Site Species and Their CC & Floristic Quality Assessment Index
* Bigtooth Maple was found to actually be Field Maple, but overall was left out of the calculations
Four Highest CC
Plants that have a CC score of 6-8 are described as plants with a narrow range of ecological tolerances that typify a stable or near “climax” community. This means that they are not invasive, are tolerated for the location, and allow for a very stable plant community. Four Highest CC
White Ash / Fraxinus americana (6)
An identifying feature of White Ash is its slim, non-serrated leaves. Beyond its many landscape values, the wood of these trees is often used to make baseball bats!
Pawpaw / Asimina triloba (6)
Pawpaws typically have simple, alternate, pinnate leaves that are quite large. A fun fact about Pawpaws is that their fruit is said to taste like a mix of banana and melon! They are a hot commodity right now, but I’m always on the look for one when I see the tree.
Wild River Oats / Chasmanthium latifolium (7)
Wild River Oats are easily identifiable from their drooping inflorescences. River oats provide good forage and hay for grazing animals, but it disappears under heavy grazing. Edible foods enthusiasts note that the seeds can be processed and used as a cereal grain or to make flour.
Blue Aster / Symphyotrichum oolentangiense (7)
Blue Asters tend to have very pale-blue colored petals and resemble White Asters. Their leaves are also arrowhead-shaped near the base and do not clasp onto the stem. One interesting fact about asters is that they have an erect stem with a woody base, which is also a great ID factor.
Four Lowest CC
Plants with a CC score of zero are described as plants with a wide range of ecological tolerances. Often these are opportunistic invaders of natural areas or native taxa that are typically part of a ruderal community. It is also stated that plants with a CC score of 1-2 are widespread taxa that are not typical of (or only marginally typical of) a particular community. These types of plants are either invasive, do not fit in the ecological community, and/or do not stabilize the community.
Poison Ivy / Toxicodendron radicans (1)
One key feature of Poison Ivy is its leaves of three (let it be) and the berries that are typically small and white. Poison Ivy is often known due to its allergic reactions and different variations of irritants it causes to the skin.
Orange Jewelweed (Spotted Touch-Me-Not) / Impatiens capensis (2)
The showy flowers of Orange Jewelweed are often golden-orange and splotched with reddish-brown. A fun fact is that Touch-Me-Nots is a natural remedy to Poison Ivy and Stinging Nettle!
Pinkweed / Polygonum pensylvanicum (0)
The flowers are crowded around the central stem of the plant. Each individual flower is only about one-eighth inch. The flowers are light pink or white. Pinkweed flowers do not have a floral scent but attract honeybees, bumblebees, leaf-cutting bees, and other insects. Many insects also feed on the leaves, roots, and other parts of the plant. Pinkweed seeds are an important food source for many bird species, including waterfowl, game birds, and some songbirds, as well as some small rodents.
Canada Goldenrod / Solidago canadensis (1)
One identifying feature of this plant is its inflorescences. They typically occur on mostly one side of long, drooping panicle branches that have 10-17 ray flowers. Pollination is typically all thanks to insects, which can be seen in the second picture!
Poison Ivy / Toxicodendron radicans
(pictured and discussed above)
Multiflora Rose / Rosa multiflora
Multiflora Rose can be identified by its thorns are compound leaves and sharply-toothed leaflets. One fact I find intriguing is that the importation, distribution, trade, and sale of multiflora rose has been banned in Massachusetts. I assume this is due to its extremely invasive nature and wouldn’t be surprised if it is banned in many other states as well.
Japanese Stiltgrass (Reclining Eulalia) / Microstegium vimineum
Each lance-shaped leaf has a noticeable stripe of silvery, reflective hairs down the length of the upper leaf surface. Unlike most native grass leaves which are rough in one direction when rubbed, Japanese Stiltgrass leaves are smooth in both directions. This plant is an annual grass that is native to China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and the Caucasus Mountains. However, in 1919, it was introduced in Tennesee and quickly spread due to its invasive nature.
English Ivy / Hedera helix
This ivy is an evergreen perennial and classified as a woody vine, which means that you can see it almost any time of the year. English Ivy plants are superb climbers, clinging to almost any surface by means of small roots that grow along the stems. Due to this, one can oftentimes see it growing against houses, garages, or sheds.
Western Ohio: Lime-loving Trees
Redbud / Cercis canadensis
One identifying feature of this tree is its heart-shaped leaves and the legumes it produces (Picture 2)
Hackberry / Celtis occidentalis
A major identifying feature of this tree, especially when you can’t see the leaves, is its wart-like bark!
Hophornbeam / Ostrya virginiana *not at Hayden falls*
Hophornbeam produces paper-like seeds, which resemble hops.
VS. Eastern Ohio: Sandstone-loving Trees
Eastern Hemlock / Tsuga canadensis *not at Hayden falls*
Something that helps me identify Eastern Hemlock is the tiiiiiiny pinecone-like seeds that they produce, as pictured below!