For the first Tree Identification assignment, I began searching for trees at Blacklick Woods Metro Park in Reynoldsburg. This portion of the park has a prairie surrounded by a walking path and trees. Just as I started on a walking path I spotted a large, white oak, Quercus alba. This tree is alternate in arrangement, and simple in leaf complexity. I noticed it immediately thanks to the deeply lobed, non-bristle tipped leaves.
In this photo, you can see the slightly whiter underside of the leaves compared to the top. White oak wood is very strong that was used to make many tough products like railroad ties! (http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/whiteoak)
Inside the metro park there was also a red oak, Quercus rubra. It looks somewhat similar to the white oak, also being alternate in arrangment and simple in complexity. A noticeable difference is the bristle tips on the ends of the lobed leaves. This tree was also found alongside a path in the metropark, just across from a prairie.
Below, you could also see the saucer-like acorn caps. Red oaks are also used for things like railroad ties and flooring, but red oaks grow much faster than white oaks do. (http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/redoak)
The metropark had another red tree to identify: a red maple (Acer rubrum). This tree is opposite in arrangement and simple in leaf complexity. It has lobed, bristle-tipped leaves.
This tree was fairly easy to identify thanks to its red petioles. Red maples hate soils that have a high pH or high clay content because their growth is stunted from stress. (http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/redmaple)
Another tree that I found at the metropark was a Shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa). It has alternate, pinnately compound leaves that are serrate. Most leaves have seven leaflets that are very large.
The shellbark hickory is also covetted for its wood chips for smoking meats (http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/shellbarkhickory).
Before I left the park I was able to find (what I think was) a black cherry tree (Prunus serotina). These trees are alternate in arrangement and simple in leaf complexity. These trees are only second to black walnuts when it comes to making furniture and trim (http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/cherry).
Back at home in the Huber area of Reynoldsburg, I found more trees that were not a part of the 8 common genera that we talked about in class. My favorite is the tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) just outside the house. This tree is alternate in arrangement and simple in leaf complexity.
Tuliptrees are similar to Birch trees in the fact that they can be “drought indicators.” If a drought hits during the summer, the tuliptree will drop its yellowing interior leaves once the soil gets too dry. This helps the tree by eliminating transpiring leaves to help keep water in! (http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/tuliptree)
In our backyard, there is a Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris). This tree has opposite, heart-shaped leaves, and is relatively small. This is the state flower of New Hampshire! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syringa_vulgaris)