Part I: Battelle Darby Metro Park (wetland and woodland lime-loving plants)
1. The western part of Ohio is underlain by limestone – a rock type that is relatively nonresistant in humid climates. The western part of Ohio has been eroded in comparison to a flat landscape due to the erosion of these limestone rocks beginning ~200 million years ago. The eastern part of Ohio is underlain by sandstone – a rock type that is relatively resistant and underlain by shale to the west and throughout the Cleveland region. The erosion of these of sandstone rocks is accomplished through the dissolution of natural cement that holds the grains together by water seeping down through the rock. Even though water readily seeps through the sandstone, the dissolution of the cement occurs over long periods of time, making it quite difficult to erode. Shale is less resistant in comparison – it has been eroded to low plains in most areas except in protected regions via the sandstone. Due to this, the erosion in eastern Ohio has only been successful in creating deep valleys, but unsuccessful in the erosion of the intervening higher land–forming steep sandstone hills or sandstone-capped hills in the Cleveland region.
2. The original horizontal sequence of sedimentary rock strata in Ohio was a thick series of limestone layers overlain by shales which were in turn overlain by sandstones. This caused a gentle tilt into the form of a low arch prior to erosion. This arch was the result of the pressures that began 200 million years ago, at the end of the Paleozoic Era, that formed the original Appalachian Mountains to the east. The erosion afterwards cut deepest at the highest point of the arch, which exposed the oldest rocks along it crest that extents north-south through western Ohio. The oldest rocks, limestones, are found throughout western Ohio and nonresistant. This resulted in the erosion of that region to a nearly flat plain. Further in the east away from the crest of the arch are the youngest rock layers, the resistant sandstones, which were not removed. The erosion cut deeply into the rock strata but was not completely eroded–resulting in the sandstone hills that are a trademark of this region. The sandstone is underlain by shale in the Cleveland region, where flat-topped uplands are held up by sandstone and alternated with deep steep-sided valleys cut into the underlain shale. This erosion of all the limestone in western Ohio and the shale and sandstone in eastern Ohio was accomplished via the preglacial stream, the Teays River, whose presence has been known in Ohio for ~200 million years. It eroded the land for an extended period of time until it was curtailed by the advancement of glaciers of the Ice Age/Pleistocene Epoch less than one million years ago.
3. When the Pleiostocene glaciers invaded Ohio only a few hundred thousand years ago, they were greatly slowed down by the steep-sided sandstone hills of eastern Ohio. Therefore, the glacial boundary there is no farther south than the latitude of Canton. Conversely, the broad limestone plains of western Ohio had no hindrance to the advancement of the ice, so it extended as far south as northern Kentucky,
4. Deposition via the glacier was two-fold: 1) an unsorted mix of sand, silt, clay, and boulders called till accumulated directly by the melting of ice, and 2) the sand and gravel materials deposited by the glacial meltwater. Till is a broad, continuous blanket over almost all of glaciated Ohio. Conversely, sand and gravel deposits are local features that occur only in a single river valley or composing a single hill. In western Ohio, the glacial till is rich in lime and clay–which are products of the glacial abrasion of the limestone bedrock. In eastern Ohio, the till contains little lime and clay. near the margins of the area of sandstone ills, the till is higher in both lime and clay than it is elsewhere in eastern Ohio.
5. On the plains of western Ohio, the substrate most common is limey, clayey till, which provides a relatively impermeable soil that is high in lime but poorly drained and not well aerated. On the soil here, water does not penetrate quickly, but tends to remain on the surface–creating low oxygen availability during wet periods, and bad drouths during dry periods. The supply of plant nutrients in this area is quite abundant. Where the glacial till is thin or missing, a local condition, the soil on the limestone is very shallow, very high in lime, rich but not too thin, and dry due to the excessive drainage through the cavelets in the soluble limestone. In eastern Ohio, the sandstone bedrock is very permeable. Where it is exposed, a very acidic, low-nutrient substrate is especially dry on hilltops. The sandstone crops out at lower elevations locally, and though it is acidic, it provides a supply of moisture that is continuously available and cool because the spring water has been percolated down through the permeable sandstone and emerged deep in the valleys without warming via the sun. The shale present under the sandstone in some areas produces a generally acidic low-nutrient substrate. Unlike sandstone, it is impermeable. As a result, surface water tends to run off rather than soak in, which makes it an especially drouthy substrate during prolonged dry spells. Shale within limestone causes cool acid water to move down through the sandstone, and cannot extend deeper and emerges on the hillsides as springs. Where the sandstone is mantled by till, the amounts of clay and lime in the till are less acid, moister, and more nutrient-rich in the soils. The till near the margins of the sandstone area has greater amounts of both clay and lime, which results in substrates similar to that of the till of western Ohio.
