Species 1: White Oak (Quercus alba)

A young White Oak.

Pictured here is a young White Oak tree I found in the forest understory of Highbanks Metro Park. The tree was growing on the slope of a gradual hill, among some dead leaves and other saplings. It has an alternate arrangement with simple leaves that are bluntly lobed. Like Gabriel Pompkin before he took his forest ecology class (see his article at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/26/opinion/sunday/cure-yourself-of-tree-blindness.html), the Oak genus is one of the few trees I wasn’t “blind to” before taking Ohio Plants at OSU. One fact about the white oak I never knew before was that it’s fed upon by the Gypsy Moth, a creature that recently caused many Oak trees around the country to die. See http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/forest/htmls/trees/Q-alba.html for more details about this.

Species 2: White Ash (Fraxinus americana)

The opposite, compound leaves of the White Ash.

Tree number two is a White ash. Pictured above is a young tree that was found in the forest understory in Highbanks metropark, just like the White oak. It has an opposite compound leaf arrangement. The leaves have 5-7 leaflets, are not toothed and the twigs aren’t glossy, which I believe is what separates this tree from the Black ash, Blue ash and Green ash, respectively. I just found out that the White Ash is famously used for making baseball bats (see https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=1082). I guess tree knowledge and baseball knowledge can go hand in hand.

Species 3:

Elm leaves.

Here you can see how this tree was trying to grow in the direction of a sunny patch.

Species 4:  Northern Bush Honeysuckle  (Diervilla lonicera)

The small, opposite leaves of the Northern Bush Honeysuckle.

This one was a bit difficult for me to identify. The Northern Bush Honeysuckle has opposite, simple leaves that are very finely toothed and vary from about 2-4 inches. The twigs are ridges and the plant I found was about 4-5 feet tall. It  was found in the forest understory at Highabanks Metro Park, near the forest edge. One interesting fact is that a variety of this plant found in the far northern U.S. and Ontario has hairy leaf undersides. The plant I found did not! (see https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/dielon/all.html).

Species 5: Smooth Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium)

Smooth Blackhaw leaves

Like many of the other smaller trees on this page, I found this tree in the forest understory of Highbanks Metro Park. This tree was growing in a very shady area. It has opposite, simple leaves that are very finely toothed, but a bit larger than the leaves of the honeysuckle. It’s side twigs were short and stiff. One interesting fact is that populations of this native tree can get threatened when non-native honeysuckles (which are closely related to Viburnums) are introduced to the same area (see https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/trees/plants/blackhaw.htm). Knowledge of invasive species like these non-native honeysuckles and the threats they pose to forests are another good reason to cure tree-blindness.

Species 6: Catawba-tree (Catalpa speciosa)

The large leaves of the Catawba-tree

I saw this Catawba-Tree along the shady trail at High-Banks metro park. It appeared to be a relatively young tree, since adults can grow up to 70 feet tall, and this one was maybe 20. The leaves of this tree were heart-shaped, simple in complexity, and mainly opposite in arrangement, although there were some groups of three leaves that looked whorled. What really set this tree apart were it’s large leaves, some of which looked at least 10 inches long. While I didn’t see any fruit on this tree, one fun fact is that the fruit of the Catawba-tree are narrow pods that can grow over a foot long! (see https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/Catalpa-speciosa.shtml). This was one of the most cool-looking trees I have learned about while curing my “tree blindness.”

Species 7: Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

There was no sand on this Beech.

While this Beech tree was pretty short (I couldn’t reach the leaves of any full grown ones), others around it were very tall, with smooth gray trunks that rose up and over the canopy of Highbanks Metro Park. The leaves of the Beech tree were alternate in arrangement, simple in complexity, toothed, and shaped more-or-less like a pointy egg. One fun fact about the beech tree is that it often has hollow trunks, making it easy for strong winds to tear off large limbs! (see http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/americanbeech). In his article, Pompkin states that he doesn’t want to see an “all Beech future,” which is possible given its ability to out compete other native trees that are facing pest problems. While I agree with Popmkin, I do still think the Beech is a beautiful tree, especially with that smooth gray bark.

Species 8: Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

mmmm… sugar

Like all of the trees on this page, this Sugar Maple was found in Highbanks Metro Park. This particular tree was found near the entrance to the main trail, along the forest edge. The Sugar Maple as opposite, simple leaves that are deeply lobed into 5 toothless segments. One fun fact that I never knew is that the hard wood of the Sugar Maple has caused it to have the nick name “Rock Maple” (see http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/sugarmaple). This was the only tree other than the Oak that I wasn’t “blind” to before taking Ohio Plants.