Introduction to Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

 

The site I chose to explore is Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. It is the largest metro park in the state of Ohio, covering approximately 7,500 acres of land. The park is a very long park, running along approximately 13 miles of the Little and Big Darby Creek. There is a variety of habitats found in this metro park. There are restored prairies and wetlands, woodlands, and ravines. This means there are a variety of plants and animals that are found here (info from: Metro Parks).

Below is the park map. The areas I explored were the trails around the nature center, Indian Ridge, and Cedar Ridge. The trails I explored include the Riffle Trail, Cobshell Trail, Hawthorn Trail, Terrace Trail, and the Darby Creek Greenway Trail between the Nature Center and Cedar Ridge.

A map of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, Obtained from the park website: http://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/battelle-darby-creek/park-map/

 

There are many tree species found within this park. You can look at many of them on the Trees page of this blog. Here are two more…

 

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch Hazel tree leaves at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

 

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

In my opinion, the bark of this tree has the look of “burnt cornflakes”.  The fruit of this cherry is edible and is eaten by a variety of wildlife, like deer, birds, raccoons, and black bears. The bark, leaves (especially the wilted ones), and twigs of the tree are poisonous to most livestock, but deer can eat them (facts from: University of Kentucky – Department of Horticulture).

Bark of a Black Cherry tree. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on 5/25/2018.

 

There are many shrubs and woody vines found in the park, here are two of them…

 

Arrow-wood (Viburnum dentatum)

Arrow wood shrub. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on 5/25/2018.

 

Wild Grape Vine (Vitis riparia)

This woody vine has many edible parts. The fruit, the grape, can be eaten and tastes the best after the first frost. The leaves are also edible. Both the berry and the leaves can be frozen and used all winter (facts from: Edible Wild Foods).

A Wild Grape Vine found at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Photo taken on 5/25/2018.

 

We also learned about many plant families. Here are two plants I found that are in those families…

 

Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea)

Family: Asteraceae

Golden Ragwort plant found at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Photo taken on 5/25/2018.

 

Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)

Family: Rosaceae

This plant is an invasive plant originating from Asia and was first imported as root-stock for hybrid tea. Later it was used for erosion control (which was later proved ineffective) and property boundaries. It has since spread and become a major issue (facts from: Minnesota Wildflowers).

Multiflora Rose. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on 5/25/2018.

 

If you go through these woods, you must also be aware of this plant…

 

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

Being able to identify poison ivy is very important, as it is found everywhere. It can be in the form of either a shrub or a vine. There is an old saying, “Leaves of three, let it be”, and this holds true for poison ivy. The plant has a leaf cluster of three, normally with a large leaf in the center and two smaller ones on the sides. The leaves can be either notched or smooth with pointed tips. The color of this plant is green in the summer and a red to orange in the fall and spring. There is another saying, “Hairy vine, no friend of mine.” As a vine, poison ivy seems to be covered in “hairs”, which are the roots. Poison Ivy also grows berries, which are a white to cream color.

Poison Ivy plant. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park at 5/25/2018.

 

Flowers and Fruits

First, lets look at 3 flowering plants found inside the park…

 

Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)

Family: Boraginaceae

This flower is a perennial plant with alternate leaves. The flower is a white to pink color and is radially symmetrical. The flower has 5 regular parts. It has a superior ovary and no hypanthium, meaning it is hypogyngous. The petals and sepals are not fused to one another. The flower has two fused carpels, meaning it has a syncarpous gynoecium. The inflorescence is a cyme of 8 to 20 stalked flowers. This plant can be found on moist woodland and floodplains. It also prefers partial shade (facts from: Minnesota Wildflowers).

Virginia Waterleaf flowering plant. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on 5/25/2018.

 

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Family: Geraniaceae

This flower is a perennial plant with opposite palmately-lobed leaves. It has flowers that are a pink to purple color with a yellow center. The flower shows radial symmetry and 5 regular parts. The pistel is made up of 5 fused carpels, meaning it has a syncarpous gynoecium. This flower is also hypogyngous, as there is no hypanthium. The inflorescence is in a loose cluster on the stem above the leaves. The flower prefers partial shade to complete shade and can be found in woodlands and woodland edges (facts from: Minnesota Wildflowers).

A Wild Geranium flowering plant. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

 

Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata)

Family: Polemoniaceae

This flower is a perennial plant with opposite, hairy leaves. The flower has 5 regular parts and is a blue/purple color. The petals are fused at their base and displays radial symmetry. The flower has a superior ovary and lacks a hypanthium, making it hypogynous. This flower also has multiple fused carpels, meaning it has a syncarpous gynoecium type. The inflorescence on this plant is a compact cyme, sometimes being paniculate. This plant prefers partial shade and is normally found in rich woodland (facts from: Minnesota Wildflowers).

A Blue Phlox flowering plant. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

 

Now lets look at 3 fruiting plants found within in the park…

 

Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Fruit Type: Nut

This tree has simple leaves and a unique fruit, which is an acorn. The acorn is the largest of all in the oak family and looks like it is wearing a “fuzzy cap”. The flower of this tree has radial symmetry and has no hypanthium but has an inferior ovary, making it epigynous. This flower has one pistil and multiple stamens. The sepals are fused to each other. This plant also has multiple fused carpels, making it syncarpous gynoecium type. The inflorescence of this plant is a ament. This plant is very tolerant of droughts and can be found in both dry and wet environments (facts from: Go Botany).

The fruit (acorn) from a Burr Oak. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

 

Crested Sedge (Carex cristatella)

Fruit Type: Achene

This plant is a sedge. This plant has a spike inflorescence. The flower of the sedge is a perigynium with white or brown scales. The perygynium is elliptic and ovate. The very top spike has both carpellate and staminate flowers. The perygynium is also winged. This sedge is found in a variety of habitats, including marshes, meadows, share of freshwater bodies, swamps, and fields (facts from: Go Botany).

Crested Sedge achene. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on 5/25/2018.

 

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Fruit Type: Berry

This plant can have either alternate or opposite simple leaves. The flower is a white or pink color. It has radial symmetry and 6 regular parts. The petals and sepals are not fused. The flower has a superior ovary and lacks a hypanthium, making it hypogynous. It has one carpel, which means it is a unicarpellate. The inflorescence is a sing flower on a stalk above an axil with two leaves. The fruits on this plant is edible, but the rest is poisonous (facts from: Go Botany).

A Mayapple plant with a berry fruit. Photo taken at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on 5/25/2018.

 

 Cryptogams

 

Crumpled Rag Lichen (Platismatia tuckermanii)

Crumpled Rag Lichen found at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Photo taken on 5/25/2018.

 

Star Moss (Tortula ruralis)

Star Moss found at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Photo taken on 5/25/2018.

 

Common Greenshield Lichen (Flavoparmelia caperata)

A Common Greenshield Lichen on a tree at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Photo taken on 5/28/2018.