Overbrook Ravine Park is located in Clintonville, just outside of Columbus. This park features gorgeous ravines that cascade shale into Adena brook below. Pathways wind along Adena brook beneath the understory of the trees. Older and larger trees tend to be pretty spaced out from eachother, which allows a thick understory to grow in the dappled sunlight.
Overbrook Ravine park boasts a vast size and age collection of Hackberry trees or Celtis occidentalis. An easy way to tell these trees apart from the other woody giants in this ravine, is their curly edged almost looks like it is dripping down the trunk bark. Leaves are shaped like hearts, toothed, and are rough to the touch. According to eattheplanet.org, Hackberry fruits are edible. The nuts inside the fruit can actually be ground up and mixed with water to make hackberry milk, what if this were the next ‘milk’ trend of the nation?!
Tilia Americana or the American Basswood has flat topped bark and thin furrow running along the bark that don’t interlace. Rides run straight up and down this tree. Leaves of this giant are heart shaped and cerated all the way to the bass of the leaf (Peterson). The young branches of this tree have stringy inner bark that Native Americans used to make rope out of (https://www.gardenguides.com/116300-basswood-tree.html) .
Shrub and Woody Vine Observations
Oh, the infamous invasive! Lonicera maackii was found in the understory of the canopy in Overbrook Ravine Park. Their leaf blades are tapered at the tip and rounded at the base and tend to be placed oppositely from one another. During the fall many red berries appear along its branches (Peterson). Interestingly, many times when there is one Honeysuckle there are millions, that wasn’t the case in the ravine, for the most part it looked like they were pretty well managed.
This particular Fortunes Spindle or Euonymus fortunei was the largest winter creeper I have ever seen. This woody vine was seen growing up the trunk of a massive tree in Overbrook Ravine. Fortunes spindle has emerald jade leaves and is also distinguishable by its berries it grows in late fall (Peterson).
While Snakeroot or Ageratina altissima and is in the family Asteraceae. This Snakeroot was found growing mostly along the edges of pathways, not too many were found growing in the deep understory (Peterson). The White Snakeroot has heart shaped leaves and very thin petioles. It’s blooms were made up of bunches of minuscule white flowers. The smoke from the burning leaves of this plant was once used to revive unconscious people. http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/medicinal_plants/pages/White_Snakeroot.html.
This beautiful bright yellow flower is known as Yellow Wingstem or Actinomeris aternifolia. Wingstem’s have alternate leaves that are winglike near the stem of the flower. The corolla ranged from anywhere from 2 to 6 flowers (which could have ben thanks to the wind) and consisted of round smooth petals (Peterson). The leaves of this plant have been ground up and applied externally to be used as joint pain (https://sacredessences.com/wingstem/).
This sneaky little plant can come in many forms, whether its a small plant being shaded on the forest floor, or a giant woody and hairy vine winding its way up a tree, one thing is for sure…LEAVES OF THREE LET IT BE!! Toxicodendron radiicans produces a skin irritating oil that can create blisters and travel through your bloodstream to make you itch for hours on end (Peterson).
Petrides, George A. A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1972.
Peterson, Roger Tory, and Margaret McKenny. A Field Guide to Wildflowers: Northeastern and North-central North America. Houghton Mifflin, 1998.