Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

ID Features: The leaves are alternate and pinnately compound, and they contain 15-30 leaflets that are bipinnately compound. The most distinctive feature is a 6-8 inch long leathery pod that can be found in the that matures in the late summer and early fall. Unlike the Black Locust, this tree has large branched thorns covering the trunk and limbs.

Location:  Along the Darby Creek at the Battelle Darby Metro Park,

The Funnest of Facts: Native Americans used the dried pulp from the seed pods as a way to sweeten their food. The wood was used for medicinal purposes and the construction of bows due to its density and shock resistance. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_PLANTMATERIALS/publications/etpmcfs8420.pdf

Tree-Huggers beware!



Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

ID Features: The leaves are opposite with five palmate sinuses and coarsely serrate margins. The fruit is a single-winged samara and it matures in the late spring and early summer. A distinguishing feature is the greenish and reddish monoecious flower clusters that can be found before leaves begin to grow in the early spring. http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=5

Note the distinctive shape of the five lobes















Location: Battelle Darby Metro Park

The Funnest of Facts: The sap from the Silver Maple was used by Native Americans to treat an number ailments such as cramps, coughs, venereal diseases, sores and measles. They also sued the sap to sweeten their food and make alcoholic beverages. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/acer-saccharinum-tree-69630.html


Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)

ID Feature: The leaves are alternate, simple, and ovate with a large irregular blunt margin. The male flowers are long, greenish-yellow catkins, and the female flowers are green and red. the bark is gray and scaly but develops irregular fissures and ridges later in the tree’s development.


Location: Battelle Darby Metro Park

The Funnest of Facts: The Iroquois used Swamp White Oak to treat ailments such as broken bones, tuberculosis, and cholera. This species also grows very rapidly and have the potential to live between 300 and 350 years.


Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

ID Features: The leaves are alternate, simple, and have 5-9 bristle-tipped lobes with irregularly deep sinuses. The male flowers are on drooping yellow-green catkins, and the female flowers are a reddish-green on spikes originating from new leaf axils. The distinctive features of this tree are more difficult to determine aside from the leaf characteristics, but the bark is slightly thinner and remains smooth for longer than similar oaks.


Location: Battelle Darby Metro Park

The Funnest of Facts: The Pin Oak is easy to transplant because the roots are shallow and fibrous, but they are high maintenance due to the its low dropping branches. The largest Pin Oak is 110 feet tall and can be found in Tennessee, in case you are a Pin Oak fanatic!


American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

ID Features: The leaves are alternate, simple, palmately veined, ovate, and has three to five lobes with coarsely toothed margins. Aside from the iconic “camouflage” bark that changes drastically from the bottom to the top of the tree, a unique feature is the buds enclosed by the petiole base. The male and female flowers both appear in dense round clusters that emerge at the same time as the leaves. The fruit is spherical multitude of spherical achenes, so each individual seed is winged and roughly 1/2 inch long.


Location: Battelle Darby Metro Park

The Funnest of Facts: Evidence shows that the American Sycamore was native to Central Europe but no longer exists in that landscape. Additionally, this tree has the potential to live 400-600 years under ideal conditions! https://gardenerdy.com/sycamore-tree-facts


American Elm (Ulmus americana)

ID Features: The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to oblong, and the margins are sharply double serrate. The flowers are in drooping clusters of 3-5, and the fruit is a tounded, flat samara that is hairless except along the margin. The young bark is spongy and relatively soft, and the mature bark is distinctly alternating with reddish brown patches.


Location: Battelle Darby Metro Park

The Funnest of Facts: The Dutch Elm Disease has decimated this species throughout its native range, so mature (30 years or more) American Elm trees are difficult to find. At one point this species had the potential to live 200 years or more, but scientists are attempting to seek out and propagate rare individuals that are naturally resistance to the disease.


The specimen of interest is the young tree in the middle with the lighter colored bark



Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus)

ID Features: The leaves are alternate, simple, obovate to elliptical in shape, and have a crenate margin. The male flowers are yellow-green and are grow naked on catkins, and the reddish female flowers are arranged on spikes. A distinguishing feature is the thick and sharply pointed ridges of the mature Chestnut Oak tree, resembling the back of an alligator.


Location: Hocking Hills County

The Funnest of Facts: Chestnut Oaks are especially adapted to growing on steep, rocky hills due to its well-developed tap root. The bark of this tree contains high levels of tannin which was once an important element in the process of tanning leather.



Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)

ID Features: The leaves are alternate, simple, oval, and have very deep sinuses with bristle-tipped lobes. Males are born on yellow-green catkins, and females are born on short axilliary spikes that appear in the spring. A distinctive feature is the large butt-swell at the bottom of the tree that is unique to this oak.


Location: Battelle Darby Park

The Funnest of Facts: This species has a high tolerance to poor soils and high wind. These attributes of resistance may be why the Scarlet Oak is the official tree of the District of Columbia.



Yellow Poplar (Liriondendron tulipifera)

ID Features: The leaves are alternate, simple, palmately veined, entire margin, and four lobes shaped like a tulip. The flower resembles a large tulip, and it is generally found high in the tree with yellow petals and a green corolla. The fruit is an aggregate of one-winged samaras that disseminate in the late summer and early winter.


Location: Battelle Darby Park

Funnest of Facts: Also known as the Tulip Poplar, this species is useful for reforestation due to its rapid growth (3ft/yr). Its mast is also consumed by squirrels and white-tailed deer in the late fall and winter.