This is black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)! It can be distinguished by its rigid bark and its characteristic leaves. Its leaves are compound and alternately arranged, with 6-20 leaflets. The black locust also has flat pods and thorns near its leaf scars. I found this specimen at Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City, in a meadow surrounded by a mixture of coniferous and hardwood forests. Black locusts are often used as fence posts, as they have hard wood and are durable in soil (Peterson Field Guide).

This is the hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)! It can be distinguished by what I call “pimply” bark with deep ridges all the way up the tree. Its simple leaves are arranged alternately; the leaves are long and coarsely toothed, as well. I found this specimen at the Olentangy River Wetlands, which can be characterized by marsh and river areas with bottomland hardwoods. I learned to identify this tree because of its characteristic bark, which I use to help my friends identify hackberry; Many birds, such as pheasants and prairie chickens, love to eat the fruit of the hackberry, which is called a “sugarberry” (Peterson Field Guide). Isn’t that wicked?


This is a black walnut tree (Juglans nigra)! They can be distinguished by their alternate, pinnately compound leaves with 7-17 leaflets and their spherical nuts that drop from the tree. I found this specimen at Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City, in a meadow surrounded by a mixture of coniferous and hardwood forests. Black walnut trees are awesome because their nuts can be used to make a yellow-brown dye (Peterson Field Guide).


This is a cottonwood (Populus deltoides)! It can be identified by its triangular, toothed leaves; its leaves are simple and arranged alternately. I found this specimen at the Olentangy River Wetlands, which can be characterized by marsh and river areas with bottomland hardwoods. What’s rad about cottonwoods is the glands that can be found on their stalks; of the 4 poplar species that have flattened leaves, the cottonwood is the only one to have these glands (Peterson Field Guide)!


This is a sugar maple (Acer saccharum)! It can be distinguished by its dark brown trunk and characteristic 5-lobed leaf with deep notches. Maple leaves are simple and arranged opposite one another. I found this specimen at Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City, in a meadow surrounded by a mixture of coniferous and hardwood forests. Maple trees are super cool because they have many uses to us humans; sap is used to make syrup and wood for furniture (Peterson Field Guide)!


This is a swamp oak (Quercus bicolor)! It can be distinguished by its round leaves with shallow lobes. Leaves are arranged alternately and are simple in complexity. The swamp oak has bowl-shaped acorns that are enjoyed by squirrels and other animals. I found this specimen at the Olentangy River Wetlands, which can be characterized by marsh and river areas with bottomland hardwoods. Swamp oaks are interesting because their wood is indistuinguishable from white oak (Quercus alba); it is even referred to as swamp white oak on occasion (Peterson Field Guide)!


This is a sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)! It can be easily distinguished by its star-shaped leaves, which are simple and alternate in arrangement. Sweetgums can also be distinguished by the prickly, hanging fruits. I found this specimen at Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City, in a meadow surrounded by a mixture of coniferous and hardwood forests. You might not have known that this tree is called a sweetgum because of the sap that oozes out of its bark; humans and other animals have even been known to eat this sticky substance (Peterson Field Guide)! Super cool!

 

This is the sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)! It can be easily distinguished by its bark, which looks like paint peeling and chipping off of the tree. Sycamore leaves are arranged alternately and are simple in complexity; they have 3-5 lobes with serrated teeth. I found this specimen at the Olentangy River Wetlands, which can be characterized by marsh and river areas with bottomland hardwoods. Did you know that Indians used sycamore trunks to make dugout canoes? One of these canoes was reported to be nearly 70 feet long (Peterson Field Guide)!