Family: Juglandaceae (Walnut family)
Common Name: Pignut Hickory
Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, 5 to 7 leaflets (3 to 6.5" long each), terminal leaflet is largest; obovate, sharply toothed, dark yellowish green, glabrous above and below (except midrib).
Bud: Overlapping scales; end bud 3/8" to ½", silky-hairy after outer scales drop in autumn.
Twig: Slender, red-brown, and hairless.
Bark: On young trees, smooth gray-brown, eventually developing rounded ridges, forming irregular diamond shape pattern, tight. Often looks somewhere between Bitternut and Shagbark.
Fruit: Nut, egg-shaped, 5/8" to 1 3/8", hard-shelled, sometimes sweet, usually bitter. Nut husk is thin, brown, usually not splitting to the base. Mature Sept. – Oct.
Flower: - -
Habit: Medium tree, 50-60’ in height. Tapering trunk and regular, open oval head of slender contorted branches. Lower branches drooping
Fall Color: golden yellow
Eco/Notes: Prefers hillsides and ridges in well-drained to dry, fairly rich soils. Important timber tree and strong hard wood used for tool handles and fuel.
Key ID Feature(s): bud bark.
Common Name: Shellbark Hickory, King Nut Hickory
Leaf: Alternate, pinnately compound, 7 leaflets (4" to 10" long each); oblong, acuminate, serrate, dark yellow-green, pubescent beneath (No tufts of hair on serrations like in C. ovata).
Bud: Overlapping scales; end buds ½" to 1", somewhat hairy, darker outer scale present.
Twig: Stout, orange-brown, hairless or slightly hairy.
Bark: Very shaggy, loosening in long strips. Much shaggier than Shag bark. Sometimes appears to separate in large "shell-like" pieces surrounding tree.
Fruit: Nut, egg-shaped, 2", edible, larger than C. ovata. Husks thick, splitting to base. Sweet, edible. Most of nuts have 6 ridges.
Habit: Reaches 60’ to 80’ in height or greater; high branching tree with a straight slender trunk and narrow oblong crown of small spreading branches; lower branches droop, upper are ascending. Similar to C. ovata, but does not grow as large. (however, in some ecosystems we will study, Shellbark may be quite large compared with shagbark due to lack of disturbance and harvest along floodplains, and in swamps. )
Eco/Notes: Inhabits wet bottomlands, even those covered with water for sometime. Excellent lumber quality, used for tool handles, furniture, construction timbers, etc.
Key ID Feature(s): twigs, buds, fruit, wet location
Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee Family)
Common Name: Buttonbush
Leaf: Whorled or Opposite, simple, ovate, 2" to 6" long, half as wide, acuminate, entire margin, glossy dark green above, lighter below. Poisonous to humans.
Bud: Terminal buds absent; lateral buds solitary, conical, in depressed areas above leaf scars.
Twig: Moderate to stout, course, slightly pubescent or glabrous, dirty gray-brown to shining olive, prominent vertical lenticels.
Bark: Shallow furrowed with long narrow flat-topped ridges, finally shaggy exfoliating.
Fruit: Rounded mass of nutlets persisting through winter.
Flower: Small ball-like clusters, creamy white, sweet fragrance, July-August.
Habit: Rounded 3’ to 6’ high or higher. Loose, gangling, open proportions
Fall Color: Green-yellow, clear yellow, or golden-yellow.
Eco/Notes: Grows best in rich swamps
Key ID Feature(s): Habit, location, fruit, whorled/opposite branching.
Family: Celastraceae (Staff Tree Family)
Common Name: Eastern Burningbush, or Eastern Wahoo
Leaf: Opposite, simple, elliptic, 1.5" to 5" long, acuminate, dark green, pubescent beneath.
Bud: Small, green tinged red, 5-6 scales, conical
Twig: Slender, greenish, glabrous, usually 4-angled with corky lines, sometimes forms "wings".
