White Mulberry (Morus alba)

       Family: Moraceae

  • Native to eastern and central China.
  • Introduced into America for silkworm culture in early colonial times.
  • Considered a trashy or weed tree in many parts of the country including urban areas. Needs full sun and also adequate space.
  • Named for the color of its buds, rather than the color of its fruit. The fruits are edible by wildlife and birds, but the wild white mulberry fruits are not normally eaten by humans.
  • Leaves are uniquely shaped. They are variously lobed even on the same tree. Some of the leaves are mitten-shaped, while others have multiple lobes, and some may not have any lobes.


White Mulberry

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Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)


Family: Vitaceae

The Virginia creeper vine is very common in Ohio, often seen climbing up trees. It can climb tree trunks as high as 50 feet and it is very weather tolerant. This plant is often confused with poison ivy. Both plants are flowering, have similarly shaped leaves, and are climbing vines.

Virginia Creeper 01 Virginia Creeper 02

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Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)

Family: Ulmaceae

Other names: red elm, gray elm, soft elm, moose elm, Indian elm

Slippery Elm is widely distributed in eastern North America, where it thrives in moist uplands, although it will also grow in dry, intermediate soils.

Slippery elm is most easily recognized by the broad oval coarsely toothed leaves that have a rough sandpapery surface.  Each leaf has straight veins that run out to the toothed leaf edge.  The slippery elm has leaves that are usually larger and wider compared to the more common American elm.  The leaves are a dark green in the summer, but a few golden or yellow leaves are dispersed throughout the tree in the early fall.

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Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

Family:  Sapindaceae

Sugar maples are one of the most common and widespread trees in eastern North America, and they are one of the most abundant trees in the forested areas of Ohio.  They are also widely planted as ornamentals in residential areas because of their tolerance to shade, spreading growth form, and brilliantly colored leaves in the fall.   

Mature trees range from 70 to 90 feet in height and 2 to 3 feet in diameter.

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Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)

Family: Vitaceae

Riverbank grape is a climbing vine commonly found along rivers, streams, swamps, and marshes in Ohio. It can climb up a tree as high as 50 feet. As it grows up into the canopy and creates shading with its own leaves, it can potentially kill its host plant.

Riverbank Grape

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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.