common Snowberry (8), Late Purple Aster (6), Drummond’s Aster (6), Wreath Goldenrod (5), White grass (4), Honey Locust (4), Common Blue Wood-Aster (4), Lance-Leaf Aster (3), Christmas Fern (3), Pale Touch-Me-Not (3), White Snakeroot (3), Lyreleaf Sage (3), Heath Aster (2), American Elm (2), Spanish Needles (2), Grey Goldenrod (2), Spotted Touch-Me-Not (2), Thicket Creeper (1), Canada Goldrenrod (1), Common Blackberry (1), Pale Plantain (0), Great Ragweed (0), Horseweed (0).
FQAI of Glen Echo: 3.41
High CC Species:
Common Snowberry (8), Symphoricarpos albus
The Common Snowberry is a shrub that has elliptical leaves with leaves that are barely hairy or hairless. A cool feature of this plant is that it has a hollow pith (and that makes it distinct from the coralberry which has a solid white pith). The berries produced by these plants are mildly emetic for humans (meaning they can cause dizziness and vommiting in large enough quantities) and Native Americans would use the berries mainly as a starvation food in a dry form (https://mpgnorth.com/field-guide/caprifoliaceae/common-snowberry ).
Late Purple Aster (6), Symphyotrichum patens
This member of the aster family is distinguished by its rough and slender stem and it oval/oblong leaves. The flower head is about 1 inch wide and has violet rays. An interesting ecological fact about this aster is that it is drought-tolerant and it is also blooms in August and lasting through October after many other asters are finished (https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/symphyotrichum-patens/).
Drummond’s Aster (6), Symphyotrichum drummondii
This type of flower (well, flowers?) is distinguishable because it has a rosette of basal leave that ovular and serrate. The flowerhead is about a half an inch across and occurs in cone-like clusters. This species of aster attracts all kinds of pollinators including honeybees, butterflies, moths, various kinds of wasps and several species of flies.
Wreath Goldenrod (5), Solidago caesia
The leaves of this goldenrod species are lance-shaped and are toothed. The stem has a blue tint to it and the flowers grow in axils. This plant attracts bees and butterflies as pollinators. An interesting fact is that wreath goldenrod has had hayfever attributed to it when it reality, people were having allergic reactions to ragweed and other plants (http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=y370)
Low CC Species
Canada Goldenrod (1), Solidago canadensis
This flower can be identified because it has one-sided clusters of yellow flowers that all clump together into one large terminal cluster. The main stem is smooth at the base. The leaves are narrow, lance-shaped and sharply toothed. The flower rays are very small but this plant can be 1 to 5 ft tall! Prairie chickens, eastern goldfinches, and swap sparrows eat the seeds while white-tailed deer and eastern cotton tail rabbits eat the foliage. (http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/cn_goldenrodx.htm)
Horseweed (0), Erigeron canadensis
This flower has white or green flowers. This flower has alternate leaves that are lance-shaped and the lower ones are toothed. The stem also has bristly hairs. This flower can be confused with Canada goldenrod, but an easy way to distinguish is the flower coloration. Canada goldenrod has exclusively yellow flowers while horseweed has white or green. Horseweed contains herpene which is a chemical that can irritate the noses of horses that feed on it. Horseweed’s leaves can also cause mild skin irritation in people. (http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/horseweed.htm)
Great Ragweed (0), Ambrosia trifida
The flowers of giant ragweed are in terminal racemes or spikes. The leaves have 3-5 deep lobes and this plant can range in height from 3-15 feet. It is considered a weed. Its pollen is the principle cause of hayfever. (https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/giant_ragweed.htm)
Pale Plantain (0), Plantago rugelii
This plant has ribbed leaves are long-stalked and egg-shaped. The leaf stalks are red at the base. The spike of flowers is narrowed at the tip. The leaves of this plant were once used to treat cuts, sore feet, and stings and also to treat ailments of the eyes, tongue, and mouth. Birds actually really like the seeds of this plant because they contain a higher percentage of oils compared to commercially grown seeds (https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/single_weed.php?id=109)
Invasive Species (boo, hiss)
Common Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris
This plant has golden-yellow flowers in small heads that are clustered at the ends of branches. The bracts are black-tipped (which you can’t see in the photo). It can range in height from 4-20 inches. This fruit of this plant is an achene and it can produce as many as one million seeds in a season (https://www.nwcb.wa.gov/weeds/common-groundsel)!
Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota
Honestly, I would not have been able to recognize this plant without having looked it in our lab. However, once we did, even without the white flowers on top, it was very easy to recognize this member of the Apiaceae family. The stem is covered in bristly hairs and the bracts beneath the umbel are deeply lobed. The very fine and delicate looking leaves are the most identifiable feature of this plant in my opinion. The first year roots of the Queen Anne’s Lace are apparently edible but this plant bears resemblance to poison hemlock which is poisonous, so be careful! (https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/single_weed.php?id=21)
Common Burdock, Articum minus
This plant has very unique leaves. The lower leaves are usually large and heart-shaped. The flowers, which were not in bloom, are typically pink and in a bristly head. The fruit produces clinging burs (my dog manages to get these on herself ALL THE TIME). The leaf stalks are actually hollow. This plant is actually considered toxic because it has potential diuretic effects. The bristles of the burs also potentially can get lodged under skin (YIKES!!!) (https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/single_weed.php?id=16)
Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora
This is a multiflora rose in fruit (the fruit is called a rose hip). This plant produces white flowers 0.75-1.5 inches wide. It has deeply fringed stipules and 7-9 leaflets on flowering stem. The thorns are kind of the give away for me. Multiflora rose originates in Eastern Asia but was introduced into the US in the late 1700s when it was cultivated as an ornamental plant and form of erosion control. It now forms dense thickets in pastures that crowds out the native species of an area (boo, his). (https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/terrestrial/plants/multiflora-rose)
White Oak, Quercus alba
This type of oak has relatively evenly-lobed leaves that are hairless and may be slightly white underneath. The twigs are also hairless. The acorns have bowl-shaped cups that cover less than a third of the actual acorn. White oak is associated with high-lime, clay-rick thick till plains of Western Ohio (but this was in Glen Echo on one of the cliff sides of the park). Shale is a type of sedimentary rock that has lots of similar elements to clay (https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/shale) and there was shale all over the cliffside I was on in Glen Echo, so I do concur that this white oak was in a high-lime, clay-rich till portion of the park.
American Beech, Fagus grandifolia
This is a tall tree with distinctive smooth grey bark. The buds of this are scaled quite a bit and are elliptic. The twigs are hairless or can have long hairs and the twigs are encircled (or pretty close to encircled) by stipule scars. The fruits of this plant are eaten by ruffed grouse, wild turkey, pheasant, black bear, raccoons and grey foxes, red foxes, porcupines, and many other animals! This plant again is found in high-lime, clay-rich tills common in Western Ohio. This plant was found growing into the base of the steep sides of the ravine of Glen Echo which do have lots of shale, so would likely fit into the high-lime, clay-rich till category.
Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum
This tree has dark brown bark, leaves that are 5-lobed for the most part with notches between the lobes. Leaves tend to have a pale green beneath them. The leaves are usually hairless but the underside can feel velvety. This tree tends to be found in high-lime, clay-rich till found in Western Ohio and this tree was growing on the side of the ravine where there was lots of shale, so likely, lots of similar minerals and compounds to clay, so I do concur in what type of substrate sugar maples commonly grow in.
Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis
This tree has very distinct heart-shaped leaves that are hairless or slightly hairy beneath. This tree also gets pink flowers in the spring and produces legumes as fruit because it is a member of the Fabacaea family. The bark is dark in coloration with fine grooves. Redbuds grow well in limestone substrates, and this tree was found, not growing into the sides of the ravine, but at the bottom of the ravine by the creek that runs through Glen Echo. There was definitely a different cluster of plants growing along the creek compared to into the sides of the ravine which would lead me to believe that it is a different substrate, and I would guess limestone would be the substrate in this specific context.
Forsyth, J. L. (1971). Linking Geology and Botany. The Explorer, 13(3), Fall 1971.
Newcomb, L. (2011). Newcomb’s Wildflower guide: An ingenious new key system for quick, positive field identification of the wildflowers, flowering shrubs and vines of Northeastern and North-Central North America. Boston: Little, Brown.
Petrides, G. A. (1972). Trees and shrubs (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.