Field Trips Part 1

Unfortunately, one of my favorite parks close to my house is home to several common invasive species. As an urban swath of woods, it is understandable that it is not a pristine site. Multiflora rose hangs in abundance over the edge of the creek and a huge patches of garlic mustard are found along the trail.

multiflora rose along the creek’s edge

Multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora, is found in every county in Ohio. According to the Ohio Invasive Plant Council, it was introduced to the US in late 19th century from Japan, Korea, and Eastern China. It serves a botanical basis for ornamental roses and was also used as a natural fence for livestock in the 1930’s. The species can survive in a wide range of environmental conditions and its seeds are easily spread by birds who enjoy the fruits. Multiflora rose also produces an abundance of seeds (up to a million a year) that can remain in the soil for up to 20 years! Plant removal and prescribed burning can be an effective way to remove young plants, a digging tool or mower needs to be used correctly to effectively remove large bushes. Herbicides generally work well and rose rosette virus is an effective biological control.

Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, introduced from Europe for medicinal purposes, was first recorded in New York in 1868. It invades wooded edges and then works its way further in via trails and water systems. The prolific seeds are spread by water, animals, and humans. Garlic mustard can suppress wildflower growth and fungi that is mutualistic with trees. For small patches, fully removing the plant by hand is effective but must be carried out for many years. For larger swaths, clipping stems low when the plant is in flower can kill current plants but extra steps must be taken to prevent seeds from surviving. Careful application of common herbicides is also acceptable.

silique fruit of garlic mustard


I found some lime-loving plants along the creek at Sharon Woods! In Jane Forsyth’s Geobotany article, redbud, Cercis canadensis, as one of the trees inclined toward limey-basic soils. She also points out this tree occurs higher up, and this redbud was found high above the creek up on a steep ledge.

heart-shaped redbud leaves

The Geobotany article also lists Chinquapin Oak, Quercus muehlenbergii, as a plant inclined towards limy substrates. Here is the broad, shallow, many lobed leaf of the chinquapin oak found throughout Sharon Woods.

Chinquapin Oak leaf


SpiderwortTradescantia virginiana, is a very pretty monocot. The flower’s three bright purple petals pop against the forest ground cover. Besides the three petals, it also has long, parallel veined, grasslike leaves that are characteristic of a monocot flower.

three petals and long leaves= monocot

Yellow wood sorrel, Oxalis europaea, is a eudicot weedy wildflower. This flower is characterized by its five bright yellow petals and clover like leaves.

cute wood sorrel flowers


In an open tall grass meadow at French Park I found patches of dark green leaved grass. The grainy fruits appeared to be achenes.

Along the Sharon Creek I found a sedge with an edged stalk and closed leaves.

Field Trip Part 2

I went backpacking this weekend at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky (yes I know this is Ohio plants BUT) and I was so excited to find what I believe is a Polypody fern with its noticeable naked sori visible underneath!

Sori underneath fern leaves


At Sharon woods I was found (hopefully) many different kinds of moss! They are challenging to identify but I think this is some poodle moss, Anomodon attenuatus, because of the tongue like leaves and matted appearance. This species has also been located in the Hamilton county area before.

leafy poodle moss

I also located some beautiful looking moss that is apocarpous with hair like leaves. The wispy leaves of the ground moss are secund (swept to one side). I believe it is the windswept broom moss, Dicranum scoparium. 

windswept broom moss