Below you will find a collection of eight trees that I photographed while adventuring around various areas including parks, small towns, neighborhoods, and even in my own backyard. I enjoyed exploring nature and documenting all of the different types of trees that I encountered along the way. I came away from this assignment with not only a better understanding of specific trees, but a new appreciation for the profoundly important ecological role trees play in forests, parks, and even neighborhoods and cities.
After this assignment I certainly have a better understanding of what Gabriel Popkins was talking about in his article Cure Yourself of Tree Blindness. When I started doing this assignment I thought the task of identifying trees would be tedious and quite challenging, but in hindsight, I realize that spending time outside is much more enjoyable when you know a little bit about the world around you. In the article Gabriel says that “suddenly the largest, most conspicuous creatures in my environment were no longer strangers”. I like this because it made me realize how ignorant I was about these giant organisms sitting in my own backyard.
This tree is Carya ovata, also known as Shagbark Hickory. The leaves of this tree are pinnately compounded with leaflets in groups of five. The leaves, in combination with this trees unique bark, allowed me to identify it as Shagbark Hickory. I photographed this picture in a wooded area at a park near my house. Hickory trees play an important ecological role in the food supply of some animals.
This tree is Aesculus glabra, it is more commonly known as Ohio Buckeye. The Ohio Buckeye’s leaves are oppositely arranged and palmately compound. The leaves structure, along with the fact that I am very familiar with this plant as it is common sighting around Ohio, allowed me to quickly identify this tree as Ohio Buckeye. I found this tree next to a creek as I was walking in a wooded area just outside of town. An interesting fact about this tree is that while it is poisonous to some animals such as humans and cattle, it is consumed by others such as the eastern fox squirrel.
This is the tree Populus deltoids, also called Eastern Cottonwood, Common Cottonwood, or simply Cottonwood. The leaves of this tree are alternatively arranged, simple, deltoid (triangular), and have coarsely- toothed leaves. These factors taken together suggest that this tree is in fact Eastern Cottonwood. I photographed this tree right next to a creek at the edge of a wooded area right behind my house. These trees are most commonly found next to rivers or streams, which likely explains why I found it next to a creek. An interesting fact about Eastern Cottonwood is that they are are dioecious, meaning each plant has either male or females reproductive organs.
This is Fagus grandifolia, better known as North American Beech or American Beech. The leaves are alternately arranged and are simple in complexity, dark green, and coarsely-toothed. The leaves, in combination with the smooth light-gray bark of the tree, allowed for its identification as American Beech. I encountered this tree in a shady, forested area of a park. Beech is considered very tolerant to shade and often lives in the forest understory.
This tree appears to be Prunus serotina, also known as Black Cherry tree. The leaves of the Black Cherry tree are alternatively arranged, simple, have a dark green color, appear shiny, and the margins have many small serrations. Together, these factors suggest that the tree is likely a Black Cherry tree. I photographed this tree in my own backyard, in a clearing where it has full exposure to the sun. Black Cherry can quickly invade an area due to its rapid rate of fruit production and distribution of its seeds from mammals and birds.
This is Acer ginnala, better known as Amur Maple, or Siberian Maple. The leaves of this tree are simple in complexity, oppositely arranged, lobed, and have a shiny/glossy appearance, which help identify it as Amur Maple. This tree was photographed in a small wooded area in my neighborhood. Amur Maple is a potentially invasive species that was introduced from Asia and have been used as an ornamental plant.
I believe this tree is Tilia americana , also known as American Basswood. It was challenging to get a species for this tree but I think this comes the closest. The leaves are simple in complexity and alternatively arranged, the leaves have a distinctive heart-like shape, have finely toothed margins, and have uneven bases. I found this tree in my neighborhood right next to a wooded area. Basswoods produce a large amount of nectar and in some parts of its range it is known as the bee-tree.
This tree belongs to the genus Quercus, but I am not certain which species. I suspect that it is Quercus rubra, also called Red Oak or Northern Red Oak. The leaves are alternatively arranged and simple in complexity, there are many lobes with small bristles at the ends, and the leaves appear somewhat glossy. This tree was photographed at a park, in the clearing of a wooded area. Oak trees play an important ecological role as their acorns are eaten by many different animals. An interesting fact about Red Oaks is that acorn production generally does not occur until the tree is 20 to 25 years old.