Trees and Plants with Associated CC Values

  1. American jumpseed (Polygonum virginianum) CC=3
  2. American hog-peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata) CC=4
  3. Anomodon moss (Anomodon attenuatus) CC=3
  4. Box elder (Acer negundo) CC=3
  5. Canadian clearweed (Pilea pumila) CC=2
  6. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) CC=5
  7. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) CC=1
  8. Eastern wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus) CC=3
  9. Great lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) CC=3
  10. Monkey flower (Mimulus ringens) CC=4
  11. New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) CC=2
  12. Pale touch-me-not (Impatiens pallida) CC=3
  13. Pokeweed(Phytolacca americana) CC=1
  14. Rattlesnake Fern (Botrychium virginianum) CC=4
  15. Riverbank grape (Vitis riparia) CC=3
  16. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) CC=5
  17. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) CC=2
  18. White snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum) CC=3
  19. Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia) CC=5
  20. Wood nettle (Laportea canadensis) CC=5


Using the CC values from the above species, the Floristic Quality Assessment Index for this site is 14.31.

Plants/ Tree with highest CC Values

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) CC=5

These plants rely on humming birds for pollination. Because of their flower shape, insects are not really able to help with pollination. (

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) CC=5

Another name for these trees is sugar bush as they are the preferred species out of all the other maples for making syrup due to their sap’s high sugar content and that they grow very abundantly in many  areas. (plants.usda)

opposite leaves with 5 lobes that are the same

mature sugar maple

Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia) CC=5

Herbivores tend not to eat this plant because of its undesirable flavor.  This plant can sometimes be confused with another similar flowering plant called ironweed, however ironweed stems are smooth, lacking the winged ridges that are on the main stem of wingstem. (Illinois wildflowers)

wings on main stem of wingstem



Wood nettle (Laportea canadensis) CC=5

Similar to stinging nettle, these plants have fine hairs that cause pain if touched. A way to tell these apart from the stinging nettle is their alternate leaf arrangement, whereas the stinging nettle has an opposite leaf arrangement.  (Illinois wildflowers)

wood nettle with female flowers

alternate leaves

Plants with Lowest CC values

Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) CC=1

While this plant is left alone by many animals and insects because of the toxins it produces, some insects such as monarch butterfly caterpillars are able to absorb these toxins in a way that makes them, in turn, undesirable to birds and thus they are protected.(USDA)

common milkweed with fruit capsules

Pokeweed(Phytolacca americana) CC=1

This plant is poisonous to humans and animals. The berries have less toxicity than other parts of the plant, and apparently in the past some people, in their infinite  wisdom, used it to color cheap wine. (Ohio Weedguide)

pokeweed fruits

Large pokeweed with fruits and red stem evident

Canadian clearweed (Pilea pumila) CC=2

This plant gets its name from its clear, translucent stem ( Although it looks like a nettle it does not have the stinging hairs that nettles do.(Illinois wildflowers)

Patch of Canadian clearweed growing along a path on the edge of a mature forest

It has many small green flowers and a beetle of some sort.

New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) CC=2

This flower has a long blooming period that lasts several months starting in August. It can also be grown in a variety of areas including along roads, wetlands, and prairies.(USDA)

New England aster in a prairie

Invasive Plants

Autumn olive (Eaeagnus umbellata)

These plants were widely used in the 1950s to prevent soil erosion; however, they soon became a major problem because their abundant fruit allows them to spread quickly. On a different note, their fruit can be made into jam. ( They can apparently also be made into catsup and savory sauces and are delicious, juicy. and incredibly healthy to eat fresh off the bush when they ripen after the first frost (edible pioneer valley). So let us venture forth into the woods and collect all the berries we can find to stop the spread of this tasty nuisance!

autumn olive with fruits

leaves are shinny and silvery underneath

Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)

This nasty plant has also been used for erosion control as well as natural fences for farms and pastures. It can out-compete many native plants and has become a major issue in areas along streams. (Minnesota Department of Agriculture)

Hairy stipules near main stem where leaves attach

Common teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)

These plants were once grown for use in the wool industry.  Their ability to produce many hundreds of seeds which can subsist for several years allows them to spread quickly. (Invasive Plants of Ohio) This fact makes mowing them a bad idea because it disperses the seeds (Washington State Noxious Weeds).

Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)

This plant is able to spread in different ways, through seed dispersal as well as vegetatively. This makes it very hard to control. (Invasive Plants of Ohio)

Substrate-associated Species

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

The article “Geobotany” by  Forsyth states that these trees can be found in dry limestone areas. Although there is a greater abundance of redbud in the dry upland areas, there are also some growing within the wetter areas of my survey site.

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

 Forsyth’s article states that these trees can be found in dry limestone areas as well as floodplains. I would agree with this because I found hackberry growing in the dry upland area of my site as well as in the floodplain near the river.

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

The article by  Forsyth states that these trees grow within high limestone, high clay till areas. My study area is found on the side of the glacial boundary that is known to have this kind of soil. Also, the fact that the section of my site where this tree is located is dominated by sugar maple indicates that the soil in this section is moister and most likely has a higher clay content than other areas of my study site.

Pin oak (Quercus palustris)

 Forsyth’s article states that these trees are found within high limestone, high clay areas that are swampy. The area where these trees are found shows definite signs of flooding because of the lack of any trees or plants except for those that can persist in a flooded environment, such as American elder (Sambucus canadensis).

low epicormic branching