Caesars creek is a large lake with a Dam located on the southernmost part of the map. This is located in Waynesville, Ohio (which is in southwest Ohio). There are a hiking trails, nature preserves, wildflower reserve areas, grassland reserve areas, and many more. I have spent a lot of my time around the dam because there are good trails with a variety of trees. Caesars creek is a good place to fish for crappie and bass. It is also populated by many people in the summer at their picnic and beach areas. For our purposes, we will use the vast wildlife presented to us at the beautiful Caesars Creek!
*All titles of plants are above their pictures.
Redbud – Cercis canadensis
Early folk healers would try to use the bark to treat certain illnesses like leukemia.
Ohio Buckeye – Aesculus glabra
Four-lined Honeysuckle – Lonicera involucroata
The honeysuckle can be used to try and treat headaches.
Honey locust – Gleditsia triacanthos
These shrubs have a large range of capabilities. Ranges from being used in fences to treating diseases like arthritis.
Multiflora rose – Rosa multiflora
Common Sunflower – Helianthus annuus
A fun fact about the sunflower is its physiology. It uses phototropism to be able to move towards the sun during the day.
Poison Ivy – Rhus radicans
Key features to identifying poison ivy is through the leaflets. If there are three per leaflet, let it be! Also, it is a vine, so it most likely will be connected via a vine to a tree. The vine looks like a hairy rope. The fruits have white drupes (that look like berries)!
Here will be the section over the high and low CC plants I found at Caesars creek.
The four low CC plants I found were the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), white clover (Trifolium repens), tall ironweed (Vernonia giganea), and the Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Here are the corresponding CC: dandelion – 0, white clover – 0, tall ironweed – 2, Japanese honeysuckle – 0.
I will now go over two of these plants.
I could not think of a more weedy/common plant that everyone would know! The dandelion was said to have originated in Europe and Asia. This was a highly cultivated plant and is thought that this plant was purposefully brought over to America. This plant has been used for medical treatments before it got to America, but this seemed to die out in America and instead it is the annoying plant growing in our gardens. The dandelions other form is not present in this picture, but most people will recognize it as the puff ball they blow away in the wind. This is the plants way of dispersing their seeds!
Why do I find these things everywhere????? The white clover can be found in most grasslands/pastures. Not only can the white clover improve forge quality, it supplies nitrogen for grass growth. They are very durable (i.e. they can usually withstand a lawnmower). It was introduced in many areas in America (due to the improvements of grasslands) and is native to Europe. Whenever you go searching for a four leaf clover, you will undoubtedly find these everywhere you look.
The four high CC plants I found were the Maryland golden aster (Chrysopsis mariana), black oak (Quercus velutina), American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), and the pumpkin ash (Fraxinus profunda).
Here are the corresponding CC: Maryland golden aster – 6, black oak – 7, American sycamore – 7, Pumpkin Ash – 7.
I will now go over two of these plants.
Maryland Golden Aster
I find this to be a rather pretty wildflower! It is believed to be the first of their species and found in England in the 1700s. The greek word Chrysos means gold and opsis means aspect, where it gets its name! It was introduced into America like many wildflowers were. The stem only ranges to 1 to 2 feet high. There are many wildflowers that take a similar morphological look as this plant. This shows the diversity we see in wildflowers knowing how many plants look similar, but are indeed different species.
You may not know many trees, but I am sure you have heard of an Oak tree! All oak trees are alternately arranged and usually simple with lobed margins. The Black Oak fruits used to be apart of Native Americans diets and are also important for many animals. While this doesn’t have much to do with Ohio, the Black Oak population is said to be declining in Yosemite National Park. One hypothesis was relating it to the change in deer population and behavior. For example, an increase in deer means more grazing on oaks seedlings.
The Floristic Quality Assessment Index for Caesars Creek is around 23.
Here at Caesars Creek it is popular to hike, fish, picnic, boat, and enjoy the wildlife! Below are signs I saw along trails or around common meeting places are the lake.
There were a variety of signs that I was able to choose from. I thought the interpretive sign about the redbud was a good sign, since the redbud is such a common and pretty tree around the area. The old field sign was really intriguing to me. I thought it was cool of them to label a lot of the different species while telling us a little story. The last sign that I found at botany was about the forest itself. I think it was my favorite interpretive sign because it is quite easy to understand. It is accurate and tells you a decent amount of information on one sign.
The last two signs I found were more directly correlated with areas that are quite popular at Caesars Creek. The sign about fossils in-particular. Many schools around the area go on field trips in the spring to survey the vast open fields of rock that are here at Caesars Creek (this is according to my 10 year old brother). The final sign about months and butterflies is a good interpretive sign because most people may not know the difference! There are areas around the park that have cultivated plants to induce butterfly attraction, and this sign was at one of them!
For my sign, I decided to go after the interactive side of botany. The signs at Caesars Creek seemed to touch this subject a lot. I figured this sign would suit well in this area, especially since they have designated areas for butterflies to attend. There were a multitude of different flowers I could have used, but the Aster family is so widely diverse and so commonly seen around the park. The monarch butterfly is one of the most commonly known butterflies and figured it fit the best. This interactive sign goes into detail about the positive effects of pollination and is inferred after you read it, why the park takes pride in conserving/building these areas for pollination.