There is much to uncover once visiting Delawanda Park (also known as Kenney Park). To enter, you must drive behind a Target and park in the lot of an apartment complex. Behind that complex is a soccer field and wooded trails leading around the park and (at times) parallel to the Olentangy River.
NOTE: Unless otherwise stated with a link below the description, information was found using class materials such as the course companion website (ohioplants.org), Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, and Peterson Field Guides: Trees and Shrubs.
PART ONE: POISON IVY
While this park seems to have it all, not all of it is exactly good. Poison ivy (Rhus radicans) is a plant species that can be found here and gives quite the rash to those who touch it. It’s a three leaf plant with entire or coarse teeth and can be bushy or erect. Let the record show, that this plant is poisonous year round, so never touch it!
PART TWO: FLOWERS and INFLORESCENCSES
Candadian honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis) belongs to the carrot family (Apiaceae). Leaves are compound in groups of 3 and become shorter the higher up on the plant. They have small white flowers that are bilaterally symmetric and the leaves are serrated. The inflorescence is umbel and the plant is epigynous and syncarpous. They produce shizocarps. This plant was seen close to the Olentangy River in relation to the entire trail.
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is an herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Legume family (Fabaceae). The plant is unicarpallate, hypogynous, and bilateral.Its inflorescence is head and the fruit will become a legume. I saw this plant next to the parking lot, where other weedy plants were present.
Curly dock (Rumex crispus) is described as a “panicle of racemes” that whorls – although it is really a panicle. It has radial symmetry, is unicarpellate, and hypogynous. It has reddish/green fruit that will be an achene. I saw this plant on the edge of the wooded area by the soccer field.
The striped cream violet (Viola striata) is a perennial herb that can range from bright white to a cream color with purple stripes in the mouth. The leaves are heart shaped with serrated margins. It has bilateral symmetry, It has a superior ovary and is syncarpous. The fruit is dehiscent and a capsule. Inflorescent: scapose. This plant was seen closer to the Olentangy river in relation to the entire trail.
Butterweed (Packera glabella) is a yellow, flowering plant. It has an interesting arrangement as the petals are slightly gapped. It belongs to the Asteraceae family and thus has an inferior ovary (epigynous). It is unicarpellate and has a head inflorescence. I saw this within the wooded areas near the soccer field.
PART THREE: INVASIVE PLANTS (boo, hiss!)
Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis) is an invasive species that may appear beautiful, but causes ecological problems in ecosystems. It can have white, purple, or pink flowers and is even fragrant. Introduced ornamentally, it spread quickly across forests due to being able to spread seeds among a variety of wildlife. This lead to infiltrating waterways, wetland margins, tree lines, and colonizing prairies, savannas, and stream courses. It can produce a chemical that limits the growth of other plants. In wet environments, pulling the plant from out of the ground is relatively easy and effective, but in dry environments, the roots may not be pulled out of the ground completely and can regrow. This flower isn’t protected as a wildflower and agencies encourage states to add it to the list to invasive species if not already and for individuals to be mindful of its ecological impacts during gardening.
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) has heart shaped to round shaped leaves with toothed edges.It’s listed as a threat due to reducing growth of wildflowers and soil fungi that’s symbiotic with trees. A large amount of seeds are produced and are viable for uptimes to 10 years. It’s spread is contributed to water, animal, and human dispersal. It’s prominent in mesic upland and floodplain forests, savannas, pastures, lawns, and roadsides. To control garlic mustard, hand pulling and cutting stems in the spring before flowering is most effective, but only if the entire plant is removed. Seeds may still be dispersed. Herbicides can be used year round as long as the temperature remains above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. That being said, caution must be used when using herbicides to avoid spraying desirable plants.
Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) is a thorny shrub that produces white, fragrant flowers. It also produces small, red fruits called rose hips. It primarily grows in mesic/floodplains woods, forest edges, old fields, savannas, prairies, fens, roadsides, and lawns. It’s estimated that a single multiflora rose plant can produces an average of one million seeds a year, which is largely dispersed by birds and can remain viable for twenty years. When small, it is possible to effectively remove multiflora rose; however, roots must be removed to prevent it from re-sprouting. Herbicides can also be used by applying directly to foliage.
- Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) is an extremely invasive shrub that was introduced to North America from China, Russian Far East, Korea, and Japan. Birds are highly attracted to the honeysuckle fruit causing seed dispersal, as well as deer. Stems will regrow intensely if cut, the leaves shade native vegetation due to leafing out earlier in the season in comparison to other species, and birds may have better nest protection in honeysuckles versus native plants. If the infestation is light, seedlings can be removed – but if removing the entire plant, extra precautions must be taken to avoid soil disturbance. Cutting the shrub annually to ground level shows higher mortality, but if not done annually then the shrub can regrow to be even more productive than prior to cutting. Prescribed burning is another method used and must be done before seeds disperse. Herbicides can be used when applied directly to foliage or on to the lower part of the plant’s bark.
Yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) is a member of the legume family (Fabaceae) and has leaves that are divided into 3, finely toothed leaflets. In the second year, the plant acquires a bushier appearance – thus forming a more extensive root system. Originating in the Mediterranean, Central Europe and Asia, they were introduced into the US around the 1600’s. Although invasive, they’re used for nitrogen enrichment in soils and produces honey for pollinators. It can produce up to 350,000 seeds (per plant) that are viable for more than 30 years. Drought resistant, they tend to shade native species from sunlight and out compete others for water and nutrients. When small, hand pulling in the fall is recommended due to the contrast of the bright green clover against the other, less saturated plants. For the second year, however, the plants should not be pulled because the stems become brittle and are more likely to snap – aiding in seed dispersal. Consecutive burning annually has shown to be effective, but if only done once, the populations tend to increase. Herbicide can be used before the clovers flower in their first year.
PART FOUR: WOODY PLANT FRUITS IDENTIFICATION
Juneberry (Amelanchier) trees produce a fruit surprisingly called juneberries. Although identifying the exact species of this tree was difficult due to the immature fruits and lack of proper resources (I didn’t pick up a book in class like we were supposed to. Sad.), if I had to make an educated guess based on our Trees and Shrubs book, I would say it’s an Oblongleaf juneberry. This is because it has finely toothed and oblong-shaped leaves. (I know we were supposed to identify solely on the fruit I’m sorry!!)
This is a mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica) is a wildflower that resembles a strawberry, but is unfortunately very much not a strawberry. It shares a same characteristic as a strawberry, that being an aggregate/accessory fruit that possesses achenes on its exterior. However, upon tasting, it’s less than exciting and said to be tasteless. The fruit is also more round than a true strawberry.
Red mulberry (Morus rubs) is a tree that produces multiple fruit, a fruit that is derived from several to many individual flowers in a single inflorescence. I identified this by the numerous ovaries clustered together, and took into account that a red mulberry tree has primarily red fruits and the occasional black fruit, whereas white mulberry has numerous white fruits and also purple/reddish fruits.
The tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) was identified by experience in class and examining the ovary in the middle of the current flowering flower. This is an aggregate of samaras (“winged achenes”) that curl upwards and are about two inches long.
The fruit of a Yellow Goat’s Beard (Tragopogon dubius) resembles a dandelion, but larger. The fruit is an achene and are attached to a feathery pappus; commonly seen in Asteraceae, the family it belongs to.
PART FIVE: MOSSES!
Here are some mosses I photo-documented on my trip! Unfortunately I did not have a microscope to properly identify these mosses, but I did the best with what I had and looked closely at the Ohio Moss & Lichen Association website!