Introduction to the Site

The Indian Village Camp holds a special place in my heart due to its entanglement in my childhood memories, namely, that it was my family’s secret sledding hill. The site has been open since 1927  under the control of the Columbus Recreation and Parks and is one of its sites for outdoor education for underserved communities. It is fairly hilly in its topographical layout and is densely packed with a plethora of plant life. It is right off of the Scioto River and also features a few small caves that are often used to allow children to get some experience in caves without the daunting size that comes with other larger cave networks. Having a reason to go back to this site for the first time in over a decade was a treat.

https://www.columbus.gov/Templates/Detail.aspx?id=30738

Poison Ivy

The infamous scrub known as poison ivy or Toxicodendron radicans to botanists is pictured below. It is best identified by the adage “leaves of three, leave them be” because of its trifoliate leaf complexity. It can also be spotted by its remarkably adherent rootlets that coat its rope-like vine that it can use to attach to trees. They also have these white fruits known as drupes that are often mistaken for berries, these characteristics make spotting this scrub easier, especially with its sap being able to produce severe skin redness and the awful itching among other dreaded signs.

Flowers and Inflorescences

This is Philadelphia fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus), it is a radially symmetrical wildflower. It has over 40 flower petals arranged around a central yellow disk and has a head inflorescence. Its relative insertion is hypogynous with a syncarpous gynoecium. Its fruits are achene, the same fruit type as the delicious sunflower seed. Its leaves are basal, alternate, arrowhead-shaped, and toothed. I spotted this at the edge of the field just opposite McKnight Outdoor Education Center, where the grass meets the treeline.

This is Butterweed (Packera glabella), similar to the Philadelphia fleabane, it is a radially symmetrical wildflower. It has around 12 flower petals encircling a central yellow disk and panicle inflorescence. Its relative insertion is hypogynous with a syncarpous gynoecium, just as its fellow Asteraceae is above. Its fruits are achene, the same fruit type as the delicious sunflower seed, just like Philadelphia fleabane is. Its leaves are broad, basal, opposite, and pinnately compound. Its leaflets are broad, deeply lobed, and serrated. I spotted this near the Philadelphia fleabane.

This is ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea), it is part of the Lamiaceae family. It is an irregular, zygomorphic, invasive weed with fused petals. Its petals are lavender and they surround a gynoecium with two fused carpels, making it a syncarpous gynoecium. Its relative insertion is hypogynous. Its fruits are schizocarp, therefore they split into two or more separate parts with one seed per slice. Its leaves are broad, kidney-shaped, opposite, and simple. I spotted this flower around the same region as the two above.

This is Striped cream violet (Viola striata), it is part of the Violaceae family. It is a radially symmetrical, native wildflower. It has around five petals that are white and they surround a syncarpous gynoecium with three carpals. Its relative insertion appears hypogynous. Its fruits are schizocarp, therefore they split into two or more separate parts with one seed per slice. Its leaves are broad, cordate, alternate, and simple with serrations. I spotted this flower around the same region as the three preceding it.

Invasive Plants

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) is a deciduous shrub capable of reaching up to 15 feet when fully mature. It was quite plentiful on sight, popping up roughly >20 times during the course of my survey.  Its leaves are dark green and are oppositely arranged with characteristic sharp-pointed tips. The Amur Honeysuckle is from East Asia originally, specifically China, the furthermost east region of Russia,  Korea, and Japan. They arrived in the United States in the late 1800s with their fellow honeysuckle sibling: Morrows. Amur Honeysuckle is well at home at the forest’s edge where it gets just enough shade. Grazing or disturbing the woods leaves them vulnerable to honeysuckle settlement. Soil pH preference of Amur Honeysuckle leans toward limestone-based areas. What makes them harmful is how much fruit they produce, their fruit brings in birds much more effectively and those seeds are then spread. They also can rapidly grow back in the case of cut stems. Methods of control include simple hand removal of seedlings or young plants, though this is only effective with small populations and this can also lead to disturbance of soil, which may make the efforts fruitless.  Largescale action requires either controlled burning or selective herbicide usage to ensure the plant is gone. It is recommended to cut the stems to ground level first, however.

The next invasive species is the previously mentioned ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea). It was introduced in the 1800s from Eurasia as a form of medicine or for ornamental use. It was initially cultivated in small quantities in settler gardens but managed to disperse into the local ecosystem and spread. It can occur in a variety of places, with it occurring around floodplain forests and upland forests most frequently. It is most threatening when in shady areas, because spreads well under the forest canopy. In Ohio specifically, its effects on turf uniformity are considerable. Control methods, though coming from turfgrass maintenance, may still find use in the wild. The turfgrass maintenance industry has utilized competitive grass species to curtail ground-ivy growth, as well as tedious lawncare with rakes during rainy days. No physical, chemical, or other biological methods of eradication have been discovered beyond this.

https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=3026

The common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is another invasive species of woody scrubs that is capable of reaching heights of 20 feet. Like ground-ivy, common buckthorn was introduced via settlers from Eurasia for ornamental shrub use due to how hardy and adaptive it was. They grow best in wetlands, but can also be found on woodland edges, as is the case at my site. Their threat to local forest growth comes from how dense they grow, while also being evenly aged. This crowds the area and leaves little room for native shrubs and herbs to exist. Mechanical control methods rely on either yanking the young plants up from the root or controlled burns every 3-5 years to limit growth. No biological methods have been found but selective herbicide application has been shown to be remarkably effective.

The purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) is considered to be one of the most invasive species in the world with it appearing everywhere from Maori territory to the United States, and more importantly, Ohio. It is a smooth, erect sedge that has the troubling ability to exist in a wide variety of pH levels, soil moisture, soil type, and other aspects. They squeeze out competing grasses and are generally a threat to most ecosystems that they settle in. Treatments that have been shown to be effective include the use of shallow tillage to prevent them from being able to multiply their tuber. Plastic mulch has shown use in acting as an effective physical barrier to purple nutsedge’s roots. Useful chemicals include glyphosate or paraquat for nonselective herbicide usage. Biological methods have not worked very well, aside from the usage of the fungus Dactylaria higginsii to curtail growth. Also, the usage of allelopathic plants such as those in the Brassicaceae family has proven effective at suppressing weed growth. Lastly, the usage of methyl bromide has proven remarkably effective at managing the growth of purple nutsedge.

http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1448#:~:text=Cyperus%20rotundus%20(purple%20nutsedge)%20is,and%20reproduce%20during%20adverse%20conditions.

Woody Plant Fruits Identification

Blackhaw (Virburnum prunifolium) was the only fruiting tree or shrub that I was able to find and they were immature. They are a shade of dark blue when they mature but to identify them, you have to notice the red stems that the clusters of berries are hanging from. They are drupes, that are recognizable by their fleshy exterior.

https://wildfoods4wildlife.com/monographs/blackhaw/

Mosses and Lichen