Cedar Bog is located in Urbana, Ohio and is the oldest nature preserve in state. Cedar Bog contains and amazing diversity of plants and according to their website Cedar Bog ranks the highest of any site in the state on the Ohio Floristic Diversity Index for the impressive diversity of plants located at the site. Interestingly, despite its name Cedar Bog is actually not a bog but is in fact a fen. The technical difference between a bog and a fen is that the water that enters a fen through rain or springs is removed or flushed out through small streams. The ground water from fens contains dissolved limestone which makes the water alkaline and encourages the growth of sedges. A bog on the other hand does not readily drain water and the water that enters through rain is usually removed by evaporation. In a bog dead plants pile up and create a layer of peat, this decaying plant matter makes the water acidic and brown and is conducive to the growth of sphagnum moss which creates a floating mat.

The following pictures were taken on our class field trip to Cedar Bog and includes two plants with serrated leaves and a number of other photos of interesting plants, including unique facts and their coefficient of conservatism.

Plants With Serrated Leaves

Great Angelica

This plant is Angelica atropurpurea, commonly known as Great angelica. Great angelica is a flowering plant with a compound umbel inflorescence and is a member of the Apiaceae family. Great angelica can be identified by its white flowers, serrated leaves, and its height. The coefficient of conservatism for Great angelica is 6. Great angelica is commonly found in swamps, soggy thickets, marshes, fens, seeps, and bottom woodlands.

Virginia Creeper

This plant is Parthenocissus quinquefolia, better known as Virginia creeper. Virginia creeper is a vine and is sometimes confused with poison ivy but it differs from poison ivy in that it is generally composed of five leaflets instead of 3. Virginia creeper’s leaves are palmately compound, composed of five leaflets, and have serrated margins. Virginia creeper has a coefficient of conservatism of 2. One interesting fact about this plant is that its fruit contains oxalic acid and is harmful to humans if ingested but birds can eat the fruit with no problem.


Special Fen Plants


Common Ninebark

This plant is Physocarpus opulifolius, also known as common ninebark. Common ninebark is a flowering plant in the Rosaceae family. The flowers of common ninebark are white with five rounded petals and occur in clusters. The flowers along with the alternately arranged leaves with serrated margins allows for the identification of common ninebark. Common ninebark has a coefficient of conservatism of 4. This plant is called ninebark because of its unique exfoliating bark that peels back in thin layers as the branches mature.

Swamp Birch

This is Betula pumila, also known as swamp birch or dwarf birch. Swamp birch is a deciduous shrub in the Betulaceae family. Swamp birch can be identified by its alternately arranged rounded leaves with toothed margins, in addition with its red-brown colored bark. Swamp birch has a coefficient of conservation of 10, meaning this plant has a very low tolerance for environmental degradation. Swamp birch is generally a calciphile that is found in open and forested wetland environments.

Marsh Marigold

This is Caltha palustris, also called Marsh-marigold. Marsh-marigold is a flowering plant in the Ranunculaceae family. This plant can be identified by its unique leaves which are heart shaped with a deep notch and have fine serrations. When the plant is flowering it has bright yellow flowers with a glossy appearance. Marsh-marigold has a coefficient of conservatism of 6. Marsh-marigold primarily grows in marshes, fens, swamps, wet woods, and swamps.

Prairie Dock

This is Silphium terebinthinaceum, more commonly known as prairie dock. Prairie dock is a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. Prairie dock can be identified by its large serrated leaves, its tall height, and when its flowering its yellow petaled flowers. Prairie dock has a coefficient of conservatism of 8, meaning it has a low tolerance for environmental degradation. Prairie dock tends to have leaves oriented in the north to south direction, meaning the broad part of the leaf faces east to west to maximize sunlight exposure for photosynthesis.