Overbrook Ravine Park

I chose to visit Overbrook Ravine Park for my botanical survey site. It is located in Clintonville, Ohio, nestled between North High St. and Indianola Ave. It is a small park that runs alongside Adena Brook and the surrounding neighborhood. A notable characteristic of the park is the large stone fragments (slabs?) that surround the brook.

 

 

Flowering Plants

White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)

This plant got its common name because it was originally believed to be useful when treating snake bites. Unfortunately to those who believed this, the foliage is actually toxic and should NOT be used medicinally!

 

Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)

 

 

Trees

American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

 

American Linden (Tilia americana)

This tree is vital to pollinators like the honey bee. Its pale yellow flowers attract bees, and the tree itself is often a favorite to bees for producing honey. Its white wood is even used to build the frames used for collecting honey from bee farms!

 

 

Shrubs and Vines

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

Like the name suggests, this plant originates from England. It was used in ancient Greece as an anesthetic and to treat swelling. Today, English Ivy can be used to treat respiratory conditions like asthma! It’s also very pretty to look at and can be kept as a houseplant (although I failed to keep mine alive…)

 

Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

While this ground-covering plant is very beautiful (in my humble opinion), it is highly invasive and poses a threat to native foliage. Periwinkle grows quickly and densely and displaces other plants from their precious homes. This was pretty clear at Overbrook Ravine because this plant was EVERYWHERE.

 

Poison Ivy!?

(Toxicodendron radicans)

Poison ivy was surprisingly difficult to find at my site, but after photographing every other plant to ever exist, I finally found it! Poison ivy is recognizable by its three leaves: “Leaves of three, leave it be!

 

 

Fun Finds!

While the most interesting part of my trip to Overbrook Ravine was obviously the plants, I also stumbled across a fun wooden “tent” and four white-tailed deer!

 

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Species List

Floristic Quality Assessment Index: 15.75

Common name Scientific name CC value
Eastern Redbud Cercis canadensis 3
Amur Honeysuckle Lonicera maackii 0
Common Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica 0
Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra 6
American Bladdernut Staphylea trifolia 6
Wingstem Verbesina alternifolia 5
Canadian Blacksnakeroot Sanicula canadensis 3
Wild Ginger Asarum canadense 6
American Beech Fagus grandifolia 7
Wintercreeper Euonymus Euonymus fortunei 0
Sugar Maple Acer saccarum 5
American Pokeweed Phytolacca americana 1
Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia 2
Canadian Honewort Crytotaenia canadensis 3
Winged Elm Ulmus alata 2
Calico Aster Symphyotrichum lateriflorum 2
Honey Locust Gleditsia triacanthos 4
Mockernut Hickory Carya alba 6
Southern Catalpa Catalpa bignonioides 0
Lady’s Thumb Persicaria maculosa 0

 

High CC Values

An identifying characteristic of the American Bladdernut is their fruit, a papery seed capsule. Their seeds can be eaten both raw and cooked, and are a good alternative to walnuts in cookies! (https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/staphylea-trifolia/)

American Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

 

Wild Ginger has a heart shaped leaf that hides its flower underneath (I should’ve looked!). Their seeds are distributed by ants, and their roots were consumed and used by indigenous Americans. They were dried and ground to use as a spice, or boiled in water to create a candied root. (https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/asarum_canadense.shtml)

Wild Ginger (Asarum canadensis)

 

The wood of the Mockernut Hickory is the hardest of all hickory species, and is commonly used to build furniture and for tool handles! It has long, wide leaves. (https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/mockernut-hickory)

Mockernut Hickory (Carya alba)

 

The American Beech has deep green, glossy leaves. They produce beechnuts, which are very important to local wildlife because they feed so many animals. (https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=fagr)

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

Low CC Values

Pokeweed can be easily identified by its drooping, elongated berries that grow to be a deep shade of purple. While mature plants are toxic, immature shoots of pokeweed can be boiled and eaten. Also, their berries can be used for making dye. (http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/Wildflowers_Kimonis_Kramer/PAGES/POKEWEED_PAGE_FINAL.html)

American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

 

Winged Elms have small serrate leaves with prominent veins. Their inner bark used to be used to make ropes! (https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ulal)

Winged Elm (Ulmus alata)

 

While my photo doesn’t show it, Calico Asters produce dainty white flowers. These flowers generally grow off only one side of their stems, explained by their Latin name, lateriflorum, and other common name, side-flowering aster. (https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=277245)

Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)

 

I first took a picture of this plant because I was searching for Poison Ivy. However, the Virginia Creeper has leaves of five while Poison Ivy has leaves of three. Apparently this confusion led to the famous rhyme: “Leaves of three, let it be. Leaves of five, let it thrive.” (https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=paqu2)

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Invasive Species

Amur Honeysuckle can be easily identified in the autumn months because of their bright red berries. This photo was taken in early September, but when I visited my site again in early October there were red berries everywhere! This plant manages to spread quickly because their seeds are dispersed by birds. (https://www.invasive.org/weedcd/pdfs/wow/amur-honeysuckle.pdf)

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)

 

Common Buckthorn has glossy, elliptically shaped leaves. Their seeds have a laxative affect on birds, which aids in their rapid dispersal. (https://extension.umn.edu/identify-invasive-species/common-buckthorn)

Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

 

Wintercreeper is a vining groundcover plant. It is sold as an ornamental plant because of its quick groundcover and evergreen-ness, but is difficult to control (thus…invasive). (https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/wintercreeper)

Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)

 

Southern Catalpa is a very tall tree with large, heart shaped leaves. It produces long cigar-shaped fruits. Everything about this tree is BIG! The seeds and flowers have been used in traditional medicine to treat asthma and skin infections. (https://dengarden.com/gardening/Catalpa-Tree-Facts-and-Details)

Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides)

Substrate Associated Species

Redbud is the only species from the Geobotany article that has an affinity for limey substrate.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

However, I had three species, Sugar Maple, American Beech, and Red Oak, that hail from the article’s high-lime, clay-rich substrate section.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

Red Oak (Quercus rubra)