Oak Openings Metropark is the largest park in Northwest Ohio, and is roughly 5,000 acres in size. It is named after the region that surrounds it, which is 23 times larger than the park. Oak Openings contains a lot of natural habits within its territory such as an oak savanna and vegetated dunes. There are more than 50 miles of trails available to walk, with an over-abundance of wildlife growing everywhere.

 

Box elder

Acer negundo

Dame’s rocket

Hesper matronalis

This flower used to be popular in gardens, and now is considered an invasive species for how fast it spreads. It can wreak havoc on other plants (is allelopathic), and degrade water supplies.

Common buckthorn

Rhamus cathartica

Multiflora rose

Rosa multiflora

This plant is actually a member of the rose family we all know and love, however it was not yet in bloom. This shrub is an invasive species originally native to East Asia that came to the United States in the 1860s.

Eastern Cottonwood

Populus deltoides

Due to its large size, weak wood, and penetrating roots the Eastern Cottonwood is rarely near residential areas.

 

Greater Celandine

Chelidonium majus

This plant is commonly grown in Asia, Central and Southern Europe, and North America. An extract of this plant is actually used in some traditional Chinese medicine, and is seen by some as a natural cancer treatment.

Spotting Poison Ivy

My mother and I did not trust our clumsy selves to venture off the paths at Oak Openings to search for poison ivy, so we attempted to do so in our backyard that backs up to another local park. After a long search I was excited as I thought I had finally found some, however I soon realized I was just looking at a box elder.

After doing some research online, I felt better about myself as I found that box elder is commonly mistaken for poison ivy. There is an old saying that helps to identify poison ivy: “Leaves of three, let it be!” One mistake I made was I did not look for the white berries that poison ivy grow, which this box elder plant seen above lacks. The leaves of poison ivy have pronounced ridges as well.