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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.