Part One: Introduction
The South Chagrin Reservation spans across the cities of Solon, Moreland Hills, and Bentleyville in Northeast Ohio. It is part of the Cleveland Metroparks, and offers a number of trails and scenic routes along the Chagrin River, and is perhaps most notable for an old sandstone carving (pictured below) made by artist Henry Church Jr. in 1885, commonly referred to as Squaw Rock. Located at 41°41’56.094” N -81°42’34.476” W, the area spans 1,521 acres and was established in 1925. I personally chose this site as it is one I visit frequently (almost daily during warmer months) when I’m back in Cleveland!
WARNING: Something we always need to be mindful of when conducting botanical surveys (or even when we’re relaxing outside at our favorite park) is poison ivy. Touching any part of a poison ivy plant can cause redness and swelling of the skin, blisters, and painful itching for up to two to three weeks. A common saying is “leaves of three, let it be,” as poison ivy presents itself in a trifoliolate fashion, meaning its leaves have three leaflets. Its vine resembles a hairy rope with rootlets, and sometimes you might see white drupes hanging from the plant as well.
Part Two: Flowers and Inflorescences
The Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) is a flowering plant in the Plantain family native to Canada and the United States. It usually reaches heights of 1.5-3 feet, and has beautiful white flowers of bilateral symmetry. These flowers have five petals and five sepals, which are fused, and have four true stamens with an additional fifth larger stamen, actually considered a staminode. It has a syncarpous gynoecium made up of two fused carpels and is hypogynous with a superior ovary. The inflorescence it has is called a thyrse, which is a cone-shaped cluster of flowers. The flowers mature into brown capsules with two valves which are filled with flat seeds meant for later dispersal. This picture was taken in the grass around the Shelterhouse park of the South Chagrin Reservation.
The Field Forget-me-not (Myosotis arvensis) is native to Eurasia but found in many states across the US. The inflorescence is presented in a raceme, and the flowers are radially symmetric, with five fused petals, five stamens, and five fused sepals. It has a unicarpellate gynoecium, and it is hypogynous with a superior ovary. Its fruit is a 4-part schizocarp which is dark brown and shiny. This picture was taken in the surrounding field of Squaw Rock, the section of the South Chagrin Reservation bordering the Chagrin River.
The Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus) is an herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae family native to the Midwest. Pictured are the clusters of flowers of the Philadelphia sleeping plucked from a plant near the Shelterhouse park in the South Chagrin Reservation. The flowers consist of around 150+ white thin ray flowers and yellow center disk. It’s fruit is a dry seed with 10 to 20 brown long hairs attached. The inflorescence type is a capitulum (floral head). It is radially symmetric with a syncarpous gynoecium and is epigynous with an inferior ovary. The flowers have five fused petals, five fused sepals, and five stamens.
The Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) is a member of the Ranunculaceae family native to Eurasia but introduced widely in the United States. This picture was taken in the fields of Squaw Rock, a park in the reservation. The Meadow Buttercup is radially symmetric and has five separate petals, five separate sepals, and many stamens. Its fruits are glabrous achenes which grow in clusters. It is syncarpous and hypogynous with a superior ovary.
Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) is a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family with violet-colored flowers. This picture was taken in the fields atop Squaw rock in the South Chagrin Reservation. It originated in Europe but was brought to the United States by settlers and is now naturalized in Ohio. They are of bilateral symmetry and have five fused petals, separated into an upper lip of two petals and a bottom lip of three. They have four stamens–two short and two long, and five fused carpels. Their gynoecium consists of two fused carpels (syncarpous), and are hypogynous with a superior ovary. The inflorescences are branched/arranged in a pannicle.
Part Three: Invasive Species
The Japanese Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) is an invasive shrubby plant from Japan. This was found near the Shelterhouse trail of the South Chagrin Reservation. According to the Cleveland Metroparks official website, this is considered a Tier 3 invasive species meaning it is ornamental and its ecological effects are poorly understood at the moment. It is estimated that its population is small within the Cleveland Metroparks.
Multiflora Rose (Rosa Multiflora) is an invasive flowering shrub originating from China, Japan, and Korea that we have seen on many of our trips in this class. This specific picture was taken along the road that runs through the South Chagrin Reservation. Multiflora Rose can be characterized by its beautiful white flowers, but are a known problem species in Ohio and are categorized by the Cleveland Metroparks as a Tier 4 invasive species. This is because Multiflora Rose spreads out rapidly and dominates over native plants. They are present all over the Cleveland Metroparks and the South Chagrin Reservation and are mowed in order to lessen the population.
The Norway Spruce (Picea abies) is a tree native to the European Alps but was brought to the United States in the 18 century. Although it is not native to the United States it is not necessarily considered a threat, and is seen as an alternative to the Eastern Hemlock in regions where Eastern Hemlock populations have been depleted by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA). This is one of those unique invasive species that is actually seen as beneficial to many environments in the United States, rather than one which requires population control.
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an invasive plant from Europe which was brought to Long Island in New York in 1868. They are widespread and abundant especially in Cleveland, and each plant produces up to 3000 seeds, meaning they overwhelm the land they inhabit and outcompete native plants. Their roots also produce a toxin which kills soil fungi many plants are dependent on. The Cleveland Metroparks consider Garlic Mustard to be a Tier 4 invasive species and are currently working on mitigation plans.
Common Hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) is an invasive species native to China. It is not considered a major threat to native species according to the Cleveland Metroparks and has not been categorized as a highly invasive species, therefore its populations are not being managed. They’re able to survive in extremely poor conditions and can be a threat to native flora by outsurviving other populations.
Part Four: Woody Plant Fruits Identification
The pomes of this tree helped me to identify it as an Adam’s Crabapple Tree. (Malus adams) This tree is not native to the United States and is said to originate in Kazakhstan. It was found along the road running through the South Chagrin Reservation. The young pomes of this specific tree are red and glossy, and grow larger in size with maturity. These fruits are commonly known as crabapples, and are much larger than the pomes shown in this picture, but much smaller than a typical apple.
This tree found in the Squaw Rock portion of the South Chagrin Reservation could be easily characterized as an Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) because of its young cones which hang down. The similar cones of the balsam fir contrastingly hang upright.
The tree pictured above is a Black Hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) and can be identified by its edible fruits which are pomes. Pomes are fleshy fruits with small leaves emerging from their tops, and the leaves are also present in this picture. These fruits eventually turn purpleish-black.
The Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus) can be identified by its fruits which are small pea-sized dark berries with 2 to 3 seeds. These berries are currently green but ripen to a red or dark purple color.
The Red-Seeded Dandelion (Taraxacum erythrospermum) can be categorized by its reddish/purple/brown achenes which present in a globular seed head. Each seed is connected to a tuft of white hairs called pappus which help disperse the seeds for reproduction. Earlier in the year, these achenes are less visible as the dandelion takes on its yellow floral form.
Part Five: Mosses and or Lichens