Part 1: 4 High CC and 4 Low CC Species
Species Name – CC Value (n/a for invasives)
Honey Locust – 4
Pawpaw – 6
American Pokeweed – 1
Grape vine – 3
Bigleaf Aster – 5
Jewelweed – 3
Poison ivy – 1
Goldenrod – 2
Sycamore – 7
Black Walnut – 5
Honeysuckle – n/a
Red Maple – 2
Redbud – 3
Ash – 3
Mulberry – n/a
Bamboo – n/a
Bur Oak – 6
Hickory – 5
Virginia Creeper – 2
Sugar Maple – 5
Dogwood – 5
Buckwheat – n/a
Black Willow – 2
Osage Orange – n/a
Hackberry – 4
First up for the High CC species I found is Sycamore with a score of 7. Sycamores are a very easy tree to spot, especially along a riverbank like at Griggs Reservoir Park, because of their mottled bark and large alternate, simple leaves and coarsely toothed margins with 3-5 lobes. According to William M. Harlow’s Trees of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada, Sycamores have the largest diameter of any tree in the Eastern US, which may be one reason why Native Americans used to make dugout canoes from them. Neat!
Next is the Pawpaw tree with a score of 6. They like lowland areas and are typically an understory tree species. They have delicious tasting fruit and are the only member of their family in Ohio, because most of them are tropical.
Also with a score of 6 is the Bur Oak. Bur Oaks have variable leaves, but have at least 1 deep pair of indentations that divide the leaves into 2 or more portions. The leaves are somewhat hairy and whitish on the underside. This is a tree that gets its name from the appearance of its acorns. Fun Fact: the Missouri Botanical Garden refers to Bur Oak as the “most majestic” of the oak trees native to North America.
I have several species tied with a score of 5 so I chose one that I have yet to feature. Black Walnut is a very valuable species as far as woodworking is concerned according to George A. Petrides’ A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs. Also, the nuts are eaten by a variety of creatures, but be careful with the husks because they are toxic and may kill other plant species. They are distinguished by their large compound leaves of 7-17 leaflets that are slightly hairy on the underside.
First up, with a lowly score of 1 is one of my least favorite plants: poison ivy. To avoid this tree, watch out for the three leaves. Also, this time a year poison ivy turns red/orange/yellow so that is a good way to tell too. Surprisingly, poison ivy is actually a very useful plant ecologically. Deer and muskrat like to eat the leaves and multiple different bird species get nutrition from the berries.
Tied for last with a score of just 1 is American Pokeweed. American Pokeweed is also poisonous to humans (if you eat the berries) so be careful! Fortunately, they are incredibly easy to identify with the red/purple stems and berries. Birds like to eat the berries in this plant as well.
Climbing all the up to a score of 2 is goldenrod. This is an incredibly common perennial herbaceous plant in the Asteraceae family. It grows up to about a meter tall and the leaves lower down are wider and longer than the leaves higher up the stem. The infloresence can have up to 300 flower heads which may be one reason why pollinators appreciate them.
Also with a score of 2 are Red Maples. This is one of the most widely distributed trees in Eastern North America. It has leaves with 3 to 5 lobes that are rather white underneath. The twigs and buds are reddish and the flowers and fruits are red as well.
Part 2: Invasives
First up is one of the worst in Ohio (top 10 according to the Ohio Invasive Plants Council): Morrow bush honeysuckle. The leaves are dark green in color and are 1-2.5 inches long and opposite. It has a red fruit in the fall that birds like to eat which continues the spread of the plant. Originally brought to the US in the 1800s, bush honeysuckle was actually promoted as a soil stabilizer.
Next is a deciduous tree known as White Mulberry. The leaves are variable, alternate, and shiny with blunt teeth and heart-shaped bases. Interestingly, White Mulberry was brought to the US because silk worms feed on them. Now, they are found throughout the US an an invasive species because birds spread their seeds after eating them.
Another invasive ladysthumb (Polygonum caespitosum). This is an annual forb 6-30 inches in height with narrow, elongate leaves pointed at the base and tip. The flowers are small, pink, and appear at the apex of the stems.
Another invasive I ran into is bamboo. I am not exactly sure what species of bamboo, but no matter what species it is, it does not belong in Ohio. Orginally from Southeast Asia, bamboo is probable most famous for being panda food.
Part 3: Substrate Associated Species
According to Jane Forsyth’s “Geobotany” article, Redbud are associated with limestone substrates. They are easily identifiable by the heart shaped leaves. This makes senseto me because I believe Franklin County is part of the limestone bedrock area the Forsyth talks about in “Geobotany”. There is a chance this was a planted tree as well because of the extensive human activity associated with building a dam and a disc golf course.
I was not expecting to find a Sugar Maple so close to the river, but there you go! This is a delicious tree known for being the source of maple syrup. The leaves have 5 lobes, U shaped margins between points, and are as wide as they are long. It is associated with till plains according to the “Geobotany” article, which does not really match up with where I found it.
Another till plain specie according to Forsyth is the Bur Oak. Again, I wouldn’t necessarily call Griggs Reservoir Park a till plain, especially because all of the ones I found were within spitting distance of the river.
Lastly, there is the chestnut oak. This is a tree known for its ability to survive on steep, rocky sites, which is why Forsyth groups it with the sandstone species of Eastern Ohio. As you may be aware, Griggs Reservoir Park is not known for its abundance of sandstone cliffs so I would not necessarily concur with her on this occasion.
As always, thanks for reading!