Four Highest and Lowest COFC Native Plants

From the native plants, I’ve pulled 4 from my logs that have higher (near 10) CC scores, and 4 which have low scores (near 0). It’s interesting to me that the trees seem to have higher CC scores than the herbaceous plants; this makes sense given that it is easier to control which trees reach adulthood than what herbaceous plants do. The trees that are large enough to be noticed were probably planted or conserved by stewards who took their importance in pre-colonial ecosystems into account.


Chinquapin oak CC 7

This guy is extra cool because he has galls! Oak galls are one of the best natural ink materials you can find! They’re made then a wasp lays its larvae in the oak, and when mixed with iron these galls make a deep black pigment. I thought this might have been a chestnut oak at first, but I’m leaning towards chinquapin due to the soil characteristics (they like limestone) and the leaf shape. This guy was also recently planted, and had a mesh guard around his base.

Post oak CC 7

Our tree guidebook says that these oaks aren’t common in the Northern part of the US, but the high CC indicates that perhaps they once were. The leaves of this oak make a sort of cross (or spooky ghost, as I’ve heard said).

Sycamore CC 7

I love sycamores! Their grand stature and unique bark always brightens my day when I pass them on the south oval, and it appears that Whetstone has them as well. Their leaves remind me of the tree stars from The Land Before Time dinosaur movie.

Purple Coneflower CC 6 

There were a few plants tied at CC 6, but I chose this one to highlight a high conservatism plant which was herbaceous. These flowers were flagged by a restoration group, so I’m guessing that they were recently planted. The roots of coneflowers are super high in vitamin C I’ve heard, which is why they are common in teas meant to boost the immune system.


Wood sorrel CC 0

One of the lowest CC native plants was wood sorrel. These guys will grow anywhere with no problem! I think some people treat them as a nuisance, but they are soft to lay on and they give flowers, so what’s the problem? They are also high in Oxalic acid, as I may have mentioned in a non-whetstone blog post. This means that they have a sour flavor similar to lemons.

Pokeweed CC 1

Pokeweed is pretty cool, but I wouldn’t recommend tasting it. Instead, it makes a great dye and ink. The color is deep red if you have enough berries, but I can never seem to find many ripe at the same time! They seem to stagger their ripening, maybe? Or maybe I’ve just been unlucky. The thread I dyed with them turned out a pinkish-peach because the berry content was pretty low. Overall, a cool plant.

Calico Aster CC 1

I respect these asters too because they have the decency to have easily noticed features. Their centers come in red and yellow patchwork, like a calico cat! All of the “I’m yellow and that is all” asters should take notes.


Coefficients of Conservatism for Some Whetstone Plants

Arranged in no specific order, here are conservation coefficients for a handful of the plants I’ve found at whetstone park. Some are native, although others are not. Honestly, the instructions didn’t specify if I needed pictures for all 20 of these so I’m not adding them in, buddy.  Homework is an optimization problem and I’m approaching diminishing returns. 

  1. Boxelder Maple, Acer negundo  COFC 3 NATIVE
  2. Norway Maple, Acer platanoides, COFC 0 ADVENTIVE
  3. Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum COFC 3 NATIVE
  4. Chinquapin Oak, Quercus muehlenbergii  COFC 7, NATIVE
  5. Post Oak, Quercus stellata, COFC 7, NATIVE
  6. Wild Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum COFC 0 ADVENTIVE
  7. Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota COFC 0 ADVENTIVE
  8. Giant Ironweed, Vernonia gigantea COFC 2 NATIVE
  9. Bull Thistle, Cirsium vulgare COFC 0 ADVENTIVE
  10. Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea COFC 6 NATIVE
  11. American Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis COFC 7 NATIVE
  12. Sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale COFC 4 NATIVE
  13. Greater Burdock, Arctium lappa COFC 0 ADVENTIVE
  14. Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis stricta COFC 0 NATIVE
  15. Sawtooth Sunflower, Helianthus grosseserratus COFC 4 NATIVE
  16. Wingstem, Verbesina alternifolia COFC 5 NATIVE
  17. Bur Oak, Quercus macrocarpa, CC 6 NATIVE
  18. Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, CC 1 NATIVE
  19. Jimson weed, Datura Stramonium, CC 0 ADVENTIVE
  20. Riverbank Grape, Vitis riparia, COFC 3 NATIVE


I’m never again going to be able to talk about invasives without saying “Boo Hiss”. I love it.

Don’t let the restorationists hear this, but invasives are kind of cool? They are resilient, and they brighten my day. A lot of them are edible. Maybe we should focus on our own invasive nature (colonialism, anyone?) before we start playing purity politics with plants? I know their removal is an important part of restoration, but the full-on hatred people show them kind of feels like some textbook projection…..

White Sweet Clover

You can “bee” as mad as you want about him, but his nickname is honey clover for a reason. Bees think he is tasty.

Canada Thistle

I always thought that these guys had fun hair.

Wild Teasel

What a tease…l. Sorry. That was bad. These guys look like you could use them to tease your hair (if you didn’t mind a bit of pain). They could also make an interesting impromptu weapon.

Ground Ivy

These friends are in the mint family. I like their kidney shaped leaves.



The vegetation at this site appears to match Forsythe’s description of a plant community which grows in areas of limestone substrate.  Hawthorn, sugar maple, burr oak, hackberry,  redbud, and chinquapin oak were all found at the site. This spread of limestone-appreciating species makes sense given the geology of Columbus. Here are photos of four of these species.


You can tell this leaf belongs to hackberry by the galls on it. I always saw those bumps on the forest floor and wondered what they were! Now I know.


Hawthorn also made an appearance in my non whetstone blog posts, but I’m bringing him back now! He has small thorns, but they aren’t super visible in this photo.

Bur Oak

The tree this came from as absolutely magnificent! I’m not posting his photo because I can’t do him justice. Go look for him yourself! When you see him… you’ll know. I just wanted to curl up in those roots and read a book! Anyways, here is the top of a bur oak acorn, which is distinct.

Chinquapin Oak

This guy again?? Yes. You can see more galls in the background; he was full of them!