The tree page from Nick Norton. The name at the top is a play on my name and a type of tree.

My Coat of Arms: The logo is meant to represent a “broken” brain with butterflies flying out the back of it, because I have ADHD and it’s a huge part of my life and that’s an image that always pops into my head, cuz it kind of means “just because the brain is broken doesn’t mean it doesn’t do beautiful things.” My motto deals with my tendency to enjoy a lot of things, as I have participated in tons of activities throughout my life in sports, academics, the arts, games, etc. I am from Pandora, Ohio, which is a tiny town of 1000 people. I don’t personally have a preference as to which areas of botany I study, but I am more interested in the things that have a unique form of interaction with their environment.

Field Experience Trees:

  1. This is the Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
    1. It is a singularly-occuring, circular-based needle “leaf”
    2. I found the tree in the graveyard off of Olentangy (technically plains?)
    3. Beavers like to build dams with them

  1. This is what I made out to be a spiked hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
    1. The identifying features are the shape and stem of the fruit; the leaves are also rounded shaped with a serrate outside
    2. Sometimes you can eat the young leaves
    3. Olentangy Trail- wetland

  1. This is a mountain maple. (Acer spicatum)
    1.  It is broad-leaved with opposite simple leaves, with a fruit that matches the image
    2. The leaves manufacture the sugar in maple syrup
    3. University village which I can’t imagine is a regular habitat, but if I had to guess, I’d say plains

  1. Red Pine ( Pinus resinosa)
    1. Needles were 2″-4′ in around 5 to a bundle. The cones were 3-10 inches long
      1. The way this tree looks, it does not fully match a description of all of the tree, needles, and cone. It is too short but matches most of the description for red pine
    2. It is used in poles and utility posts
    3. This one was also found at University Village

  1. Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis)
    1. there were 7-9 leaflets per leaf, as I so stupidly covered up with my hand, and the fruit was identical to the picture
    2. Olentangy trail- wetland
    3. The nuts are rarely eaten by anything and it’s more used for shelter

  1. This is a Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
    1. Hairless twigs with single needles and a 4-6 inch, firm-scaled cone
    2. Found in University Village, in the city
    3. These things live for about 300 years!

  1. A quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)
    1. White bark, with a five-lobed alternating leaf and short branches
    2. It grows up to 24 inches per year
    3. This was found in the plants outside “The City” housing. I cannot give much for the habitat other than controlled water intake and Ohio- level heat fluctuation

  1. I believe this to be an American Crabapple (Malus coronaria)
    1. The fruit matches without the stem and the leaves were simple alternating
    2. These things are grown all over the place, and can be eaten off the tree (I know this one myself as I have experienced it)
    3. Found in between walkways at University Village

  1. Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus)
    1. The leaves are alternate-compound, with 11-41 leaflets, not toothed
    2. They are an invasive species and hurt plant growth near them, despite their name;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj/RV=2/RE=1662113136/RO=10/
    3. Found on Olentangy trail- wetlands

I did (and am still doing!) some botanizing in the Olentangy Trail, just on the other side from the Union Cemetery. The site is full of plants! There are a LOT of Amur Honeysuckle throughout the initial stretch from the entrance I used, but then outside of that section is many more! The entirety of the trail will take you from Worthington to downtown Columbus, with all different shades of tree leaves in the fall. It has heads in many of the different parks around the Columbus area, including Olentangy River Parklands, Antrim Park, Whetstone Park, Northmoor Park, Clinton-Como Park, and Tuttle Park. If you go to the website  you’ll find loads of useful information about the park and its history!

We’ll start with the plants by continuing the trees theme.

  1. This is a black walnut tree (Juglans nigra)
    1. Black walnuts are used for inner furnishings, cabinets, and veneers
    2. The nuts are extremely rich in protein!

  1. This is a boxelder maple (Acer negundo)

  1. This is an Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). These were all over the place and I thought they were different plants some of the time, until I looked hard enough.
    1. (Not so) Fun Fact: The berries are poisonous. Please do not eat them.

  1. To my knowledge, this is an American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
    1. It is used in ink and dye
    2. It is also used to make you dye. The seeds within the berries are poisonous, many times the fruit can still be poisonous, even after boiling. Best to just stay away.

  1. I am not yet extremely well-versed in the flowering plants section yet, but I do believe this is a Crownbeard; Possibly a wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia)
    1. Wingstems, specifically yellow ones, are often called Yellow Ironweed, as they resemble the New York Ironweed

  1. This is a White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima). 
    1. In my opinion, this is the prettiest

Bonus: Geese!

In all honesty, I could not find any poison ivy, so I found a picture from the internet under “poison Ivy in Columbus” and I will share a personal story after I mention how to identify it (to avoid!)