Bark: Light Brown.
Fruit: Smooth 3/5" diameter capsule, deeply 4-lobed, crimson, glabrous. Sept. – Dec. Toxic to humans.
Flower: Dark purple, May-June.
Habit: Large shrub or small tree with wide, flat-topped irregular crown, 12’ to 24’ high
Fall Color: Pink to bright red
Eco/Notes: Understory. Often used in landscape for foliage.
Key ID Feature(s): Fall foliage, twig.
Family: Oleaceae (Olive Family)
Common Name: Privet
Leaf: Opposite, simple, oblong/ovate, 1" to 2.5" long, entire, glabrous, dark green, semi-evergreen.
Bud: Terminal bud has 4 or more blunt scales.
Twig: Slender (1/16’ or less thick), barely fine-hairy or hairless.
Fruit: Black, 1/3" berry-like drupe, ripens in Sept., and persists through March
Flower: White, objectionable odor, mid-June
Habit: Many irregularly spreading branches growing 12’ to 15’ high
Fall Color: green to maroon (sometimes w/yellow). Color develops late, the later warm weather occurs in the fall, the more color will be present.
Eco/Notes: European shrub that has escaped from plantings. Do not confuse with Elaeagnus which is alternate.
Key ID Feature(s): green foliage in winter, habit, odor.
Family: Nyssaceae (Tupelo Family)
Common Name: Blackgum, black tupelo
Leaf: Alternate, simple, ovate, 3" to 6" long, entire or remotely toothed, lustrous dark green above. Leaf scar said to look like face of ET. (use handlens).
Bud: Imbricate 1/8" to ¼" long, ovoid, yellow-brown to red-brown smooth or slightly downy at tip. Stand out from twig
Twig: Slender, glabrous, grayish to light reddish brown, short thorn-like right angle stiff spur branches.
Bark: Dark, deeply grooved, blocked and checkered bark, tan-gray to coal black.
Fruit: Fleshy drupe (3/8") long, in clusters of 1 to 3 on long stems; mid-Sept. – mid. Oct.
Flower: Small clusters on long stems, greenish white, late May- early June.
Habit: One of our most beautiful native trees; great variation in mature trees. 40’ to 60’ tall.
Fall Color: Fluorescent yellow to orange to scarlet to purple colors in the fall. Has nice variety and intensity of color.
Eco/Notes: Excellent landscape tree for fall color and habit. Useful lumber for furniture, boxes, veneer. Fruit important to wildlife, esp. black bear, birds. Nyssa sylvatica is found in two major varieties: the straight species, and N. sylvatica var. biflora. The biflora variety is known as "swamp tulpelo" and is found in much wetter sites while the straight species can grow upland. Also note that this tree is similar to but is not the same species as N. aquatica or water tupelo which grows in the famous swamps and bayous of the lower Mississippi and along the gulf coast and Fla. . Prefers moist acidic soils. Will not tolerate pH above 6.
Key ID Feature(s): Bark, habit, leaf scar
Family: Rosaceae (Rose family, virtually all alternate)
Common Name: Rose (genus). Includes multiflora rose, meadow rose, Virginia rose, meadow rose, prairie rose, pasture rose, Cherokee rose, prickly rose, etc. (many more). Many naturalized species introduced to continent very early which crossed with native roses so difficult to clearly identify which are native and which are not.
Leaf: Alternate. Leaf is odd-pinnately compound, typically 5 leaflets, occasionally 7. Leaflets range in size from small (1 to 1.5 cm which is more typcial) to larger (3-5 cm or more for some natural species). Leafelets are typically serrate, and basically elliptical, and can have rounded or pointed tips.
Bud: buds are typically greenish-red to tan and imbricately scaled. Can vary in size and shape.
