Botanical Survey: Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park

I have recently been identifying and documenting various plant species found at the Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park on W Dodridge Street. This site is characterized by its swampy and marshy conditions that allow some special plant species to thrive. Near the park’s entrance is a small pond in the middle of a prairie, and this is where I observed the majority of my documented flowering plant species. There are trails beyond here that lead to a marshy forest environment, where I observed most of my trees and shrubs. These woods surround a larger area of swampy bodies of water that contain various unique aquatic plants.

Map of Olentangy Wetland Research Park, Source:


Poison Ivy

I ran into a startling amount of poison ivy while observing plants at the Wetlands Research Park, and most of it was right on the side of walking trails, easily accessible to humans and pets. Poison ivy can be identified by a few key features: trifoliate leaves, adventitious roots, and white drupes. Poison ivy leaves are divided into three distinct toothed leaflets. Its adventitious roots allow it to climb up trees in vines. Poison ivy also fruits in small white drupes that look like berries. By knowing these features of poison ivy, even inexperienced botanists can learn to avoid it!

 Flowering Plants

Prairie Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium)

Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)

This species is also referred to as Queen Anne’s lace or bird’s nest. While it is edible, wild carrot is also a known skin irritant. According to legend, the small purple flower at the center of the umbel is a drop of Queen Anne’s blood that she shed while making the lace (MDC).

Tall Boneset (Euphatorium altissimum)

Biennial Gaura (Gaura biennis)

Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Chicory has a variety of nutritional uses. When roasted, its roots can be used to make coffee flavoring. They can also be used as a source of dietary fiber and a fat substitute (MDC).

Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago odora)

Horseweed (Erigeron canadensis)

White Vervain (Verbena utricifolia)

White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)

This plant derives its name from the belief that it could be used to treat snake bites. Snakeroot is actually poisonous to mammals, and it is said that Abraham Lincoln’s mother died from drinking the milk of a cow that had ingested Snakeroot (MDC).

Low Smartweed (Persicaria longiseta)


Box Elder (Acer negundo)

Box Elder (also known as ashleaf maple) is named as such because of its historical uses. The soft inner wood of this tree is ideal for making boxes, and its sap can be turned into syrup. Birds and small mammals also feed on its seeds (Petrides).

Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)

Shrubs and Vines

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)

Stickseed (Hackelia virginiana)


Species List with CC and FQAI Values

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) CC = 0

Tall Boneset (Eupatorium altissimum) CC = 0

Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) CC = 0

Horseweed (Conyza canadensis) CC = 0

Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago odora) CC = 8

Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) CC = 7


Invasive Species


Substrate Associated Plants




Works Cited

Petrides, George A. A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs: Northeastern and North-Central United States and

Southeastern and South-Central Canada. Houghton Mifflin, 1998.