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).

Some of the woody plants and trees are holdovers from the native plant communities that existed in this area in the past. Others have been introduced by people. Some have been planted because of their beautiful flowers or foliage. Others are invasive species that have begun to colonize many of our Ohio woodlands at the expense of some of our native species.

The more common native species of trees include some that are typically found in moist soils adjacent to rivers, lakes, and streams throughout much of Ohio. These include American Sycamore, Eastern Cottonwood, Box Elder, and Black Willow. This area also includes many trees that are typical of moist woodland communities through much of Ohio. These include Sugar Maple, Black Cherry, Hackberry, Green Ash, and Slippery Elm. The most common woody vines are Poison Ivy, Virginia Creeper, and Riverbank Grape. Introduced species include White Mulberry, Flowering Crab, and Paper Birch. The most aggressive invasive species in the area are some of the Bush Honeysuckles, Multiflora Rose, and Garlic Mustard.


LEARN MORE  about the Woods on the Ariel-Foundation Park main site!


A special thanks to the students of the Field Botany class at Mount Vernon Nazarene University who wrote the reports on the various kinds of trees found in The Woods. These students include Chandler Cook, Grace Hall, Emily Kauble, Keith Kitchen, Madison Lotz, Kevin Maurer, Christina Norcross, Caroline Phillips, Dakoda Ramsey, Jacob Schott, Emily Smith, and Katelyn Stone.

All photos linked in this Learning Station courtesy of D. Mosher, Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Appendix I

Plant surveys were done by the Field Botany class at Mount Vernon Nazarene University during the fall semester of 2016.  A summary of the class surveys for woody plants and herbaceous plants is available.