We are surrounded by a plethora of trees nearly everywhere we go, and Ohio is host to so many different types of trees. Trees are similar to humans in the way that they all vary in size and shape. Trees also have many other qualities that can make them different from one another. A few such qualities are whether the leaves are simple or complex, as well as if the leaves are arranged alternately or oppositely. With so many different characteristics, many different combinations can be made, which gives us all the trees that we see everyday! On my adventure to find various types of trees, I went to Whetstone park and took a long walk. While on my journey, I saw countless trees of a wide variety. Below I have listed, shown, and described 8 of the trees I discovered and identified. I hope you enjoy!
The first tree that I identified was a Sycamore, or Platanus occidentalis. As seen below, Sycamores have their leaves arranged alternately and they are simple in complexity. The leaves are lobed, with widely toothed edges.
I found this tree in Whetstone Park, in a grassy, tree covered field area. The environment it was found in was wooded, but not heavily enough to be considered a forest. The USDA Plant guide mentions that in the past Native Americans used the sycamore for a variety of medicinal purposes including for remedies to the common cold and cough, as well as for respiratory issues and many more.
The second tree that I discovered and identified was a maple. The genus of maple trees is Acer. Maples have leaves that are opposite in arrangement and simple in complexity. They are lobed, like fingers on a hand, and the leaf margin is serrated. I saw this tree in a very wooded section of Whetstone park with a lot of other vegetation surrounding it. It was in a forest area, as can be seen in the above photos. An interesting fact about maples, according to Britannica, is that their wood is very dense and hard, which makes it wonderful to use in furniture making.
The third type of tree I came across was a Pawpaw, or Asimina.
Papaws have simple leaves that are arranged alternately. As you can see below, they are very large in size and have an oval or ellipse shape to them. The leaf margin is smooth and not toothed. I found this tree in Whetstone Park, behind the tree line and near the bank of a dried up stream. It was somewhat hidden under the canopy from the larger surrounding trees. According to the National Parks Service, the pawpaw tree produces the largest edible fruit that is native to North America. This fruit ripens in late summer into early fall and is enjoyed by both humans, and a variety of small mammals such as foxes and opossums.
The fourth type of tree I stumbled upon was a willow, or Salix.
Willow trees have thin, long leaves that are alternately arranged and simple. They are also very finely toothed on the leaf margin.This tree was located also near the bank of a stream, and in Whetstone park. It was not surrounded by as much vegetation as some of the others trees I observed, and there was little grass growing beneath it. According to Britannica, willow trees aid in preventing erosion as well as provide Salicin. Salicylic acid is derived from Salicin, which is used in various pain relievers.
The next tree I identified was a catalpa, or Catalpa.
Catalpas have the same common name and genus. Their leaves are arranged in whorls, commonly of three, and are simple. They are fairly large and are a heart shape with a smooth leaf margin. I found this tree in Whetstone park, along the bank of a full stream. The area below the tree was quite sandy, and the tree was growing in the partial understory of the forest. It was beneath some other larger trees, but was still exposed to the sunlight above. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the catalpa produces clusters of white flowers that attract various important organisms throughout summer, such as hummingbirds and bees.
The sixth tree I discovered on my adventure was a walnut, or Juglans.
The leaves of walnut trees are compound and are arranged alternately. They are an oval or elliptical shape and have margins that are slightly serrate. This walnut tree was located again in Whetstone park, on the edge of a wildflower field. There were not many other trees directly adjacent to it, but there were more not much farther away. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the growth of the tree can vary depending on its environment. When planted around other trees, walnuts will grow straight up with very few lower branches. However when a walnut is growing in an open field or area, the tree will begin to branch out lower towards the ground, giving it a rounder shape. This can be seen in the photograph above, as the tree I found and identified was in an open area and has numerous lower branches.
The next tree I identified was a hackberry, or Celtis.
Hackberry trees have simple leaves arranged alternately. The margin is sharp and serrate. The leaves are in between an oval shape and a heart shape, and come to a point at the tip. Whetstone park was the home to this tree as well, and it was located in a dense forest patch. It was located right next to multiple other trees that were much larger than it. According to Sciencing, the hackberry tree is made up of softwood, which does not make it an ideal candidate for furniture making. Rather it is often used for firewood purposes or just simply to provide shade in an otherwise sunny area.
The last tree I found and identified on my adventure was an oak, or Quercus.
This oak tree had simple, lobed leaves that were alternately arranged. The lobes of the leaves were more pointy than rounded on the margin. I found this oak tree in a more open field setting in Whetstone park. It had numerous other trees on either side of it, but behind it was an open field. The canopy of this oak intertwined with the other nearby trees. According to Britannica, there are three major groups that oaks can be separated into. Each group varies in physical appearance and uses in different industries.