Field Site

My field site is the Olentangy Bike trail near the Neil Ave. apartments. The site consists mostly of woodlands, the woodland edge, and the river bank. The woodland edge goes right up to the trail in most places. On one side of it it the forest and on the other the river. The woodland edge was unfortunately largely dominated by honeysuckle, but many other plants were thriving too.

The Olentangy River

GPS image of the site, 40.0147078, -83.0158784)



Woodland edge













American hackberry – Celtis occidentalis











Boxelder maple – Acer negundo

Samaras + pinnately compound leaves = boxelder maple


The boxelder is the only maple species to have compound leaves. It is sometimes mistaken for poison ivy. Like other maples, its fruits are called samaras and have wings to disperse them. The boxelder is a common food source for deer, birds, and squirrels. Native Americans used the bark of the boxelder to induce vomiting to purify the body.










Shrubs & Woody Vines

Amur honeysuckle – Lonicera maackii


Unfortunately, many habitats in Ohio have been overtaken by honeysuckle. It outcompetes native plants and reduces biodiversity. It crowds out the competition and also supports less animal life than its native counterparts, making it just an all-around awful invasive plant. You can find it pretty much anywhere you look. Its berries are even slightly poisonous to humans. It is difficult to remove: the stumps and roots must be completely removed or it will grow back even tougher.




Climbing euonymus – Euonymus fortunei












Flowering/Fruiting Plants

Poison ivy – Toxicodendron radicans

“Leaves of three, leave it be”


Poison ivy can cause severe itchiness and rashes if it comes into contact with your skin. The plant contains an oil called urushiol that causes allergic reactions. To avoid it, watch out for three leaflets, a “hairy rope” (vine with rootlets) in established specimens, and white fruits. Interestingly, while humans can’t touch poison ivy, many animals regularly consume the plant and its seeds. Poison ivy can actually be used in homeopathic medicine to treat some common pains like rheumatoid arthritis and menstrual pain.






Slender yellow wood sorrel – Oxalis dillenii

Also known as sour grass, all parts of wood sorrel is edible and known for their sour taste. The fruits erupt and release their seeds several feet into the air. The leaves close at night and open again in the daytime.








FQAI for site: 17.7

List of 20 species:

Hackberry – Celtis occidentalis CC=4

Box elder – Acer negundo CC=3

Black walnut – Juglans nigra CC=5

American basswood – Tilia americana CC=6

Tree of heaven – Ailanthus altissima CC=0

Virginia creeper – Parthenocissus quinquefolia CC=2

Bristly greenbrier – Smilax hispida CC=3

Wingstem – Verbesina alternifolia CC=5

White snakeroot – Eupatorium rugosum CC=3

Late flowering boneset – Eupatorium serotinum CC=2

Mock strawberry – Duchesnea indica CC=0

Creeping jenny – Lysimachia nummularia CC=0

Common burdock – Arctium minus CC=0

Canadian honewort – Cryptotaenia canadensis CC=3

Woodland lettuce – Lactuca floridana CC=3

Jumpseed – Persicaria virginiana CC=3

Canada goldenrod – Solidago canadensis CC=1

Baby tooth moss – Plagiomnium cuspidatum (CC not listed)

Purple-stem beggartick – Bidens connata CC=3

Mapleleaf waterleaf – Hydrophyllum canadense CC=5

4 Native Plants with High CCs

Note that they are not very high… the bike trail is not somewhere you would expect to find lots of plants with high CCs.

Blue ash – Fraxinus quadrangulata CC=7

Identifying feature: pinnately compound toothed leaves

Identifying feature: 4-angled stem










Blue ash gets its name from a substance inside the tree that can be used to make a blue fabric dye. Source

Blue ash has a high CC because it tends to be found on limestone outcrops and is less common than other ash trees in Ohio. I was honestly surprised to find it at the Olentangy Bike Trail.

American basswood – Tilia americana CC=6

Identifying features: leaves heart shaped and asymmetrical at base













This tree is very strong and prolific, capable of supporting several tree trunks from the same base. Source

Wingstem – Verbesina alternifolia CC=5

Identifying features: drooping yellow flower rays, untidy moplike disk













Various cultures traditionally used wingstem to cure gastrointestinal problems as well as joint pain. Source

Black walnut – Juglans nigra CC=5

Hard to tell, but this is a black walnut covered in frost grape. Identifying features: pinnately compound leaves, toothed leaflets, catkins

Black walnut fruit











Black walnuts release an allelopathic compound called juglone which inhibits growth of nearby plants. Source

4 Native Plants with Low CCs

Black locust – Robinia psuedoacacia CC=0

Identifying features: alternate pinnately compound leaves, deeply furrowed bark, seed pods 2″-6″














Black locusts can produce both sexually by flowers and asexually by root suckers. Source

Black locust has a low CC because even though it is native, it can grow in disturbed and degraded areas and can form dense stands that inhibit other species.


Slender yellow woodsorrel – Oxalis dillenii CC=0

Identifying features: notched leaflets of 3, tiny yellow flowers with 5 petals










Woodsorrel can also reproduce in different ways: through flowers and through rhizomes. Source


Poison ivy – Toxicodendron radicans CC=0

Identifying features: 3 leaflets, whitish berries, aerial roots in vine form, tiny green flowers













Poison ivy is an early successional plant that is among the first to grow in disturbed areas. Source

Canada goldenrod – Solidago canadensis CC=1

Identifying features: yellow flowers, individual flower heads under “1/8












Canada goldenrod has an allelopathic affect on sugar maple seedlings. Source


4 Invasive Plants

Tree of heaven – Ailanthus altissima

Identifying features: pinnately compound leaves, leaflets with glands on basal lobes, pith solid, fruit samaras













The tree of heaven is native to China, smells disgusting, and is incredibly invasive. Source


Oriental lady’s thumb – Persicaria longiseta

Identifying features: leaves usually have dark splotch, spikes with pink/purple flowers













Oriental lady’s thumb is native to Asia and likes to grow in wet areas and disturbed areas. Source

Green foxtail – Setaria viridis

Identifying features: spikelike panicle resembling fox’s tail, glabrous leaf blades













Green foxtail is native to Eurasia. It is thought that dispersal through bird droppings is one of the reasons for its rapid spread throughout the US. Source

Bradford pear – Pyrus calleryana

Identifying features: glossy dark oval shaped leaves, white flowers













The Bradford pear is native to China and was introduced to the US as an ornamental tree. It’s extremely common in neighborhoods, parks, etc. However, it has become an invasive species, growing under any circumstance and choking out native plants in natural areas. Source 


4 Substrate-Associated Plants

Hackberry – Celtis occidentalis

Identifying features: smooth gray bark, pointed, ovate, toothed leaves with asymmetrical bases










Substrate: limestone/limey soil, floodplains

Blue ash – Fraxinus quadrangulata

Identifying feature: pinnately compound toothed leaves










Substrate: high lime tills

Sugar maple – Acer saccharum

Identifying features: simple 5-lobed leaves, double-winged samara










Substrate: high-lime, clay-rich substrates developed in the thick till of western Ohio plains

Redbud – Cercis canadensis

Identifying features: heart shaped leaves, pink flowers, fruit is a legume













Substrate: high lime

Based on my observations, I concur with the article. The Olentangy Bike Trail is in west-central Ohio and sits on limestone bedrock.