The Olentangy Bike Trail.
The Olentangy bike trail runs along the Olentangy river, the portion I am surveying being in Tuttle Park. This area is relatively heavily wooded and has a lot of brush. The bike paths are sunken down below street level, which allows the path to be closer to the Olentangy river, and probably allows for more vegetation to grow. As you walk, or bike, along the path there are a variety of wild flowers that can be found in the areas close to the path, where trees and shrubs are cleared. Trees can also be easily found by looking overhead, or by taking a side path in to a more wooded, less clear area.
Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Tree of Heaven was first introduced to the US as an ornamental tree, and has now become an invasive species. one of the things that make this tree such a nuisance is their awful smell. One of the reasons they have become such a wide spread invasive species is because of their ability to grow new sprouts from old roots.
Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Shrubs & Woody Vines
Winter creeper (Euonymus fortune)
Winter Creeper is another problematic invasive plant in Ohio. it can carpet large areas in its vines, and can be distinctive because it does not lose its waxy leaves in the winter.
Oriental Bittersweet ? (Celastrus orbiculatus)
Identifying this vine gave me the most trouble by far, figuring it out it was a Bittersweet would have been almost impossible had I not found a distinctive fruit on it, but even then I could not determine if it was an American or an Oriental Bittersweet, the leaves made it look more like an American Bittersweet, but the position the fruit was growing from was distinctive of an oriental bittersweet, which is an invasive species. Eventually I found the PDF of a book online which mentioned that Oriental Bittersweets are suspected to hybridize with American Bittersweets (Common Native Shrubs), so I assumed that was the explanation for the oddly shaped leaves.
literature: Powell, Ellen. Common Native Shrubs and Woody Vines of Virginia: Identification Guide. Virginia Department of Forestry, 2014. http://www.dof.virginia.gov/infopubs/Native-Shrub-ID-spreads_2016_pub.pdf
Tall Ironweed (Vernonia Gigantea)
Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)
Queen Anne’s Lace is also known as wild carrot, is an edible weed that is very common in Ohio. It is easily identified by the red-ish flower that can be found in the middle of its flowers, although one is not present in this one. this defining feature is also the source of its common name where the red flower is supposed to be a drop of blood.
Poison Ivy Identification
The three main telltale signs of poison ivy are their ropy vines, trifoliate leaves, and white drupes.