Tree 1: Quaking aspen

Common Name: Quaking aspen

Scientific Name:Populus tremuloides

Identification features: Quaking aspen has smooth whitish bark. The leaf arrangement is alternate. Leaves are simple with fine serrations. The petiole of the leaf is flattened causing it to “quake” in the slightest of breezes.

Location: This tree was found along the edge of a parking lot in a small forest patch. Quaking aspen are shade intolerant, so the sunlight provided by the opening allowed for this species to persist. 

Fun fact: Quaking aspen is the most widely distributed in North America. It is widely distributed because it can be found in many different types of soils, yet they do not like very warm climates. This is a beautiful tree that I have had the opportunity to see across the country. Every time I see it in Ohio, it reminds me of experiences I have had hiking out west.


Tree 2: American beech

Common Name: American beech

Scientific Name: Fagus grandifolia

Identification features: American beech has an alternate leaf arrangement. Leaves are simple with wide serrations that run between the veins. The bark is smooth and grayish colored. The buds of this tree look like tiny little cigars.

Location: A forest containing a multitude of American beech was found in northeatern ohio along the slopes of a hill near a stream corridor. The soil was wet-mesic.

Fun fact: American beech leaves turn a tan color in the fall and do not abscise until spring. This makes the tree easily identifiable in the winter. The smooth paperlike bark attracts people to carve markings into the tree (which is something  I strongly reccomend not doing because this can harm the tree).


Tree 3: Pawpaw

Common Name: Pawpaw

Scientific Name: Asimina triloba

Identification features: Pawpaw has an alternate leaf arrangement. Leaves are simple and leave three bundle scars. Leaves have an oval shape with a pointed tip at one end. Buds are a purplish color. This species is typically found in the understory in pocketed stands.

Location: A stand of pawpaw was found in a maple-beech forest at the top of a hillslope. These trees were found in the understory of this forest.

Fun fact: Pawpaw produces fruit that ripen in late summer. In my opinion, they taste like a mix of mango and banana.


Tree 4: American elm

Common Name: American elm

Scientific Name: Ulmus americana

Identification features: American elm has an alternate leaf arrangement. Leaves are simple and have serrated margins along the veins. The base of the elm leaf is typically asymmetrical. The bark is soft and cork-like.

Location: This tree was found in an area with very moist soil in a swampy bottomland forest.

Fun fact: American elm trees are susceptible to Dutch Elm disease: a pathogen spread by the elm bark beetle that attacks the vascular system of the tree and prohibits the flow of water and nutrients. Many younger trees are immune to this pathogen. I have yet to see an extremely large American elm in my lifetime due to this.


Tree 5: Tuliptree

Common Name: Tuliptree

Scientific Name: Liriodendron tulipifera

Identification features: Tuliptree has an alternate leaf arrangement. The leaf is simple, lobed, and resembles a tulip flower; however that is not why the tree is named a tuliptree. The structure of tuliptrees are easily identifiable due to their extremely straight trunks and tall growth.

Location: This tree was found in an opening in the canopy near a footpath trail. The clearing for the trail allowed for sunlight to reach the forest floor, thus causing this shade intolerant tree to grow quickly within this upland habitat.

Fun fact: Tuliptrees produce the largest solitary flower of any native tree in Ohio (hence the name) and are part of the magnolia family.


Tree 6: Shagbark hickory

Common Name: Shagbark hickory

Scientific Name: Carya ovata

Identification features: Shagbark hickory has an alternate leaf arrangement with pinnately compound leaves. There are typically five leaflets in the leaf. The bark is easily identifiable due to its peeling “shaggy” bark.

Location: This tree was found along the hillslopes of a ravine leading to a stream, and was a less dominant tree species among many maple and American beech trees.

Fun fact: Shagbark hickory produces an edible fruit, although they taste very bitter.  Shagbark provide mast for squirrels and other mammals.


Tree 7: American hophornbeam

Common Name: American hophornbeam

Scientific Name: Ostrya virginiana

Identification features: American hophornbeam has an alternate leaf arrangement with simple leaves that are doubly serrated. The bark contains fissures that shred vertically in thin strips.

Location: This tree was found at the top of a hillslope in the understory of a maple-beech forest.

Fun fact: The name “hop” hornbeam comes from the fruit of the tree that resembles hops that are used in producing beer. These fruits are green in the beginning of the summer and brown by late summer; you can determine the end of summer based of the coloring of the fruits.


Tree 8: Blue beech / Musclewood

Common Name: Blue beech / musclewood

Scientific Name: Carpinus caroliana

Identification features: Musclewood leaves are alternate, simple and serrate with a sometimes shiny covering. These trees are typically found in the understory.

Location: This tree was found in the understory of a maple-beech forest along the hillslope and at the top of the hillslope in areas that were well drained.

Fun fact: The bark of the tree is smooth and looks somewhat like a flexed arm. This is where the species gets its nickname “musclewood”. Blue beech are not actually part of the beech family, they are part of the birch family, which is why I prefer using the nickname musclewood.