This page is slightly different from the others you’ve seen, in that I’m going to be showing you many of the botanical beauties that can be found around a place called Whetstone Park. Whetstone Park is a community park located in Clintonville, Ohio (there are some maps below) that offers both indoor and outdoor activities. The recreational activities include sports leagues for the little kiddos all the way up to classes for seniors at their community center. Outside, there are tennis courts, fishing spots, and a whole park inside the park called the Park of Roses.
Location of Whetstone Park in Clintonville, Ohio. Retrieved from Google Maps.
Map of the Park of Roses inside Whetstone Park. Retrieved from https://parkofroses.org/.
Although it is fascinating, I won’t be focusing on just the Park of Roses, as there are so many other important plants to see beyond that (stay tuned for a poison ivy identification crash course). Something else that I find really cool is that the park has set aside multiple acres of land for prairie restoration! For more information on the park and its history, you can check out this website.
Here’s a couple pictures of the site just to get a little familiar with it:
This is one of the areas in between the Park of Roses and the tennis courts – where I found some nice trees to show ya!
One of the paths inside the Park of Roses – very aesthetically pleasing.
A path towards the edge of the park where I found some woody vine species. Also pictured is my adventure pal, Riley.
As for the flora, let’s dive in shall we?
The first species we’re looking at is the black cherry, or Prunus serotina. Its main identification feature is the potato chip-looking bark.
The next tree I was pleased to find – it’s an ash! A European ash, Fraxinus excelsior, to be exact.
The leaves are opposite and pinnately compound with serrate margins.
The best way to identify an ash is to look at the distinct chocolate chip buds that are pictured above. The genus identification is easy, but the species identification is where you might get a little fuzzy. Ash seeds and leaves can sometimes be used medicinally to bring down fevers and potentially cure jaundice, among tons of other health benefits.
This here is the Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia.
This annual flower is a great choice for attracting many kinds of pollinators, including birds, bumblebees, syrphid flies, and monarch butterflies. It can show varieties of yellow, orange, and sometimes red coloring depending on the cultivar. Another interesting thing too is that deer are not even remotely interested in this flower, so it could be used as a deterrent if planted correctly.
This one was sniffed out from the help of my puppy, he loves finding anything he’s not supposed to have in his mouth. If I had a picture of his jaws around an entire one of these, trust me, it would be up here. However, chewing on this plant would have some consequences. This is white snakeroot – Ageratina altissima. It contains a toxic alcohol, and people and animals who consume the plant experience weakness, tremors, and sometimes death. Be careful if you’re out with your furry friends!
This is our first woody vine, moonseed. Menispermum canadense can be characterized by its thickly lobed leaves and the way the vine wraps itself around its support in a tight spiral.
Our second woody vine is Virginia creeper – Parthenocissus quinquefolia (that’s a mouthful). Although it kind of looks like poison ivy, this one is totally okay to touch! (It’s important to note though, that the berries should not be ingested and the leaves can sometimes irritate the skin.) This guy has palmately compound leaves with 5 leaflets that turn a really pretty reddish-purple in the fall.
In addition to the 5 leaflet distinction, Virginia creeper also has little tendrils that grow along the vine. On the end of the tendrils are little suckers that the plant uses to grab on and climb up whatever it it using for support – which can be anything from trees to houses to fences to, well, you get the point.
Last but not least, here is the poison ivy identification crash course you’ve been “staying tuned” for. I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “leaves of three, let it be.” If that doesn’t quite do it for you, you can look at the wonky margins on this guy. A lot of the time the side leaflets will be serrated on one side, and the other side will be completely smooth! It can grow upwards (a lot taller than one might think) or just as a single plant that hangs out on the ground.
The roots are the area that people may be less familiar with. They can attach themselves to trees and make their way up, exposing these hairy-looking guys – beware though, the roots may not always have this fuzzy look to them.
And if I wasn’t completely clear – DON’T TOUCH IT.
Thanks for reading a little bit about some of the plants in Whetstone Park – there will surely be more to come!