Griggs Reservoir: Columbus, Ohio

40.01505°  N, 83.09296 ° W

Griggs Reservoir Park or Griggs Reservoir for short is a beautiful 521 acre park located in the northwest area of Columbus.  The park butts up the Scioto River This park is maintained by the city of Columbus. Griggs Reservoir park boasts a number of attractions such as: fishing, a dam, picnic areas, a frisbee golf course, an amphitheater, a boat launch, a playground, and miles of walking and biking trails that run along the river. The dam that lies at the north end of the park was constructed in 1904.

The landscape and the ecology of Griggs Reservoir is influenced by the river. The park is hilly and tends to slope down towards the river itself. The park is home to numerous plants and animals and has proved a beautiful place to fish. The river runs north to south and its banks are crowded with plant life. The plant life extends to the top of the hill to the road that runs north to south as well. Shaded trails cut through the forest to display a diverse microecosystem.

BEWARE! Poison Ivy present (Toxicodendron radicans):

Resources: Ohiodnr,

Griggs Reservoir Species List & FQAI


Common Name: Scientific Name: Native Status:
1 Eastern Black Walnut Juglans nigra Native 5
2 American Basswood Tilia americana L. Native 6
3 Riverbank Grape Vitis riparia Native 3
4 Common Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica L. Invasive 0
5 Tall Boneset Eupatorium altissimum Native 0
6 Wingstem Actinomeris alternifolia Native 5
7 Poison Ivy Toxicodendron radicans Native 1
8 American Sycamore Platanus occidentalis Native 7
9 Amur Honeysuckle Lonicera maackii Invasive 0
10 Awl Aster Symphyotrichum pilosum Native 1
11 Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica Native 3
12 Gray Dogwood Cornus racemosa Native 1
13 Giant Ragweed Ambrosia trifida Native 0
14 Eastern redbud Cercis canadensis Native 3
15 Common nine bark Physocarpus opulifolius Native 4
16 Silver maple Acer saccharinum Native 3
17 American elm Ulmus americana Native 2
18 Chestnut Oak Quercus prinus Native 7
19 Box elder Acer negundo Native 3
20 Sugar maple Acer saccharum Native 5
21 Chinquapin oak Quercus muehlenbergii Native 7
22 Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata Invasive 0
23 Tree-Of-Heaven Ailanthus altissima Invasive 0


I = the FQAI score

CCi= the coefficient of conservatism of plant species

 Nnative = the total number of native species occurring in the community being evaluated

Source: Andreas et al. (2004).

Nnative = 19

I = ((69/(sqrt(19)))= 15.83

FQAI= 15.83

Four High & Low CC Values:


American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)-

The roots of the Eastern Black Walnut secrete a natural herbicide, juglone. Juglone inhibits the growth of many plants and animals that are within reach of its roots, which can be up to 50 feet from the base of the tree. Settlers of the United States used to place the drupes of the Eastern Black Walnut into meals such as: soups, stews, baked goods.

Resources:, The Peterson Field Guide





Chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)-

The Chinquapin Oak is unlike most oaks because its leaves are not deeply lobed and because it has pointed lobes, similar to American Beech. The Chinquapin Oak  Differs from American Beech by its larger leaves  and its fissured, flakey bark. This species of oak is commonly known to hybridize with other oak species. Also, Chinquapin Oak becomes intolerant of shade as it ages.

The Chinquapin Oak is known for having a relatively high CC value of 7 because it is a substrate dependent plant. The Chinquapin oak prefers areas that are atop of limestone bed rock. The limey substrate is perfect for the success of the Chinquapin Oak. Other than that, the Chinquapin Oak is not very successful in other substrates, hence its CC value.


Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus)-


Chestnut Oak is distinctive by its shallow lobes. Unlike any other Oak, Chestnut Oak has triangular cross-sectioned bark with furrows. Interestingly, the genetics of this tree are superior to that of other trees. Chestnut Oak is free of major pests and other diseases.

Source: Ohiodnr

American Basswood (Tilia americana L.) –

American Basswood is a medium to large tree growing from 50 to 80 feet tall. The leaves are simple in complexity and arranged alternately. The leaves themselves are a somewhat of a heart shape with an uneven base. The margins of the leaves are finely toothed. From June to August, this tree boasts small yellow flowers with multiple male reproductive parts and a single ovary. The fruits are found in clusters and are ovular in shape.

The American Basswood is interesting because it is a preferred stop for many animals to eat. The White-tailed deer stops to browse on vegetation, while birds and small mammals are seen eating its fruit. Bees are known to use hallow American Basswoods to store honey for Honey Bees.

