I very quickly realized that the area that I started the survey at was much smaller than I had thought, so I moved to the southern portion of the park, which is much larger and more diverse. The plants I found generally had fairly low coefficients of conservatism (CCs).  Surprisingly, the plants with the higher CCs that I was able to find were towards the entrance to the woods, where people are the most likely to walk. The entrance is also where the path is the clearest, which likely encourages people to wander off less and allows those high CC plants to grow.  The southern area was incredibly overrun with honeysuckle. It was everywhere and even formed a roof over parts of the path. The trees in that area were generally very tall which made identification difficult because I could not get a good look at the leaves, but I was able to identify quite a few tree species anyway.

Plants Found and Associated CCs

Floristic Index: 17.4

  • Green Ash, Native, CC: 3
  • Blue Wood Aster, Native, CC: 4
  • Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Native, CC: 2
  • Silver Maple, Native, CC: 3
  • American Pokeweed, Native, CC: 1
  • Mullein Foxglove, Native, CC: 5
  • American Bladdernut, Native, CC: 6
  • Wingstem, Native, CC: 5
  • Lizard’s tail, Native, CC: 8
  • Clearweed, Native, CC: 2
  • Common Burdock, Nonnative, CC: 0
  • Poison Ivy, Native, CC: 1
  • Orange Jewelweed, Native, CC: 2
  • Mock Strawberry, Nonnative, CC: 0
  • Brown-eyed Susan, Native, CC: 5
  • Callery Pear, Nonnative, CC: 0
  • Wintercreeper Euonymus, Nonnative, CC: o
  • Common Privet, Nonnative, CC: 0
  • Giant Ironweed, Native, CC: 2
  • Black Walnut, Native, CC: 5
  • Honey Locust, Native, CC: 4
  • White Snakeroot, Native, CC: 3
  • Canada Goldenrod, Native, CC: 1
  • Sugar Maple, Native, CC: 5
  • Box Elder, Native, CC: 3
  • Virginia Creeper, Native, CC: 2
  • White Ash, Native, CC: 6
  • American Elm, Native, CC: 2
  • Devil’s Beggarticks, Native, CC: 2
  • Eastern Redbud, Native, CC: 3
  • Jumpseed, Native, CC: 3
  • Eastern Red Cedar, Native, CC: 3
  • Amur Honeysuckle, Nonnative, CC: 0
  • Multiflora Rose, Nonnative, CC: 0
  • Black locust, Native, CC: 0
  • Queen Anne’s Lace, Nonnative, CC: 0
  • Frost Grape, Native, CC: 3
  • Yellow Flag, Nonnative, CC: 0
  • White Avens, Native, CC: 2
  • Common Milkweed, Native, CC: 1

High Coefficients of Conservatism

Lizard’s Tail: 8

 

Lizard’s tail grows in very specific conditions.  It requires very wet soil, even sometimes growing in the water.  It also needs to be kept in partial shade.  Despite its high CC, it is a very abundant plant. It has strict requirements but many areas have spots that fit them. Not much feeds on this plant, but it is used by animals for cover and shade. https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/wetland/plants/lizard_tail.htm

American Bladdernut: 6

The American Bladdernut has specific preferences but is able to survive in less ideal conditions, which is why it has a coefficient of conservatism of 6. The best combination for the bladdernut is nutrient-rich, loamy, and moist soil with plenty of sunlight. It tolerates drier and different kinds of soil if necessary. The oil that comes from the seeds is sweet and can be used in cooking. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/staphylea-trifolia/

White Ash: 6

White ash prefers nutrient-rich soil with plenty of nitrogen, but it can grow in other soils as well.  It depends heavily on having that soil be moist and well-draining.  The trees are frequently found alongside large. Of all the ash trees, the wood of the white ash is the most valuable, partially due to its shock absorption properties. streams. https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/misc/ag_654/volume_2/fraxinus/americana.htm

Sugar Maple: 5

Sugar maple will only grow in cool, moist climates.  The winter and summer average temperatures are a limiting factor for sugar maples, as well as precipitation rates.  Within those conditions, the trees can live on many different types of soil and mid-levels of soil. Sugar Maples are the tree that provide us with maple syrup, we are lucky to be living in its climate! moisture. https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/misc/ag_654/volume_2/acer/saccharum.htm

