American Elm

  1. Ulmus americana
  2. Identification features
    1. Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
    2. Leaf Complexity: Simple
    3. Leaf Margin: Serate (double-toothed with unequal bases)
    4. Bark: light to dark gray, irregularly ridged with deep furrows (the bark is characterized with alternating dark and light layers when viewed in cross section).
  3. Location
    1. Site: Alum Creek Park North
    2. Habitat: Riparian Forest
  4. Fun Fact
    1. “The wood of Americana elm is light in color, heavy, hard, strong and tough with interlocked grain. It was used for veneer, boxes, crates, barrel staves, and furniture parts.” (https://naturalresources.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/iowa_trees/trees/american_elm.html)
  5. Gabriel Popkin Tribute:
    1. As an avid fungal forager, the American Elm holds a special place in my heart.  The American elm was the first tree I learned how to ID because it is a likely host for the famous morel mushroom.  Morel mushrooms form a mycorrhizal relationship with the root systems of American Elms, so if you can find and identify American Elms you may be rewarded with a delicious crop of mushrooms in early spring.

 

Box Elder

  1. Acer negundo
  2. Identification features
    1. Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
    2. Leaf Complexity: Pinnately Compound
    3. Leaf Margin: Lobed (irregularly)
    4. Bark: light brown when young, but becomes grayish-brown and deeply grooved upon maturity.
  3. Location
    1. Site: Alum Creek Park North
    2. Habitat: Riparian Forest
  4. Fun Fact
    1. “Box-elder is a relatively short-lived tree, typically reaching 60 (rarely 100) years of age. It is fast growing when it is young (the first 15 – 20 years).” (http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/forest/htmls/trees/A-negundo.html)
  5. Gabriel Popkin Tribute:
    1. I have had several internships throughout my time in college sampling the fish communities in streams.  In doing so I have adventured through many riparian forests and have walked through countless Box Elders overhanging the streams.  At a very brief glimpse Box Elder leaflets can be mistaken for Poison Ivy.  Due to the similarity of the “leaf” structure of the plants, I have been guilty of panicking after walking through the branches of a Box Elder thinking that “I’m going to be completely covered in Poison Ivy welts”.

 

Black Walnut

  1. Juglans nigra
  2. Identification features
    1. Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
    2. Leaf Complexity: Pinnately Compound
    3. Leaf Margin: Serate (Fine)
    4. Bark: flaky when young, but usually becomes ridged and deeply furrowed with age, forming a diamondback pattern as the ridges interlace.
  3. Location
    1. Site: Alum Creek Park North
    2. Habitat: Riparian Forest
  4. Fun Fact
    1. “Its beautiful, fine-grained, chocolate-brown, relatively lightweight heartwood is the ultimate choice for making solid wood furniture, interior trim, gunstocks, and high-quality veneer.” (http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/walnut)
  5. Gabriel Popkin Tribute:
    1. Most of the produce consumed in my household comes from the massive quasi homestead sized garden my family has out back.  In our early years of gardening my family and I noticed that all of the plants on the south end of our garden failed to produce much of anything for us and would often die before the end of the growing season.  We had always assumed that the shade from the big Black Walnut tree was the culprit.  Upon further investigation we came to discover that  allelopathy from  the Black Walnut tree was culprit to the yearly failures on that end of the garden!

 

Hackberry

  1. Celtis occidentalis
  2. Identification features
    1. Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
    2. Leaf Complexity: Simple
    3. Leaf Margin: Serate (unequal bases)
    4. Bark:  warty, light gray; the “warts” are actually projections of cork. With age, the lower portion of the trunk becomes platy.
  3. Location
    1. Site: Alum Creek Park North
    2. Habitat: Riparian Forest
  4. Fun Fact
    1. “When the wood of Hackberry is cut or split, it is the most white-colored of any common hardwood.” (http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/hackberry)
  5. Gabriel Popkin Tribute:
    1. The Hackberry tree is a wonderful site to behold in the fall.  Although the leaves are rather lack luster throughout the autumnal color change, the berries it produces attract a myriad of colorful songbirds to make up for its uneventful colors.  My favorite deer stand is hung in a massive Hackberry tree, so often times when I’m waiting for deer to come by I have the opportunity to watch birds.  In one single morning last archery season I counted 18 species of song birds that came to forage upon its berries (including my favorite bird, the Scarlet Tanager).