6. 1) redbud (Ceriscanadensis), 2) sedge (Curex eburnea), 3) fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), 4) herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), 5) nodding thistle (Carduus nutans)
7. 1) sugar maple (Acer saccharum), 2) beech (Fagus grandifolia), 3) red oak (Quercus borealis), 4) shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), 5) white oak (Quercus alba)
8. 1) chestnut oak (Quercus montanta), 2) mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), 3) pink ladies’ slipper (Cypripedium acaule), 4) hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), 5) hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
9. Sweet buckeye does not occur anywhere inside the glacial boundary, which restrictions in distributions are unknown but may have to do with the problems of repopulations by these plants of the clayey, high lime glacial tills in the short time since the ice has left Ohio. The reason the plant does not extend even as far north as the glacial boundary in eastern Ohio is also unclear but is perhaps due to the climate, for no geologic discontinuity is known along the edge of its distribution, Hemlock is also present in unglaciated eastern Ohio, but its distribution extends far north of the glacial boundary of that area. The reason for this extensive distribution appears to be its restriction to continuously cool, moist environments found in the bottom of deep valleys cut into the sandstone and watered by cool spring water in the south, or occur in valleys in the north which have some till but are cool and moist despite being deep and open to the north. The cool moist north valleys are adequate for hemlock to be present. The contrast in the distribution of a plant restricted to unglaciated areas (sweet buckeye) and a plant occupying moist valley-bottom sites in sandstone (hemlock) is demonstrated in the distribution of the two species. Rhododendron is a plant species present south of the glacial boundary whose distribution may suggest that they belonged to the mixed mesophytic association in Ohio. Only when its distribution is compared with the location of the valleys in the ancient Teays system does an explanation occur. The species represents one of several that live and still live in the Appalachian highlands and which also migrated down through the preglacial Teays River system from that area north into southern Ohio. The glacial advance blocked the river drainage and destroyed most of its valleys in Ohio, but the plants were determined by this avenue of migration living south of the glacial boundary and near the main valleys of the ancient river.
Part II: Cedar Bog (that isn’t a bog)
1. The Cedar Bog valley is similar to a hose filled with water and is U-shaped. If a hole was punched at the top of the curve, water comes bubbling up. The Cedar Bog wetlands are similar to a leak in the hose. Cedar Bog isn’t actually a bog. “Bogs clog, fens flush.” It is a northern arbor vitae bog in which plant species native to the bogs of northern Michigan are found, Water reaches Cedar Bog by surface runoff from nearby uplands, groundwater filtering through gravel left by moraines, and deep groundwater following a buried Teays River Valley that contained glacial sand and gravel. Cedar Bog is a fen left behind by the glaciers. A fen has water that enters as rain and through springs. Small strains drain fens and flush the system. Groundwater contains dissolved limestone, which makes the water alkaline to neutral and clear, and home to sedges, The cold groundwater was forced to the surface at the low spot in the valley, helping form the unique habitats of Cedar Bog.
2. Scavenger assignment: 2 plants with fruits
Pokeweed (Phytolacca decandra) – To recognize pokeweed, you can spot their magenta-colored plant stems and showy purple-black berries. Pokeweed is also known as nightshade, which has historically. been documented to be one of the most dangerous plants to both humans and wildlife. They were used medicinally by native groups and European settlers in the Southeast after steeping the pokeweed roots to make a tea-like brew to soak aching joints, or as a topical poultice for skin ailments.
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)- To recognize spicebush, you can spot their brightly colored oblong, shiny red berries. The whole plant is noticeable spicy smelling, whether it be through crushed berries, leaves, or scratched twigs. The leaves are alternate, smooth, and heavily branched. Historically, spicebush berries were used in the American Revolution as a substitute for allspice. Early American settlers used dried spicebush bark in place of cinnamon.
3. Conservative plants
1. Shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) – CC value of 8
2. Swamp birch (Betula alleghaniesis)- CC value of 10
3. Swamp thistle (Cirsium muticum) – CC value of 8
4. Swamp goldenrod (Solidago uliginosa) – CC value of 9