Low Coefficients of Conservatism

 

Black Locust: 0

Black locusts can be identified by its pinnate leaves with many leaflets. The leaflets are small and very oval. Black locusts will also have long thorns. Black locust is so aggressive and tolerant of many conditions that it is almost an invasive species in many areas.  It can tolerate most soils, and even can handle road salt.  Their wood does not have many uses due to how brittle it is. It also is susceptible to the locust borer. https://mortonarb.org/plant-and-protect/trees-and-plants/black-locust-not-recommended/

Common Milkweed: 1

Milkweed is easily identified by its large rounded follicles. Their leaves will also produce a milky latex liquid when broken, giving the plant its name. They are generally tall and weedy.  Milkweed is an extremely helpful plant for native insects. Pollinators can feed on the nectar and other insects will eat their leaves. Over 450 insects feed on some part of the plant. https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/asclepias_syriaca.shtml

American Pokeweed: 1

 

American pokeweed’s distinguishing feature is the deep purple stem that leads into a raceme of white flowers or dark purple berries. It is sometimes considered invasive. The berries look very appetizing but are quite poisonous. The leaves and stems can be cooked and safely eaten and are quite nutritious. https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/phytolacca_americana.shtml

Virginia Creeper: 2

Virginia creeper grows along the ground and up trees. It has leaves that are palmately compound with five leaflets. These leaflets are serrated and green or red, which can lead to it being confused for poison ivy. The fruit has high concentrations of oxalic acid which makes it toxic for humans. https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/virginia-creeper-parthenocissus-quinquefolia/

Invasive Species (Boo! Hiss!)

Amur honeysuckle

Honeysuckles are pretty boring looking.  They tend to be large shrubs with dull green leaves that are simple, opposite, and entire.  They also may have red, round, shiny berries that come from white flowers. The berries are commonly eaten by birds and they often nest in the bushes.  However, the berries are not very nutritious for birds, and birds have a higher chance of predation when nesting there. https://theoec.org/blog/amur-honeysuckle-lonicera-maackii/

Multiflora rose

Multiflora roses are thorny shrubs.  Their leaves are pinnately compound with 5-11 toothed leaflets (the toothed margins are difficult to see in this picture).  Before they were recognized as invasive, they were commonly used as a living fence for livestock. Ironically, they were planted in wildlife programs. https://www.oipc.info/uploads/5/8/6/5/58652481/8factsheetmultiflorarose.pdf

Callery pear

Callery pears have alternate, entire, and shiny leaves.  The margins are faintly toothed and wavy. When the trees flower, the scent of the blooms is generously described as terrible.  The flowers do provide nectar that is very helpful for bees in the area, especially Bradford Callery. pears. https://delphosherald.com/Content/News/News/Article/On-the-Farm-and-In-the-Garden-Problematic-ornamental-pears/191/1183/206759#:~:text=Despite%20having%20structural%20issues%2C%20callery,and%20produces%20small%2C%20sterile%20fruits.

Winter Creeper

The wintercreeper vine both covers the ground and climbs surrounding plants.  The leaves are deep green with a white/light green main vein that feathers throughout. It is commonly planted because of its pleasant appearance and its evergreen leaves.  https://theoec.org/blog/invasive-wintercreeper-euonymus-fortunei/

Substrate

Jane Forsyth lists all of the following trees as limited to limestone or high-lime substrates. Given the amount of these trees present, the substrate should be limey.

Red Cedar

Red cedar leaves are frequently scale-like and the bark is very shreddy. The cones resemble bluish-white berries. The trees are small to medium-sized.

Redbud

Redbud leaves are alternate and simple. The margin of the leaves is smooth. The leaf shape is the most distinctive character; they are heart-shaped and wide. The fruits made by the trees are flat legumes.

Hackberry

I found hackberry on my first survey. Hackberry leaves are simple and alternate.  The color is often light green, and the margins are serrated.  The leaf has a very rough feeling when touched.

White Ash

White ash leaves are pinnately compound with 5 to 9 leaflets. The leaflets have long thin stalks, unlike the similar green ash, which has short, winged stalks. The leaflets are also typically wider than other ash trees. White ash leaves will turn red in autumn.