Twig: Rose is "semi-woody" plant. Some above ground stems can die over winter, but usually some portion of above ground stem survives. Live twigs are usually green. Most roses are thorned but some smooth varieties exist. Thorns can be opposite at leaf scars, and/or alternate along stem. Can be parallel or not. Often backward-bending, curved and tapered. Often tan, but can be other colors as well. Sometimes spiny.
Bark: Older stems can develop bark. Bark is variable but typically dark brown and may be somewhat exfoliating.
Fruit: "Hip" (Rose Hip). Usually red or orange red. Fleshy outer covering with many seeds inside. Varies in size from ½ cm to several cm in diameter. Generally edible. Can make tea.
Flower: Varying sizes and colors.
Habit: Thorny Shrub. Multi-stemmed.
Eco/Notes: Important wildlife food. Native roses better fruit, superior food to multiflora (Japanese) rose. Hips stems and foliage all food source. Food for grouse, showshoe hares, rodents, white-tailed deer, moose, black bear, upland gamebirds. Important source of Vitamin C and winter food supply. Songbirds will eat in winter as secondary food source. Native rose out-competed in many areas by exotic species, Lonicera, etc. Moderately fire resistant, can re-sprout quickly from base providing food after fire.
Key ID Feature(s): Twig, fruit.
Family: Salicaceae (Willow Family)
Common Name: Willows. Includes several trees (white willow, black willow) and many shrubs which hybridize making precise identification tricky.
Leaf: large genus quite variable. Leaves alternate to sub-opposite, usually linear / lanceolate. Usually very short petioles, lighter below than above. Some species do have broader leaves.
Bud: Buds are typically single-scale with single scale that wraps around, conical pointy. Lateral buds often appressed to stem. Varying sizes. Usually smooth and shiny but sometimes fuzzy (pussy willow). More than 25 species identified in Ohio, mostly shrubs.
Twig: Fine, indeterminate (grows until freeze kills terminal). Usually yellow, or yellow-green but also varying shades of orange, reddish, purplish etc. Typical to see long fine branched twigs, but occasionally stout. Leaf scars often v-shaped and often contain 3 bundle scars. Pith is usually homogeneous. Usually smooth and shiny, but sometimes pubescent.
Bark: variable. Black Willow (S. nigra) has very dark, heavily ridged and furrowed bark often with sharp points on ridges. White willow (S. alba) has lighter bark more corky ridged and furrowed. Shrubs have variable bark.
Fruit: Typically a 2-valved, once-celled capsule containing many cottony or silky-haired seeds.
Habit: Large tree, to shrubs of varying sizes. White willow sometimes has weeping form, and weeping Babylon willow (Salix babylonica) has very weeping form but is non-native. Most willows reproduce easily from cuttings in moist soil. Weeping form of Babylon willow that is sold commercially is male, but has escaped via rooted cuttings.
Eco/Notes: Circumpolar, Tropics to Arctic tundra at limits of tree growth. Willows are very useful for stabilizing and shading stream banks. You can plant small bundles of 6-8 inch twigs, or just stick many cuttings and branches in the ground along stream banks and many will root. Shade will lower water temperature and improve cold-water habitat important for many species. Reduces erosion. Many willows are generally tolerant of human activity and soil compaction.
Key ID Feature(s): bud, and to some extent twig and leaf.
Common Name: maple-leaf viburnum
Leaf: Opposite, similar to red maple but dentate and/or more serrate, usually smaller, and more prominent and straighter veined. Can be 3-lobed and/or no-lobed on same plant
Bud: 2 outer scales, semi-valvate, pubescent, red-green 5-8mm.
Twig: slender, green-brown, pubescent, reddish-brown lenticels.
Fruit: black ellipsoid drupe, usually < 1cm.
Habit: sparse shrub, suckers, can create vast colonies. Usually up to 6 feet.
Fall Color: typically from pink, rose, light red, to reddish purple (almost like a grape juice stain on a white table cloth), occasionally orangish.