  1. generally three leaves
  2. smooth, slightly glossy. Not like some of those trees, that like literally glisten, but glossy
  3. Alternating side shoots

Fun Fact: When I was really little, I was at a T-Ball game, and some friends and I went climbing in an area that we weren’t supposed to by the creek. Long story short, even though we all took the same exact path, all of my friends got poison ivy rashes and I did not.




The geology of Ohio can be divided into two parts: The western part which is underlain with limestone. Due to the “softness” of this kind of rock, the area is flatter, in contrast to the eastern part of Ohio, which has more extreme landscapes, underlain with “tougher” sandstone.

The geology, being the way it is, can be explained by the sedimentary rock strata underneath, being, in order from top to bottom limestone, shale, sandstone. These layers were shaped into a sort of “arch”, with the top of the arch being the Appalachian Mountains, and the lowest part being in the hills around Cleveland. This contributed to the formation of the Teays River. This River has flowed for more than 200 years,  shaping and eroding the land all throughout Ohio, only to be stopped by glaciers during the Ice Age. The advance of said glaciers was halted by the sandstone hills in eastern Ohio.

A glacial till is an unsorted mixture of sand, silt, clay, and boulders, that is accumulated within a glacier. In western Ohio, the till has lots of limestone and clay, while the Eastern has more sandstone and shale.



Batelle Darby and Cedar Bog (that’s not really a bog)

I unfortunately was unable to attend the trip to cedar bog. That does not, however, mean that I will be unable to spout some cool stuff about the site!

This beautiful tree is known as a redbud. This is a small, fragrant tree that is found normally in the south-southwest part of Ohio, which has more limestone, but in the more shallow areas. Unfortunately, the pretty flowers only last for a few weeks.

This plant is known as a nodding thistle. It’s another limestone-centric plant, but it’s technically invasive. I just wanted to put it here because it is featured in my favorite game of all time: Skyrim

This is the Blue Ash. It grows in areas of Ohio with higher amounts of limestone. It also grows all around Kentucky as well. It can survive poor conditions and things like drought, which makes it a good tree to grow if you live out in the countryside. Despite this, they’ve run into trouble with emerald ash borers, which eat the “meat” of the tree away beneath the bark.

This is the chinquapin oak tree. It differs from other oak trees in that it has leaves that are toothed, as opposed to lobed, like most other oaks.

Sandstone Plants

There are also plants that grow more towards the sandstone/shale end of the deal. These plants include (but are certainly not limited to) the following:

Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana)

Pitch Pine (Pinus ridida)


mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Greenbrier (smilax glauca)

Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata)

The Sweet Buckeye and the Hemlock both are found in mostly glaciated areas. However, the sweet buckeye remains in the southern portion, likely due to the tree’s inability to repopulate in the soil around the glacial barrier. Hemlock, on the other hand, extends much farther north, due likely to the cool, moist temperatures found at the bottoms of deep valleys. Rhododendron grow where the Teays river system used to be, but got blocked off by glaciers.

The Cedar Bog valley was created in between the walls made by two glaciers. The valley created allowed sand and limestone to fill in, Both of these hold water, allowing for cold groundwater to build up underneath the surface, draining things like lakes and ponds through a gravel “filter” and allowing for a “cleaner” bottom as well as some unique foliage.

This flower is known as a dog violet. It is a plant that is bilaterally symmetrical. You can recognize them by their size (around 15cm), color (violet- imagine!), and leaves (heart-shaped and dark green). These are unscented, despite having a genetic relative known as the Sweet Violet, which was used as a perfume in Ancient Greece

Another flower with bilateral symmetry is the bee orchid. You can recognize it by the face that it well… it looks like this. For starters, it looks like it has a bee on it already. You can also recognize it by the array of leaves that grow at the bottom, as well as the two that grow part was up the stem to act as a sort of sheath. It used to be called the Humble bee orchid. Humble, in this case, was used as a variation of bumble.

Here are some plants with CC values of 10 or greater, according to the Ohio FQAI:

Lake Cress (Armoracia lacustris) has a CC value of 10

Three-Leaf Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum trifolium) has another CC value of 10

Fen Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia glauca) has a CC value of 10

Bluebell/Hairbell/Scottish Bellflower ( Campanula rotundifolia)




Furthering Our Knowledge of Olentangy Trail

List of plants (in reverse order of which I found them) (FQA SCORE= 17)
  1. Calico Aster (Symphotrichum lateriflorum)- CC= 2
  2. Smooth Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) –  CC= 7
  3. Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) – CC=1
  4. Devil’s beggarticks (Bidens frondosa) – CC= 2
  5. Eastern Woodland Sedge (Carex blanda) – CC= 1
  6. Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)- CC= 5
  7. Biennial Gaura (Oenothera gaura)- CC= 3
  8. Clearweed (Pilea pumila)- CC= 2
  9. Late boneset (Eupatorium serotinum)- CC= 2
  10. Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) CC=
  11. Common three-seeded Mercury- (Acalypha rhomboidea) CC= 0
  12. Bristly Lady’s Thumb (Persicaria longiseta) CC= 0
  13. Common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) CC= 4
  14. Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava) CC= 7
  15. Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata) CC= 5
  16. American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) CC= 7
  17. Riverbank grape (Vitis riparia) CC=3
  18. American Elm (Ulmus americana) CC= 2
  19. Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) CC= 6
  20. Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana) CC= 5


