The Woods

  • American Basswood (Tilia americana)

           Family: Malvaceae

    • Also known as the American Linden tree.
    • Native to North America.
    • Bees and butterflies love the fragrant flowers in the summer.
    • But these flowers can aggravate allergies in some people.
    • Basswood trees are low-maintenance and can live to 150 years.

    basswood1 basswood2

  • American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

    Sycamore1 Family: Platanaceae

    Sycamores typically grow in deep moist soils near rivers, streams, and lakes.

    A sycamore can grow to massive proportions and can become more than 6 feet in diameter and more than 120 feet tall. The largest sycamores have been measured to be more than 160 feet tall and nearly 13 feet in diameter.

    The sycamore tree is often divided near the ground into several secondary trunks. Spreading limbs at the top make an irregular, open crown. Roots are fibrous. The trunks of large trees are often hollow.

  • Basic Ecology

    The area known as “The Woods” is not really a natural forest ecosystem. But it does have an interesting variety of trees for park visitors to enjoy. More than 30 different kinds of trees attract a variety of woodland birds and a few species of mammals (see birds and wildlife section).

  • Birds and Wildlife of The Woods

    The plant diversity in this area attracts a variety of woodland birds. The most common birds are listed below. Some birds are easier heard than seen, so be sure to listen for their sounds. Other species may be found in other parts of the park or may stop by this area during migration. The more common birds in this area of the park are shown below.

  • Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)


    Family: Rosaceae

    Other common names include wild black cherry, mountain black cherry, and rum cherry. Black cherry belongs to the Rose Family (Rosaceae) and it is related to orchard trees such as apples, plums, peaches, apricots, cherries, and pears. Black cherry is common in Ohio and widespread throughout eastern North America.

    Black Cherry bark2 The black-gray, flaky mature bark is very distinctive. The reddish-brown underbark is exposed where the outer bark is cracked.  The bark of smaller branches is reddish and marked with short horizontal lines.

  • Black Locust (Robinia Pseudoacacia)

    Black Locust Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae) – Pea and Bean Family

    Status: Common to abundant in Ohio and throughout the United States.

    Some people might confuse the Black Locust with the Honey Locust which is a very common tree in The Woods.  The Black Locust tree can be distinguished from the Honey Locust because it only has pinnate leaves and the individual leaflets are larger than those of the Honey Locust. 

    Also, Black Locust trees do not have the distinctive large branched thorns of the Honey Locust, but instead have a short pair of sharp spines or prickles at the base of each leaf.

  • Black Maple (Acer nigrum)

    Family: Sapindales

    Most of the maples in The Woods are sugar maples, but if you look closely, there are also a few black maples. Black maples are found throughout northeastern North America.  Black maples are found throughout Ohio and tend to grow in moist soils by streams. The species is occasionally planted as an ornamental tree.  Mature trees range from 70 to 110 feet in height and two to three feet in diameter.

    Black Maple

     black sugar cap 100

     Figure 1. On the left, a Black Maple leaf and on the right, a Sugar Maple leaf. Pictures retrieved from

  • Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) & Wild Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)

    Family Name: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

    Black raspberry and wild blackberry plants are found throughout Ohio. Although both plants are arching thorny brambles, you can easily differentiate them by looking for the white coating on the stems of the black raspberry plants and the raised ridges on the stems of the wild blackberry plants.

    blackraspberry 01

  • Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

    Family: Juglandaceae

    The Black Walnut tree is a rather common tree in temperate regions.
    Ecologically, walnut trees are also indicators of well-drained soils, and they are a
    common tree throughout Ohio.

    The large alternate compound leaves combined with the chocolate brown outer
    bark and the presence of walnuts (on the tree or on the ground) make this tree
    relatively easy to identify
    Black Walnut trees provide food and shelter for forest-dwelling animals. Squirrels
    harvest the nuts while various bird species may construct nests in the canopy.
    From a human perspective, Black Walnut trees are one of the most valuable
    trees for woodworking and furniture building.


    Bark of a Black Walnut Tree
    Bark of a Black Walnut Tree

  • Black Willow (Salix nigra)

    Family:  Salicaceae

    Black willow is native to the entire eastern half of North America, and it is found throughout Ohio.  It is typically found in wetlands and alongside streams, ponds, and rivers, as well as swampy or marshy areas.  Black willows have fibrous root systems that help to bind the soils along rivers and streams to prevent the soil from being washed away.

    Black willow trees can reach 30 feet in height.  The estimated lifespan of black willow averages 65 years with a range of 40 to 100 years.

