Glen Echo’s Floral Quality Assessment Index (FQAI) = 19.0
High CC Values:
Beech, Fagus grandifolia- CC = 7
Adults have smooth gray bark. Buds are unique by being large, long and needle-like as seen in the second picture. Leaves are alternate and smooth. Opossums, black bears, porcupines, red and gray foxes, whitetail deer and many others eat the fruits of beech (Petrides, 1986).
Tulip-tree, Liriodendron tulipifera – CC = 6
Tulip-trees can be identified by their 4-pointed leaves. They also exhibit two stipules that almost completely enclose the buds as seen in the first picture. Trees are known to grow a large trunk diameter and grow straight to impressive heights. Native Americans used Tulip-tree wood to carve their canoes (Petrides, 1986).
Blue Ash, Fraxinus quadrangulata – CC = 7
I was very excited to find this species in Glen Echo after learning they set themselves apart from other Ash trees with their 4-sided stems as seen below. They have opposite leaves with 7-11 leaflets. The green underside of their leaves is another way to set them apart from the White Ash. The inner bark can be used to create blue dye (Petrides, 1986)!!!!!!
White Ash, Fraxinus americana – CC = 6
I found this common ash species along much of the creekside throughout Glen Echo. This tree also has opposite leaves with 7-11 leaflets. It is distinguished by a white and fuzzy (like lamb’s ear) leaf underside. Leaflet stalks are large at their base. This ash species is prized for its strong and durable wood and often used for furniture and all kinds of wooden tools (Petrides, 1986).
Low CC Values:
Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca – CC = 1
I always grew up thinking milkweed are a species vital to the conservation of monarchs, but their coefficient of conservation is only 1. Perhaps this species only contributes to monarchs and offers very little to the rest of the ecosystem. Milkweeds can be identified by their leaves which tend to be fuzzy and whitish. The stem will seep out a ‘milky’ liquid once broken. Flowers form in large umbels and have flowers that are pink to purple in coloration. The fruit forms in double follicles that split along one seam and disperse seeds using the wind. Monarch larvae and butterflies are toxic to birds due to glycosides they consumed from the milkweed (Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center).
Common Duckweed, Lemna minor – CC = 3
This species is restricted to flooded soils where they float at the surfaces. Duckweeds have smallest flowers known to exist in plants. Each plant consists of one egg-shaped leaf where microscopic flowers later rest. Most of the common duckweeds reproduction occurs asexually through vegetative budding. Duckweeds are an important food source for waterfowl, fish and other aquatic organisms (USDA).
Purple-leaved Willow-herb, Epilobium coloratum – CC = 1
This plant is mostly branched in the top-half with a single flower at the end of each branch. Flowers are tiny and are white to pink in coloration. They tend to grow in soils with access to water such as marshes and streambanks. The stems will turn completely red in the autumn. The plant is able to reproduce via seed dispersal as well as vegetative through rhizomes (The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden).
Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana – CC = 1
This plant has to be a fan favorite! I find these hugging the ground as they branch out and connect to the soil at stem nodes. They have hairy petioles that each have a single trifoliated leaf. The flowers are usually white and create a fruit on the receptacle. Strawberries are usually ripe in May and early June (Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center). The fruits of strawberries are the unique accessory fruit type!