Jane Forsyth “Geobotany”

There are two part of Ohio divided neatly. They are the Western and Eastern parts. The Western part contains limestone which is nonresistant to humid climate. This part of Ohio has been worn down to a flat landscape. The Eastern part of Ohio contains sandstone which, unlike limestone, is resistant to the humidity. Because of this, the landscape is described as “steep-sided sandstone hills” or in the Cleveland area “sandstone-capped hills.”

The original sequence of the sedimentary rock strata in Ohio, from top to bottom, is sandstones, shales, and limestone. This was formed into an arch due to the pressure nearly 200 million years ago. This created the original Appalachian Mountains. A river system occupied Ohio for a long time which is called the Teays River. It flowed for about 200 million years and eroded the land throughout that time. About a million years ago, the activities of the river were curtailed due to the glaciers of the Ice Age.

The Pleistocene glaciers that invaded Ohio a few hundred thousand years ago or less were slowed down by the “steep-sided sandstone hills” in eastern Ohio.

Glacial till is a mixture of silt, boulders, sand, and clay. In western Ohio, the glacial till contains a large amount of lime and clay. On the other hand, the glacial till in eastern Ohio contains very small amounts of lime and clay.

In western Ohio, the substrate is limey and clayey glacial till. This leads to an impermeable soil contain high amounts of lime. This allows for poor drainage and land to be aerated poorly as well. There is an abundant amount of plant nutrients. In contrast, the substrates in eastern Ohio are very acidic and provide a low amount of nutrients. The land is also contains proper drainage and aeration.

Trees and Shrubs Limited to Limestone or Limey Substrates

Blue Ash

The scientific name is Fraxinus quadrangulata. An interesting fact about this tree is that there is a city in the Cincinnati area named after it because of the large population of Blue Ash in that area.

Fragrant Sumac

The scientific name is Rhus aromatica. Native Americans used to use Fragrant Sumac to treat illness and different health problems.


The scientific name is Celtis occidentalis. Something interesting about this tree is that “the bark was used to regulate menstrual cycles, colds, and sore throats” (Anstett).

Chinquapin Oak

The scientific name is Quarcus muehlenbergii. An interesting fact about this trees is that the roots were used to alleviate stomach aches by the Koasati Indians.

Eastern Hophornbeam

The scientific name is Ostyra virginiana. It is interesting to note that Native Americans used to use the bark of this tree to treat toothaches.

Trees and Shrubs Limited to High-Lime and Clay-Rich Substrates

These include Sugar maple, Beech, Red Oak, Shagbark Hickory, and White Oak

Trees and Shrubs Limited to Sandstone Hill

These include Chestnut Oak, Sourwood, Scrub Pine, Hemlock, and Mountain Maple


The distribution of sweet buckeye is very restricted, and the population is not near the inside the glacial boundary. The reasons for this are not known but it is predicted that it is because of the high lime area due to the glacial till. The distribution of hemlock in contrast to sweet buckeye extends up north. This is because hemlock needs a continuously cool and moist environment. This is also because the population of hemlock lies outside of the glacial boundary. The distribution of rhododendron is present south of the glacial boundary. It suggested that this species was a part of the mixed mesophytic association in Ohio. This is interesting because its distribution does not occur throughout the unglaciated area. This species once lived in the Appalachian highlands and migrated down.


Cedar Bog

Cedar Bog is an interesting fen located in Ohio. This fen is result of the Wisconsin glaciation. It consists of 450 acres of land and contains endangered, threatened, and rare plants and animals. A fen is a wetland which drains water. This beautiful area consists of many beautiful plants. A unique feature of Cedar Bog is that the ground temperature stays at a consist 55 degrees Fahrenheit because of the glacier that formed the fen.


Scavenger Hunt

My scavenger hunt was to find 2 high coefficients of conservatism plants. The first is called swamp birch. Its scientific name is Betula allehanensis. This is a woody shrub that grows around 2 meters tall. The leaves are rounded and are a pale green underneath. They also contain large teeth around the edges of the leaves. An interesting historical fact about this shrub is that a decline in its population, called birch dieback, caused “widespread mortality” in the US and Canada between years 1932 and 1955.

The second high coefficient of conservatism plant I found is called shrubby cinquefoil. Its scientific name is Dasiphora fruticose. This plant is from the Rosaceae family. It typically grows 1 to 3 feet tall. The bark is a reddish-brown color. The leaves are pinnately compound. The flower possesses 5 petals and 5 sepals as well as around 20 to 25 stamens and numerous pistils. An interesting historical fact about this plant is that it was one of the plants that was analyzed by Lewis and Clark in 1806.

Works Cited

Anstett, Brenna. “The Common Hackberry- an Urban Tree That Isn’t so Common.” Your Leaf, LEAF, 2021, www.yourleaf.org/blog/brenna-anstett/mar-12-2018/common-hackberry-urban-tree-isn%E2%80%99t-so-common.

“Blue Ash.” Cincy, Cincy, 2013, cincy.com/home/neighborhoods/parms/1/hood/blue-ash/page/history.html.

Erdmann, G.G. “Yellow Birch.” Betula Alleghaniensis Britton, USDA, www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/misc/ag_654/volume_2/betula/alleghaniensis%20.htm.

Lloyd, Kathy. “Shrubby Cinquefoil.” Montana Native Plants, Montana Native Plants Society, www.mtnativeplants.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/LC-Dasiphora-fruticosa-shrubby-cinquefoil.pdf.

Nesom, Guy. “Fragrant Sumac.” Plants, USDA, 30 May 2003, plants.usda.gov/DocumentLibrary/plantguide/pdf/cs_rhar4.pdf.

“Oak, Chinkapin.” Oak, Chinkapin | Nebraska Forest Service, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2018, nfs.unl.edu/woody-plants/chinquapin-oak.

Purnell, Sammy. “Eastern Hophornbeam: Bates Canopy: Bates College.” Bates Wordmark, Bates College, 2018, www.bates.edu/canopy/species/eastern-hophornbeam/.

“Shrubby Cinquefoil.” Shrubby Cinquefoil, Dasiphora Fruticosa (L.) Rydb., The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc.., 2015, www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org/pages/plants/shrubbycinquefoil.html.

“Swamp Birch.” Swamp Birch Guide – New York Natural Heritage Program, New York Natural Heritage Program, 22 Dec. 2004, guides.nynhp.org/swamp-birch/.