In Ohio Plants, the class visited Battelle Darby Park to identify and learn about wonderful plants. Although I was not present on the trip, I went on my own time with the help of my boyfriend! The students attending the trip were each assigned specific aspects of plants to photo-document and include in their post, but I gathered the information I could and included one zygomorphic plant and two trees with an alternative leaf arrangement. Enjoy!


Multiflora rose

Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), an invasive plant, is native to China, Japan, and Korea and was first introduced into the US in 1860. First used aesthetically and as readily available as rose root stock for rose breeding programs, it then became the invasive plant it is known as today.

Information found on:

Amur honeysuckleThe Amur honeysuckle (Lonericera maackii) is also an invasive plant introduced into the United States from China, Japan, Korea, and even Far East Russia in 1898 as an ornamental feature for New York Botanical Gardens. Being an invasive plant, it makes the reproduction of native plants more difficult as pollinators find it more attractive.

Information found on:


Hackberry tree

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) is a 60-100 ft tree that can vary depending on its’ living condition and is a limestone loving plant. The berry formed can either be an orange-ish brown or dark purple.

Information obtained from:

Chinquapin oak tree

The chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) is a lime loving tree that prefers acidic soil, thus its’ love for limestone. It can tolerate both wet environments and even drought, but grows the best in well drained areas.

Information found on:

Miscellaneous plants: 

Purple spiderwort

This is the a purple Spiderwort (Tradescantia) flower, also known as Purple Heart & Purple Queen. Native to Mexico, it’s easily grown in rich, moist, well drained soils either in part shade or full sun. I documented this flower for its’ bilateral symmetry (zygomorphic plant), but my boyfriend was actually the one to find it and he wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this fact.

Extraneous information from:

Slippery elm

The slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) is a tree with alternate leaf patterns. It got its’ name due to its’ bark containing a mucilage that becomes slippery after combining with water. Slippery elm has been used in herbal medicine in the US for many centuries according to

Eastern redbud


Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is another tree with alternate leaf arrangements. Possessing a name that isn’t exactly accurate due to its’ buds being white rather than red, George Washington was allegedly reported to be a fan of the redbud and spent hours tending the tree in his garden.

Information found on:


1 The geology of Ohio (if not regarded too closely) may be divided neatly into two parts. Contrast these two parts in terms of their geographic location, types of underlaying rocks and their physical properties, and the landscape/topography that characterizes each.

Geologically speaking, there are two parts that Ohio can be divided into – western and eastern. The western region contains limestone, which is rather nonresistant to the humid climate of the state. This lead to a flattened landscape due to erosion over millions of years. Eastern Ohio on the other hand is underlain by sandstone, a rock type that is resistant. Water does travel through sandstone; however, the erosion of “melting” the cement like rock is very slow. Below that sandstone is shale, which is is less resistant than sandstone – thus creating deep valleys where the sandstone doesn’t coat the shale.

2. The reason for the difference in kinds of rocks is not difficult to understand. Describe the original sequence of sedimentary rock strata (three types in order from top to bottom), an arch that formed 200 million years ago noting where the crest of the arch was located compared with the low-lying toe of the arch, and an important river system that occupied OH for a long time. (Be sure to give the name of the river, state about how many years it flowed and  what effect it had  upon the landscape. What what curtailed the activities of the river?)

The original sequence (top to bottom) of sedimentary rock strata is as follows: sandstone, shale, limestone. Formed 200 million years ago, a crest extending through Western Ohio to the east was a result of extreme pressure and created the Appalachian mountains to the east. The Teays River was the agent that caused this formation and also occupied Ohio for 200 million years.

3. Pleistocene glaciers invaded OH a few hundred thousand years ago or less. What feature of the landscape slowed the glaciers and so caused there to be a glacial boundary cutting across OH? Sketch a map of Ohio and on it place the glacial boundary

The glaciers were slowed down by the steep-sided sandstone hills in Eastern Ohio. 

4. Describe “glacial till” in terms of its general composition (a definition of till), and how it differs in eastern and western OH.

Glacial till is an unsorted mixture of sand, silt, clay, and boulders that accumulated from the ice melt. This glaciated till covers all of glaciated Ohio. In western Ohio, the till is saturated with lime and clay due to the limestone rock as opposed to Eastern Ohio where there’s little lime and clay. Although, the perimeter of sandstone hills in the eastern portion is richer in the mentioned substances.

5. Contrast the basic substrate for plants in western and eastern OH in terms of drainage, aeration, pH (limey versus acid) nutrient availability.

In Western Ohio, there’s high-lime substrates with clay that created relatively impermeable soil, making it both poorly drained and aerated. Because of this, water tends to remain on the surface and limiting oxygen availability within the soil. In areas with natural openings, the water can drain and the lime creates basic environment and nutrients abundant. In Eastern Ohio where the bedrock is sandstone (permeable), an acidic, low nutrient substrate occurs that is especially dry in higher elevations. In areas with shale as bedrock, surface water runs off instead of being soaked up and creates drought-like conditions in dry spells. The nutrient abundance is also low and acidic, but impermeable.

6. Name 5 species of trees/shrubs that have a distribution generally limited to limestone or limey substrates (such as Ohio’s Lake Erie islands).

1)  Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

2) Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

3) Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata)

4) Hawthorne (Crateagus Mollis)

5) Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

7. Name 5 species of trees/shrubs that have a distribution generally limited to high-lime, clay-rich substrates developed in the thick glacial till of western Ohio

1) Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

2) Beech (Fraxinus grandifolia)

3) Red Oak ( Quercus borealis)

4) Shagbark hickory (Carya Ovata)

5) White ash (Fraxinus Americana)

8. Name 5 species of trees/shrubs that have a distribution generally limited to sandstone hill of eastern OH

1) Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana)

2) Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

3) Pitch pine (Pinus rigida)

4) Scrub Pine (Pinus virginiana)

5) Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

9. What is the major determinant of the distribution of each of these species: a) sweet buckeye (contrast with hemlock), b)  hemlock (contrast with sweet buckeye, c) rhododendron?  

a) Sweet buckeye (contrast with hemlock) – Sweet buckeye doesn’t grow within the glacial boundary of Ohio, most likely due to the climate or lack of repopulation.

b) hemlock (contrast with sweet buckeye) – Hemlock can be found outside of the glacial boundary (eastern Ohio) like the sweet buckeye, but is seen in northern areas as well. This plant thrives in cool, moist conditions like those of the bottoms of deep valleys; cut in sandstone and watered by spring water.

c) rhododendron – Rhododendron is a plant found south of the glacial boundary and is thought to belong to the mixed mesophytic association in Ohio. It can be explained by the Teays River system’s drainage being blocked and destroyed, but leaving the species in tact.