Eco/Notes: Shade tolerant, good quality food, high wildlife value, generally edible (most native viburnum fruit are edible and much higher quality than many invasives like Lonicera). Food for gamebirds, songbirds, large and small mammals, hoofed browsers. Crowded out by Lonicera, and can be browsed to extirpation from area by over population of deer. Good shrub to plant in native areas to attract birds and other wildlife. Replace pulled honeysuckle, in moist, moderately acid soil.
Key ID Feature(s): buds, twigs, leaves fruit. Students often confuse with red maple on exam, so pay attention, the two plants are night and day unless you are looking only at the leaves from 15 feet away.
Family: caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle)
Common Name: Arrow-wood Viburnum
Leaf: Opposite, simple, ovate, dentate margin, usually glabrous, but can be pubescent.
Bud: 4-6 scaled, imbricate. Lateral buds usually appressed to stem.
Twig: usually glabrous, but can be pubescent (hybridization) Stems usually very straight.
Bark: smooth brown.
Fruit: blue-black drupe, Autumn. up to 5-8 mm.
Habit: upright suckering shrub with many very straight branches. Usually 6-12 ft.
Fall Color: pin-red to reddish purple, sometimes red-orange.
Eco/Notes: Prefers moist acidic soils. Partial shade or sun. Very high quality bird food, and good quality food for mammals but not as good as V. acerifolium, or V. trilobum. Plant to replace honeysuckle. Transplants well.
Key ID Feature(s): buds, twigs, leaves.
Common Name: Highbush-cranberry, Cranberry-bush viburnum (note hyphen, this is not a true cranberry. Cranberry is in Vaccinium genus)
Leaf: opposite, 3-lobed, sparsely dentate margin. Resembles sugar maple or striped maple, but smaller and more prominently straighter veined. Glands on petiole near base of leaf.
Bud: 2-scaled, semi-valvate, chubby, greenish-red, glabrous. Laterals appressed to stem.
Twig: Slender, glabrous, sided (4,5,6 sides) lenticels. Light in color
Bark: light brown. Becoming gray-brown with cracks.
Fruit: red glossy berry. 6-10 mm September holds through Feb. or until eaten.
Flower: Monoecious, male flowers are yellow-green long catkins (3 to 4 inches long), females are green to reddish, very small in leaf axils. Appearing with the leaves.
Habit: relatively dense suckering shrub, 4-16 feet.
Fall Color: brown, russet, and/or red.
Eco/Notes: Edible by humans, very tart. Can be eaten dried. High wildlife value, nutritious. Very important food for waxwings. Also eaten by other birds and small mammals. Often over-browsed, and crowded out by exotic invasives. See some planted in front of Lennox movie theatre and around campus. Impress your friends by eating berries.
Key ID Feature(s): buds, twigs, fruit
Genus: Zanthoxylum (sometimes spelled Xanthoxylum)
Family: Rutaceae (Citrus family)
Common Name: Prickly-Ash (Note hyphen, this is not a true Ash)
Leaf: alternate pinnately compound, usually 9 leaflets (7-11), Prickly rachis. Lime green.
Bud: wooly red to red-brown pubescence. Somewhat globose.
Twig: smooth, stout, reddish, armed with stout prickels, 2 per node.
Bark: older bark is gray to red brown, scaly.
Fruit: Red Berry, 3-4mm. in loose clusters. Fragrant.
Habit: irregular fairly upright shrub, suckering or individual.
Fall Color: golden yellow
Eco/Notes: High wildlife value. Vitamin C. Primary food in lifecycle of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and other swallowtails. Usually found in mesic and moist mesic areas that have been undisturbed for a long time. Typically takes a very long time to re-establish following major disturbance such as farming, urbanization, etc. Transplantable, but best if planted from container grown stock rather than moved. Good to re-establish this (and other species ) in younger forests.
Key ID Feature(s): Twig, buds. (note resembles small ashes, but is alternate and prickly)