Resources: Towson, The Peterson Field Guide



Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) – 

Poison Ivy is a poisonous plant that has many features  that make it avoidable and some of them are: leaf shape, appearance, and leaf complexity. If you know these you should be safe. Lets take a look.

Poison Ivy has compound leaves with leaflets in bunches of three. This is where the old saying “leaves of three? let them be” comes from. The margin of the leaflets can be anywhere from complete to finely serrated. The surface of the leaves are noticeably waxy, dull, and commonly appears red or brown. Poison Ivy is commonly a vine or bush found in semi- shaded areas. I captured a picture to help identify Poison Ivy.






Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) –

Giant Ragweed is a rough stemmed plant with leaves opposite. The leaves have 3 to 5 lobes, which are also rough. The leaves are deeply lobed. Interestingly, Giant Rag weed is a cause of the spread of hay fever via its pollen.

Source: Crop

Tall Boneset (Eupatorium altissimum) –

Tall Boneset is a dull white inflorescence with opposite leaves. Tall Boneset has short stemmed lance shaped leaves. Tall Boneset has clusters of flowers arranged in a flat-topped configuration. The head of each cluster only has five florets. Common Boneset and Late Boneset are very similar inflorescence but can be distinguished by its leaves.

Resources: Mdc, Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide





Awl Aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum) –

Awl Aster, or commonly called Frost Aster, is a native perennial that can grow up to 4 feet tall. Awl Aster prefers full sun and is known to grow in wet or dry areas. The leaves are alternate and the margins are entire. The leaves and the stem are both covered in tiny hairs. The plant produces white flowers. Poorly drained clay soils can lead to a susceptibility to aster wilt.

The Awl Aster is known for its very low CC value. This plant has the ability to grow in a variety of substrates. It is also capable of growing in a range of environments from dry to wet and everything in between. This plant is often found in disturbed areas such as the cracks of side walks. This is why the Awl Aster has a recorded low CC value.

Source: Plants.cse

Invasive Species:

Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica L.) –

The Common Buckthorn is an invasive shrub that is native to Europe and Asia. This shrub has the ability to reach heights of 20 of more feet. The leaves are simple in complexity and opposite in arrangement. Interestingly, this shrubs leaves can also be seen as alternate. The beautiful leaves of  Common Buckthorn are pearly green  and elliptical in shape. The flowers are small and green. The fruits of the  Common Buckthorn are dark berries that are plentiful all over the shrub.

There are many aspects of the  Common Buckthorns biology that make it well suited to be invasive. For example, the  Common Buckthorn seeds can be viable after lying in the soil for  up to six years. The seeds get dispersed well by animals over large distances. Interestingly,  Common Buckthorn has the ability to reproduce asexually via sprouting allowing it more opportunity to take over. Lastly, this shrub has the ability to grow in most areas despite the amount of sun. It is found both in shady areas and in open fields.

Resources:, The Peterson Field Guide


Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) –

Amur Honeysuckle is a deciduous bush that has dark green, opposite leaves. The leaves or ovate and come to a pointed tip. The bush is capable of growing up to 15 feet tall. The piths of the older twigs are hallow.  This bush is easily identifiable in the fall because of its dark red berries. In the spring the Amur Honeysuckles bloom an abundance of tubular flowers. The Amur Honeysuckle is native to China, East Russia, Korea, and Japan.

Source: Oipc





Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) – 

Garlic Mustard is a herb introduced from Europe for medicinal purposes in the 1800’s. It is a biennial herb that grows kidney shaped leaves and remains throughout the winter. Triangular toothed leaves grow o the top portion of the plant along with small white flowers. Garlic Mustard can grow in a number of areas such as: floodplains, savannahs, woodlands, pastures, and lawns.

Source: Oipc

Tree-Of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) –

The Tree-Of-Heaven is a rapidly growing invasive tree that can reach heights of 80 feet. The leaves of Tree-Of-Heaven are pinnately compound with 11-41 leaflets. The margin of the leaflets are entire. The Tree-Of-Heaven is distinct for its bundles of winged fruit in the late summer and early fall as well as its yellow  flower clusters in the spring. The Tree-Of-Heaven was introduced to the United States in Philadelphia in 1784 from China.

Substrate Dependent Plants:

Chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus)

Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) – 

Sugar maple – (Acer saccharum) –

According to Forysth, these trees are generally distributed to areas of high amounts of limestone substrate as well as the high-lime, clay-rich substrates. Because there are trees with both preferences, I believe that the substrate of my survey site is high in limestone and scattered clay deposits. This makes sense because the plants that are generally limited to the clay-rich areas are clumped together in the same area.