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

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Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

Family: Anacardiaceae

This plant can be found nearly anywhere in the continental United States. In Ohio, it usually grows as a woody vine that climbs up a tree trunk. But it can also spread along the ground, especially in the vicinity of an established vine.  The roots of the vine grow under the ground and often sprout up to form to what look like new plants.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.