Plants of the Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park

The Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park is located at 352 W Dodridge St. in Columbus, Ohio (1). The park is approximately 52-acres and includes two experimental wetland basins, an oxbow wetland, bottomland hardwood forest, and a mesocosm compound (1). Beyond research, the site is used by many for recreational purposes as it connects to the very popular Olentangy River Trail!

Figure 1. Map of the Olentangy Wetland Research Park.

Below are a few of the amazing flowering plant, tree, and shrub/vine species which are located at the Olentangy Wetland Research Park!

Trees:
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) 

Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Tree-of-Heaven was originally brought to the United States from China in order to act as a food source for the growing silkworm industry. While the silkworm industry ultimately tanked, the Tree-of-Heaven has been incredibly successful in the U.S. and is now a top invasive tree species (2).

Shurbs/Vines:
Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
Honeysuckle used to be grown near homes and placed around entrances in order to ward off witches and evil spirits (4).

Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)
The fruit of Riverbank grape is an important food source for upland gamebirds and many songbirds (5).

Poison-Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
Poison-ivy can be identified by its iconic leaves that have three leaflets. These leaflets can be mitten-shaped which further distinguishes poison-ivy from other vines. Additionally, poison-ivy spreads using horizontal rhizomes which creates a hairy or shaggy looking vine.

Flowering Plants:
Leafy elephantfoot (Elephantopus carolinianus)

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
The roots of Black-eyed Susans have been used in tea to treat worms and colds (3).

 

Resources:
1. senr.osu.edu/research/schiermeier-olentangy-river-wetland-research-park
2. forestry.ohiodnr.gov/treeofheaven
3. bio.brandis.edu/fieldbio/medicinal_plants/pages/Black_Eyed_Susan.htm
4. homeguides.sfgate.com/honeysuckle
5. illinoiswildflowers.info/trees/plants/riverbank_grape.htm

High CC and Low CC Plants (+ Moss/Lichen!)

High CC:

Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) – 8
Member of Asteraceae which has purple flowers (1). This plant typically grows in prairies, old fields, savannas, and woodlands (1). It is most common in the Ohio and Lower Mississippi Valleys (1). The plant flowers from July to September (1). A fun fact is that it is a great nectar plant and is visited by many pollinators (1)!

Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) – 7
This can be a shrub or small tree (2). The leaves come in three different forms, two of which are shown below. A fun fact about Mulberry is that its fruits have been used in many culinary dishes throughout Appalachia for many years (2)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low CC:

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) – 1
Black-eyed Susan’s are wildflowers which can be ID’d based on their small, sunflower like flowers (3). A fun fact is that Black-eyed Susans are a popular flower to use in bouquets (3)!

Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) – 1
Canada Goldenrod is a tall, herbaceous plant with yellow flowers (4). The stems have lines of white hair underneath when it is young which can help distinguish it from other species of goldenrod (4). A fun fact about Canada Goldenrod is that some report that the foliage contains a volatile oil (4)!

Moss:

The moss I located at the Olentangy Wetlands Research Park was a Brachythecium.

Lichens

  1. Rough Speckled Shield Lichen

 

2. Common Greenshield Lichen

 

Resources:
1.  www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/veronia_gigantea.shtml
2. wildflower.org/plants/results.php?id_plant=moru2
3. wildflower.org/plants/results.php?id_plant=ruhi2
4. illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/cn_goldenrodx.htm