Whetstone Park Site Introduction

Whetstone Park, located just north of The Ohio State University, is a community park and landmark for the Clintonville neighborhood that encompasses over 136 acres for both active and passive use. Whetstone Park is a community park that combines natural beauty, native Ohio prairie, and community amenities. The Park of Roses is a park within the park, a 13 acre rose garden that showcases over 350 varieties of roses, and 11,000 total roses. A recent addition, the Whetstone Prairie, planted in May 2004, converted 5.1 acres of Whetstone Park into native Ohio prairie with vernal pools and woodland buffer. Going down Hollenback Road leads to the forested part of the park, as well as the wetland, Whetstone Pond, and Park of Roses. The Olentangy Trail runs through the park and delineates some of the boundaries of the park, as does the Olentangy River. 



Here is the wonderful Dr. Klips correctly identifying poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). A common saying to identify poison ivy is “leaves of three, leave be”, since its leaves are trifoliate. Poison ivy is commonly found growing up tree trunks or walls, and it can also be identified by its brown and hairy aerial roots. 


Flowers and Inflorescences












Arrow Arum (Peltandra virginica): This plant was found along Hollenback Road shortly after entering the park. It is named for its long-stalked, arrow-shaped leaves. It has a large, sheathing, club-like bract called a spathe enclosing its inflorescence, which is called the spadix. This plant exhibits bilateral symmetry and its parts are inserted hypogenously. It is unicarpous and is incomplete due to its lack of petals and sepals. It produces its fruit as round berries, which can be green, purple, brown, or red. It is pollinated by a chloropid fly (Elachiptera formosa) that deposits its eggs in the inflorescence. The emerging larvae feed on the rotting pollen-producing portion of the spadix. The fruits and seeds are eaten by waterfowl and migratory birds.

Swamp Buttercup (Ranunculus septentrionalis): This flower is radially symmetric, apocarpous, hypogenous, and both basal and alternate stem leaves are compound in groups of 3, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. Leaflets are cleft or lobed, usually in 3 parts, up to 3 inches across and wide, with irregular teeth around the edges. The flower has 5 yellow petals, 5 light green sepals, many yellow stamens and a cluster of pistils in the center of the flower and is about 1.5 inches in diameter. It produces fruit in the form of achenes. I found this flower in the forest cover bordering the wetland prairie.

Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): I found this species near the roadside of the entrance to the park as well. The common dandelion exhibits both radial symmetry and zygomorphic symmetry, in its ligulate flowers (ray-shaped) and disk flowers. This flower is unicarpous and epigynous. Its fruit occurs in the form of silver tufted achenes that are dispersed by wind. 

Philadelphia fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus): This plant has alternate, simple elliptical leaves with course round teeth. The flowers are radially symmetric and this plant is syncarpous and exhibits epigynous insertion. This plant lacks sepals and instead has 2 to 3 rows of narrow green bracts behind the flower. I found this plant near the tree line close to Whetstone Pond. This plant has a capitulum similar to the common dandelion, with ray and disk flowers both present. 

Invasive Plants 


Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maacki): This flower occurs all over forests in Ohio. Amur is native to China, and was likely introduced during the 1800s as an ornamental species. Pairs of tubular flowers less than an inch long occur along the stem in the leaf axils. Amur flowers have very short peduncles. These plants resprout aggressively after being cut, and they threaten native species by shading them since they leaf out earlier in the spring compared to native vegetation. The species is shade tolerant, and resistant to heat, drought, and severe winter cold. 


Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata): Autumn-olive leaves are small, oval, smooth-margined and dark green. It has small, light yellow fragrant flowers in May to June, replaced by small, round, juicy, reddish-pink fruit dotted with silver or brown scales. Autumn olive was first introduced to North America in 1830 from China. Autumn-olive is found throughout Ohio, occurring in various open to semi-shaded habitats including old fields, grasslands, barrens, and in this case, wetland prairie. Since they grow well in poor soils, they have been used extensively in Ohio for reclamation projects, such as the Whetstone Prairie Meadow. Selective herbicide application is the most effective control method for woody invasive plants, especially those that have extensive, nitrogen-fixing root systems like these species. 

Multi-flora rose (Rosa multiflora): This rose was introduced from Japan, Korea and eastern China in 1866 as a rootstock for ornamental roses. In the 1930s, it was widely promoted as a “living fence” to confine livestock and was planted for soil conservation and wildlife programs. It is frequent throughout Ohio. Multiflora rose prefers sunny to semi-shaded habitats with well-drained soils, but can tolerate a wide range of habitats. Multiflora rose is generally easy to control using herbicides. Both the Rose rosette virus and European rose chalcid are being investigated as potential biological controls, however the downside to these methods is their potential to impact other rose species. 


Woody Plants


Common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis): The flowers develop into small, rounded, green fruits throughout the summer that become dark green, purple, or brown fruits by late autumn. These are usually consumed in great quantities by birds in mid- to late autumn, but a few may survive the winter and still be present the following spring. 


American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis): Sycamore fruits are achenes, dry spheres that retain their seeds. Mature fruits are about 1.5 inches in diameter and form a ball that dangles at the end of a stalk and makes it attractive to birds.

American Basswood (Tilia americana): Basswood has a very distinct fruit; it is an open cluster of hard nutlets on a stem which comes from the center of a narrow elliptical wing.

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum): The fruits of Acer palmatum are samaras. The fruits are elongated and usually range from 0.5-0.75 inches long. The covering of the fruit is dry and hard. The color of the fruit ranges from green to red. Fruits ripen from September-October. Japanese maple is native to Japan, but has escaped cultivation and become naturalized in the eastern United States. 


Mosses and Lichens

Powdery Axil-bristle Lichen (Myelochroa aurulenta)


Speckled Greenshield Lichen (Flavopunctelia flaventior)


Seductive Entodon Moss (Entodon seductrix)


Rough Speckled Shield Lichen (Punctelia rudecta)


Here is the list of sources I consulted to compile this webpage, additional information outside of class resources was sourced online and cited in text where applicable. 

  • Peterson’s Guide to Trees and Shrubs (1986) by George A. Petrides.
  • Common Lichens of Ohio Field Guide (2015) by Ray Showman