Marsh, Prairie, and Fen

Location 1 – Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park – Harrier and Teal Trails

The wetlands at Battelle were a restoration from agriculture fields in a Metro Park that is one of the largest Metro Parks east of the Mississippi River. This site is home to many wetland species of plants, birds, and insects. The wetland is dominated by woody plants such as eastern cottonwood*, willows, and sycamores. The dominant herbaceous plant species are grasses, wool sedges*, fireweed, a variety of asters, and wild carrot. The habitat has a lot of invasive cattails* as well.

* indicates that plants are pictured in order below

Location 2 – Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park – Turkey Foot Trail Prairie Area

In the same Metro Park, there is a maintained prairie in the Turkey Foot Trail area. The park is dominated by swamp white oak, prairie dock, and dogwood as the woody plants. Herbaceous plants include spotted touch-me-not, pasture thistle*, big bluestem*, false white indigo, and morning glory.

Location 3 – Cedar Bog

Cedar Bog’s hydrology comes from underground water from the ancient buried Teays river valley. Rain water and the groundwater give the “bog” a chance to circulate. Unlike real bogs, Cedar Bog (which is actually a fen), has water constantly circulating in and out of the system. A true bog, however, would have water “clogged up” and not circulating in any way. Due to glaciers, hills known as end moraines formed to the east and west of the bog, leaving it in a valley.

While at Cedar Bog, the scavenger hunt item I was given was to identify two plant/insect interactions. The first interaction was with between Swamp thistle – Circium muticum and Monarch butterfly – Danaus plexippus. The monarch butterfly is able to pollinate the thistle when it is collecting nectar for itself. This thistle is able to be differentiated by habitat and a web like look to the bracts of the plant. Unlike some thistles, this one is considered to be more manageable and is planted in gardens as decoration for this reason. 

The second plant/insect interaction of the day was watching a beetle sp. on a spotted touch-me-not flower. The ant is able to pollinate the flower as it comes into contact with the stamen of the flower. Spotted touch-me-not, or jewelweed, is very easy to recognize with its bright orange color, distinct shape, and abundance in the correct habitat. The fruit of the flower is very interested in the fact that if you touch it, the seeds are launched out as the fruit opens and curls up.

Deep Woods Farm

Compared to Cedar Bog, the geology and plants of Deep Woods were quite different. The landscape was a very hilly area with sandstone cliffs exposed whereas cedar bog was in the glaciated part of Ohio and was quite flat. The trees found were much more acidic loving species such as Chestnut, Sourwood, Butternut, Winged Sumac, as well as several mosses and fern species that were not observed in the Cedar Bog area. The following pictures are some of the many plants we observed in this environment.

Winged Sumac with bladed stems

Rocktop Polypody – a common fern in the area

Haircap moss was found in the upland habitat

Powedered ruffle lichen was often found on tree branches

Sourwood is a tree unique to the sandstone, low pH area

Due to a fungus, Chestnuts are no longer one of the most prevalent trees in the woods and only grow until they are large enough to be infected by the fungus.

Butternut is another species found in the sandstone, acidic area of Ohio and not in the unglaciated areas
Sword moss is a restricted range species of moss that is highly sought after in the area by many moss experts across the country.

 

 The specific assignment for Deep Woods preserve given to me was to find two invasive species growing on the “farm”. The two I found were Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora) and Japanese Stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum). Multiflora rose is distinguishable from other similar species by the burr like bases of the twigs (depicted in the photo). An oil extracted from this flower is popular to use in the cosmetic industry! Japanese stiltgrass is differentiated by shorted leaves and lack of branching heads unlike native species. Due to its use as packing material, it was introduced from overseas early in the 20th century.

Multiflora Rose

Japanese Stiltgrass

One of the most interesting things from the field trip was getting to see the Appalachian Gametophyte. This gametophyte lost the ability to produce a sporophyte through its evolutionary history. It is the only species in its genus not found in the tropics. The gametophyte can be found in cracks within caves and needs very little to no light to survive as long as the area is permanently moist. Getting to see so much of this unusual plant was very cool.