Hello friends,

Follow along as I I.D. eight native trees in my urban neighborhood of Columbus!

Tree #1

Common name: Ohio Buckeye, Scientific name: Aesculus glabra

Leaf Arrangement: Opposite

Leaf Complexity: Palmately-compound

Other features: Seeds are poisonous to humans, but not to most wildlife. Seed resembles the eye of a buck deer. Yellow/green flowers create a spiny fruit capsule.

Fun Fact: There is a Stop the Buckeye Coalition that brings awareness to global warming and the invasion of the Ohio Buckeye tree. The Ohio Buckeye’s range has begun to include Michigan. Buckeye seeds could disperse to Michigan before, but would likely not survive the colder climate.

Location and Habitat: Prefers moist, well-drained soils with lots of sun. This tree was found in Iuka Ravine Park.

Tree #2

Common name: Black Maple, Scientific name: Acer nigrum

Leaf Arrangement: Opposite

Leaf Complexity: Simple

Other features: Black maple has dark green leaves that are shallowly 3-lobed.

Fun Fact: Black maple can commercially make the same syrup as sugar maple.

Location and Habitat: Grows in rich mesic woodlands, moist bottomlands and riverbanks. This tree was found in Iuka Ravine Park.

Tree #3

Common name: Redbud, Scientific name: Cercis canadensis

Leaf Arrangement: Alternate

Leaf Complexity: Simple

Other features: Leaves emerge reddish and turn green as they age. The pinkish-purple flowers appear all over the branches and trunk.

Fun Fact: George Washington enjoyed spending time transplanting seedlings from a nearby wood into his garden.

Location and Habitat: Can tolerate many site conditions. Requires moist soils if in direct sun. This tree was found in Iuka Ravine Park.

Tree #4

Common name: Swamp (White) Oak, Scientific name: Quercus bicolor

Leaf Arrangement: Alternate

Leaf Complexity: Simple

Other features: This oak has broadest lobes that usually grow in the leaf’s middle or top-half. The leaf is dark green with a slight shine on the top, while being white with fuzzy hairs underneath.

Fun Fact: Swamp White Oak is a great choice for a street tree. It can survive urban areas with compacted soils. It prefers moist soils, but has shown to be quite hardy to droughts. Finally, it lives past 300 years!

Location and Habitat: Acorns require moist soils and open sun to grow. Survives in frequently flooded soils in wooded areas. This tree was found in Iuka Ravine Park.

Tree #5

Common name: PawPaw, Scientific name: Asimina triloba

Leaf Arrangement: Alternate

Leaf Complexity: Simple

Other features: Sub-canopy species. Fruits grow in clusters and will pull weaker branches downward. Flowers pollinated by beetles and flies.

Fun Fact: This is our largest edible fruit native to North America!

Location and Habitat: Well-drained, fertile soils. Occurs in wooded slopes and hills. This tree was found in Iuka Ravine Park.

Tree #6

Common name: Common Catalpa, Scientific name: Catalpa spp.

Leaf Arrangement: Whorled

Leaf Complexity: Simple

Other features: Large clusters of white zygomorphic flowers. The fruit is a long legume-like capsule.

Fun Fact: I had one of Ohio’s largest in my backyard! The flowers emit a great smell and the branches are ideal for climbing.

Location and Habitat: Prefers moist soils with full sun. This tree was found in similar conditions in Iuka Ravine Park.

Tree #7

Common name: Honey Locust, Scientific name: Gleditsia triacanthos

Leaf Arrangement: Alternate

Leaf Complexity: Bipinnately compound

Other features: Branches are thorny. Fruits pods are dark brown and up to 40 cm long.

Fun Fact: Leaves are slightly toxic, but the fruits are edible and sweet-tasting.

Location and Habitat: This tree was found in a wooded riparian area bordering a creek.

Tree #8

Common name: American Sycamore, Scientific name: Plantanus occidentalis

Leaf Arrangement: Alternate

Leaf Complexity: Simple

Other features: Smooth white bark peels off showing darker coloration beneath. Creates a mosaic of white, grey, brown and green.

Fun Fact: These giants create a dotted line from Iuka Ravine to Mirror Lake on campus. They prefer soils near water like the creek/spring that ran from Iuka Ave to Mirror Lake.

Location and Habitat: These trees prefer moist soils and lots of sun. They usually dominate the canopy. This tree was found along the wooded roadside of Iuka Ave.