    The leaf of a Black Willow Tree

  • Box Elder (Acer negundo)

     Family: Sapindaceae (Aceraceae)

    The box elder is actually a maple and belongs to the maple family. Box elder is a very common tree throughout the central United States, including Ohio.  It is often found in moist soils near a lake, pond, or stream.  But it can also be found in many other environments. Box elder is commonly planted as an ornamental, and it can be found often in residential yards.

    Although the box is a maple, its leaves look very different from most maples.  Each leaf is actually an opposite compound leaf with 3-5 leaflets, and the leaves may superficially resemble poison ivy.  But box elder is a tree or shrub with opposite leaves, and poison ivy is usually a vine and has alternate leaves.  The younger stems of box elder tend to be green, which is an important recognition characteristic.

  • Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.~Invasive Species)

           Family Name: Caprifoliaceae

    • There are several species of invasive bush or shrubby honeysuckles in Ohio (Amur, Tartarian, and Morrow Honeysuckle).
    • Honeysuckles have opposite bluntly pointed dark green elliptical leaves and produce colorful red or orange berries in the fall.
    • The various invasive honeysuckles have fragrant white, yellow, pink, or crimson flowers in the spring.  The bark on older plants appears striped.
    • Invasive bush honeysuckles can be very aggressive and difficult to remove from natural ecosystems.


    Bush Honeysuckle

  • Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

    Family: Salicaceae

    Eastern Cottonwood Map

    Eastern Cottonwood can grow to a large tree that is 65–130 feet tall and with a trunk that can be nearly 6 feet in diameter.  This makes it one of the largest North American hardwood trees.

    Cottonwoods tend to grow in deep moist soils along the margins of rivers, streams, and lakes.

  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

     Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae) – Pea and Bean Family

    The Eastern Redbud is a very distinctive, eye-catching tree, especially in the spring. The pink blossoms emerge before the leaves, and will saturate the twigs and branches with very colorful pea-shaped blossoms.

    Eastern Redbud Flowers

    The leaves are very distinctive.  Redbuds have heart-shaped leaves with pointed tips, and they are darker green on the upper surface but lighter green underneath.  They turn various shades of yellow in the fall.

  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

    If you are looking for an attractive ornamental tree, a tree that welcomes spring with a bountiful, dazzling, display of color, and a tree that shows off even in fall, consider the Flowering Dogwood. It’s a favorite choice for residential landscaping, parks and nature areas.

    flowering dogwood flowers

  • Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata~Invasive Species)

    Family: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)


    These plants were introduced into the United States by European settlers to help with erosion and to use as a food source. The plant is high in Vitamin A and C and has a garlic flavor when cooked. It was also once used for medicinal purposes to treat ulcers and gangrene. The problem with the introduction of this plant is its invasive nature. It has the ability to aggressively take over the herbaceous layer of woodlands and displace natural grasses. In the state of Ohio, it is considered an invasive species.  

      Garlic Mustard

  • Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

    Family: Oleaceae

    Green ash is a common native tree in moist woodlands.  It is a fast-growing tree, so it is also widely planted in residential areas as a shade tree.

    It is relatively easy to recognize because of the opposite compound leaves with 7-9 pointed leaflets. The leaflets are somewhat similar to the leaves of a hickory, but a hickory has alternate leaves, and the leaflets of an ash are much smaller and have small teeth, or serrations, on the edges.

    Green Ash Leaf

  • Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

    Family: Cannabaceae

    Other Common Names: sugarberry, nettletree, beaverwood

    Hackberry is native to much of eastern North America and it is a common tree throughout Ohio.

    The easiest way to recognize hackberry is by the raised warty ridges on the bark. The bark is light brown or silvery grey, and it is usually a medium-sized tree with a slender trunk.  

    Hackberries have alternate leaves that have pointed tips and coarsely toothed edges.

  • Hawthorn (Crataegus)

    Family: Rosaceae

    This tree is most easily recognized by the slender needle-like spines. There are several native species of hawthorns, and species-level identification can sometimes be difficult. There are also many ornamental and cultivated varieties of hawthorn that are used in residential landscaping.


  • Honey Locust (Gledistia triacanthos)

    Family: Fabaceae

    The Honey Locust is a common tree in Ohio and throughout the United States.

    Honey Locust The easiest way to recognize the native Honey Locust is to look for the stout sharply pointed branched spines.  The leaves of the honey locust trees can be easily confused with a close relative, the black locust. Both trees have pinnately compound leaves that are divided into many leaflets.