Highest 4 CC values
  1. American Beech
    1. I could not get a solid picture for the life of me, but these babies can grow tall. Like, up to 100 feet tall. It can be identified by its toothed leaves. It also is monoecious, meaning it bears flowers of both sexes
  2. Smooth Blue Aster
    1. It has smooth, blue-purple leaves. It also is a great attractor of bees and other flying insects. Beware trying to use it in more dense gardens, as it can tend to get overcrowded and can get “lost” amongst other plants
  3. Yellow Buckeye
    1. Fun fact: I grew up climbing yellow buckeyes! Still haven’t fallen out of any trees yet, fortunately. These big boys can get much bigger if they grow in the mountains, with their max height increasing by almost 30 feet! You can identify it by standing underneath long enough for one of its green, oblong buckeyes to fall on your head
  4. Pawpaw
    1. Random fun fact: the second picture is actually one from the US National Park Service, but the lighting and background is so freakishly similar to that of the backgrounds in my pictures, that I had to add it to point out. The fruit of this plant is actually the largest of any US native fruits, which is both a fun fact and a cool identifying feature!
      1. Picture:


Lowest 4 CC values
  1. Bristly Lady’s Thumb
    1. Its leaves are lance-shaped and toothless, and mostly hairless. It has been spread in the past by floods in states like Minnesota
  2. Common three-sided Mercury
    1. It tends to grow around a lot of places like lots, roadsides, and such. It is considered a weed and is everywhere east of the Rockies. You can identify it by tghe small bracts around the flowers that resemble Mercury’s winged sandals.
  3. Canada Goldenrod
    1. It often grows in colonies. It’s invasive in many parts of Europe and East Asia. They’re tall for a perennial and have a sweet nectar that is a real hit with the butterflies.
  4. Devil’s Beggarticks
    1. It’s invasive in the state of Alaska, but is native here in Ohio! It is super widely spread because of its ability to travel by water or by attaching to clothes and animal fur, and it can overtake or hybridize with native plants. You can identify it by the little two barbed awns of the seed.


Four Invasive Species

  1. Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maacki)
    1. This plant is everywhere on Olentangy. I mean I could hardly try to identify the leaves of a plant without realizing I accidentally grabbed one of these again. You’ll even see one in the third invasive species picture. These boys are unique through their huge branches and bright red berries that are NOT edible to humans. It is native to Asia and used to be used for erosion control, but is no longer, as it is consistently invasive
  2. Annual Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)
    1. Its pollen is extremely allergy-causing and spreads like wildfire. It is notorious as it is an extremely competitive and invasive species. It’s recognizable because it looks evil. Everything about it is pointy including the leaves and the fruits.
  3. Horseweed (Erigeron canadensis)
    1. It is slightly poisonous and can cause irritation upon contact. It is useful in starting a friction fire. You can recognize it by the branches all growing upwards, along with the stalks.
  4. White Mulberry (Morus alba)
    1. It can be identified by the full crown and dense branches, as you can see from the picture, you almost can’t even see the branches. It is one of the most common trees used to attract birds like finches and robins.

Substrate-specific plants

    1. The Chestnut Oak mentioned before is actually a plant that is specific to a certain substrate: According to Jane Forsyth, they grow in the more sandstone hills parts of Ohio. It is significantly better at surviving on steep, rocky areas than its peers. It hasdark green leathery leaves, large acorns, and stout twigs.
    1. The Yellow Buckeye is mentioned also by Jane Forsyth (although she calls it Sweet Buckeye) as being in the sandstone area. It contains a poison with compounds that are toxic to most animals; the compounds are found in the leaves, sprouts and seeds. It can be identified by its yellow flowers and can be found in many parks
    1. This is known as the Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), mentioned by Forsyth to be from mainly the limey-substrate areas. It is an attractor of birds, secondarily to being an attractor of many different insects, and also directly, through its berries. The unique identifier would be the bark, being “corky” and verrucous in texture.
    1. This is a Black Oak (Quercus velutina). Forsyth mentions this in her article about the sandstone substrates, after the list. Its uniqueness derives from its unique tree shape and lobes on the leaves. It was originally called yellow oak because the inside “meat” of the tree has a yellow tinge.

I would say that I concur with the results and how they compare to Jane Forsyth’s lists, as most of the plants were from the same substrate, and Columbus approaches the border between the substrates, which would explain the Hackberry.