 

Eastern Cottonwood

  1. Populus deltoides
  2. Identification features
    1. Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
    2. Leaf Complexity: Simple
    3. Leaf Margin: Serate (very coarsely toothed)
    4. Bark:  ash- grey, blocky, thick, with deep furrows and ridges.
  3. Location
    1. Site: Alum Creek Park North
    2. Habitat: Riparian Forest
  4. Fun Fact
    1. “Native Americans used the cottonwood to make lodge poles and to start fires. The shape of the teepee is thought to be fashioned after the shape of the cottonwood leaf.” (https://www.lakeforest.edu/academics/programs/environmental/courses/es203/populus_deltoides.php)
  5. Gabriel Popkin Tribute:
    1. The Eastern Cottonwood, or as we called them as kids “rope swing trees”.  I spent my entire childhood running through the forest and fishing in the creek near our house.  As most young boys do, my friends and I made it goal to act as recklessly as possible.  Shenanigans of all shapes and sizes took place down at the creek but one particular shenanigan takes the cake.  The ultimate shenanigan was the creation of our massive rope swing tied to the biggest Eastern Cottonwood I have seen (pictured above – rope has since been removed from the lowest branch).  We constructed a ladder out of logs and grape vines to help us climb to the lowest branch where we tied our rope.  Once we had gotten the rope in place we became our very own circus olay. We performed such extreme aerial stunts that to this day, a pact has been sworn to never disclose stories of the swing to our parents.

 

Pawpaw

  1. Asimina triloba
  2. Identification features
    1. Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
    2. Leaf Complexity: Simple
    3. Leaf Margin: Entire (obovate in shape)
    4. Bark:  smooth, thin, gray bark becomes more warty and rough with increasing trunk girth.
  3. Location
    1. Site: Alum Creek Park North
    2. Habitat: Riparian Forest
  4. Fun Fact
    1. “One tree often gives rise over the course of decades to a sprawling colony via its root system, which suckers several feet away from the parent tree.” (http://forestry.ohiodnr.gov/pawpaw)
  5. Gabriel Popkin Tribute:
    1. One late September morning I was the first of my friends to arrive at the fort we made at the creek that acted as our central hub for outdoorsy shenanigans.  Being that it was only 7 a.m. and I had skipped breakfast to enjoy the early morning fishing, you could only imagine that as a 14 year old, I was famished.  While I was fishing I noticed a peculiar fruit floating down the creek.  As any aspiring naturalist would do, I picked it up to examine it. Upon my examination of the fruit I noticed that it smelled a lot like a banana! At this point the only option was to find the source of the floating fruit.  As I made my way upstream I found what I now know to be a Pawpaw tree, limbs sagging with the mystery fruit.  I picked and ate my first ever pawpaw not knowing anything about them, and I loved it (cave men ate mystery meals all the time, why couldn’t I?).

 

Bitternut Hickory

  1. Carya cordiformis
  2. Identification features
    1. Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
    2. Leaf Complexity: Pinnately Compound (7-11 leaflets)
    3. Leaf Margin: Serate
    4. Bark: made up of very fine plate like scales.
  3. Location
    1. Site: Alum Creek Park North
    2. Habitat: Riparian Forest
  4. Fun Fact
    1. “The Latin name “cordiformis” refers to the heart-shaped leaves. ” (http://www.museum.state.il.us/muslink/forest/htmls/trees/C-cordiformis.html)
  5. Gabriel Popkin Tribute:
    1. In the world of squirrel hunting there are both good and bad trees to know.  Some trees that I know squirrels love to forage from include: White Oak, Bur Oak, and Shagbark Hickory.  One tree in particular sits at the top of my bad list, that being the Bitternut Hickory.  When hunting public land for squirrels, I spend a lot of time roaming, looking for trees that produce nuts that the squirrels love to eat.  If I happen to find myself in a forest full of Bitternut Hickory, I won’t find any squirrels to hunt.  Turns out the name holds true for this particular species, even the squirrels think the nuts are too bitter.

 

Ohio Buckeye

  1. Aesculus glabra
  2. Identification features
    1. Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
    2. Leaf Complexity: Palmaely Compound
    3. Leaf Margin: Serate
    4. Bark: light gray to light brown, and develops more prominent fissures and long plates with age
  3. Location
    1. Site: Alum Creek Park North
    2. Habitat: Riparian Forest
  4. Fun Fact
    1. “the tree is called the buckeye because its nuts resemble the shape and color of a deer’s eye.” (http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Ohio%27s_State_Tree_-_Buckeye)
  5. Gabriel Popkin Tribute:
    1. My school is named after this nut.  How depressing is that? The mascot of the school at which I dropped ~$40,000 to attend is a nut. As unlikely as it seems, having a nut as your school mascot can have some lucrative perks.  Here is a quick tip to make a quick buck.  In early September, grab a 5 gallon bucket and take an afternoon and stroll through a riparian forest.  At some point you are bound to stumble across an Ohio Buckeye.  At this time of year the tree as dropped most if not all of its fruit which will be ripe for the taking. Collect as many buckeyes as you can, take them home, drill holes through them and make necklaces (20-30 buckeyes should do).  Stand outside the Shoe and sell your necklaces for 10 dollars  a piece and I can almost guarantee that you’ll leave with over 100 dollars in your pocket.