Deep Woods of Hocking Hills


Substrate Associated Plants

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

The Eastern Hemlock is an evergreen slow growing tree. The tree has short flat needles making it not the perfect ideal Christmas tree. The hemlock was used by native American tribes to treat illnesses, food and tea. The leaves have high levels of vitamin C. 

Fire Pink (Silene virginica)

This beautiful flower known as fire pink or catchfly is known for the sticky hairs that trap insects. The flowers attract birds, humming birds and butterflies. The flower usually blooms late spring.

Broom Forkmoss (Dicranum Scoparium)

Above is a photo of the broom forkmoss, it grows mainly in clumps and the leaves curve to one side. It has rhizoids that help with water absorption.

Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.)

We got a chance to see many wild blueberries! The plant thrives in acidic soil and prefer an area with pure sun. Blueberries are very rich in antioxidants and nutrients, therefore making a great snack. They are also self pollinating plants.

Biotic Threats to Forest Health

Butternut (Juglans cinera)

The butternut tree has been affected by a wide spread fungus known as the black canker disease (caused by Melanconis juglandis). The pathogen is well known for killing butternut trees and spread tree to tree.

American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

American Chestnut suffers from the fungus chestnut blight. The fungus goes through the bark of the tree whenever conditions are suitable. The fungus is able to travel through wind, insects, water and other vectors.

Appalachian Gametophyte

One of the first plants we viewed at Hocking Hills, that Dr. Klips was extremely excited about was the Appalachian Gametophyte. The small plant underneath the cave made a wonderful site to see. The fern reproduces asexually that has no sporophytes making the gametophytes identical.


  1. Fern gemmae are differently sized than spores. Describe the consequence of that size difference in relation to dispersal. State three possible agents of gemmae dispersal. A 1995 publication by Kimmerer and Young is cited as evidence for one of the modes. What is that evidence?


Answer: The ferm gemmae are differntly sized than spores because they are way larger and can be dispersed in a variety of ways. The ways of dispersal include wind, water and animals. In Kimmerer and Young’s 1995 publication they were able to prove that slugs are responsible for dispersing gemmae in a short distance.

2. The notion of limited dispersal capability in Vapplachiana is also supported by consideration of a combination of the geologic history of area, and the current distribution of the plant. Explain this evidence and how it supports a particular time frame for its loss of the ability to produce mature, functioning sporophytes.

Answer: The Appalachian gametophyte is not found in regions north of the glaciations. This can be concluded that the gametophyte had a short dispersal. The region in which the gametophyte is located it is documented that it has not very widespread, which we saw underneath the cave. The minimal range can be due to the glaciations affecting the production of sporophytes. The study performed by Steves and Emery in 2015 stated that the Appalachian gametophyte would thrive in certain ecosystems but however since the dispersal is short distance it hasn’t made it’s way to those ecosystems due to the lack of spores.

3. Could the current populations of the Appalachian gametophyte be being sustained by long-distance dispersal from some tropical sporophyte source? Support your answer. What is the most likely explanation for the wide range of V. applachiana?

Answer: The current populations of the Appalachian gametophyte by long distance dispersal hypothesis has been rejected because of the limited range of inhabitance. The Appalachian gametophyte reproduces asexually and has nonexisting spores. The Allozyme study stated that the sporophyte became extinct before or during the Pleistocene glaciations.


Miscellaneous Other Observation

Snakeskin Liverwort (Conocephalum salebrosum)

The snakeskin liverwort was very unique to see with its odd pattern and the same suits it, it looks like snake skin! It prefers moist or wet conditions, shade and rocky surfaces. Limestone and sandstone cliffs make a great habitat, along with streams, shallow water, clay bans and much more. It has very large spores. The liverwort also has antibiotics that can be used against pathogenic bacteria.

Common Oak Gall

We found this beauty strolling through the deep woods. The common oak gall is in the middle of the plants stem above making it very unique. Galls are irregular plant growths stimulated by plant hormones and chemicals produced by insects/mites. The gall is a solid woody mass that can weigh down the stem.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Sassafras is a deciduous tree with an aroma. A variety of food and drinks are made from the tree. A wonderful tea can be made, spicy jelly, and the green winter buds are used in salads. However, the bark is poisonous but is very weak toxicity when ingested.

Common Speedwell (Veronica officinalis)

Common speedwell is used for a variety of medication including cough remedies. It thrives in forests, meadows and fields. I enjoy the purple flower. It develops into a dry fruit.