Welcome to my page dedicated to the botanical surveying of Gallant Woods Park in Delaware, Ohio! Here you’ll find information on some of the wide variety of species of wildflowers, shrubs, trees, and everything in between that you can find all over the lush areas of the park. Gallant Woods features several wooded paths as well as restored prairies and wetlands that provide habitat to our wonderful botanical buddies! There are 5 different walking trails for visitors to take as they bask in the natural glory, and there is even a sledding hill for some extreme wintertime fun!

Below you’ll find a trail map and picture of the park’s location:

 

Now let’s move on to the main event: THE PLANTS!

Trees

Eastern Red Cedar

Juniperus virginiana
 

The Eastern Red Cedar is characterized by not only its opposite, scale-like leaves and their simple arrangement, but also by its distinctive red coloration in its relatively softer woods. This softness makes it very easy to work with and was often used as benches and fences in colonial times, as well as dominating the pencil-making industry for well over a century before the supply started to run out. I wouldn’t recommend using it as a bench in the wild though as it’s leaves are quite prickly to the touch!

Black Locust

Robinia pseudoacacia L.

  

Black Locusts have a very distincitve set of leaves on them with their alternate pinnately compound leaves, and dark grey bark with deep furrows set in it. Even more distincitve is their fragrant white flowers that bloom in May and June, sadly far from the time these pictures were taken. The Black Locust is found in all 48 contential states in the country, including many where it is considered an invasive species, shading out other vegatation around it. This makes it a very interesting example of how a species can be found invasive on a continent that it is in fact native to!

Shrubs

Tatarian Honeysuckle

Lonicera tatarica

These shrubs have opposite leaf arrangements for their ovoid and smooth, blue-green leaves. As you can see above, the fruits are sphereical red berries that come from tubular pinkish flowers that pair together along the leaves, much like the berries above are. The berries from this species of honeysuckle are in fact toxic, though no human deaths have been recorded as of yet, so don’t go about being the first! Honeysuckle are invasive in most of the locations that you will find them, taking up tons of space and creating monocultures around them, someething that was painfully clear during my survey as I tried to find other species of plants.

Common Milkweed

Asclepias syriaca

Next, we have Common Milkweed, a perennial shrub whose elliptic leaves are opposite in arrangement and wonderful purplish flowers in large umbels of up to 100 flowers. Another unique thing about these plants is their fruits which are follicles that split open between September and October, making these pictures just in time to catch them in their full form. While technically edible these fruits require you to boil them so that the sap that is toxic in large quantities loses this trait, however, it is still far from recommended to go around eating milkweed. Instead, you can use the fruit to make coma which is nowadays used to create pillows and comforters!

Flowering or Fruiting Plants

Canada Goldenrod

Solidago canadensis

  

Field Thistle

Cirsium arvense

  

Poison Ivy

Finally, it is important for anyone walking the trails at Gallant Woods to be aware of Poison Ivy and how to identify this nasty little pest. Poison ivy always has compound leaflets in groups of threes with the middle two leaflets forming directly off the stalk. For this remember “Leaves of three? Leave them be”. The leaves are also often smooth or coarsely toothed but not fully lobed or serrated and generally look smooth, glossy, or shiny on top. It is important to avoid contact with these plants as they will cause an extremely uncomfortable and itchy rash along human skin. If you do end up brushing against one try and wash the affected area with soap and water as quickly as possible to alleviate the effects. Be safe out there!

CofC Indexing of Gallant Woods

  • Eastern Red Cedar – 3
  • Black Locust – 0
  • White Ash – 6
  • Sugar Maple – 5
  • American Elm – 2
  • American Beech – 7
  • Blue Ash – 7
  • White Oak – 6
  • Service Tree – 6
  • Shagbark Hickory – 6
  • Bush Honeysuckle – 0
  • Northern Spicebush – 5
  • Virginia Creeper – 2
  • Alpine Currant – 3
  • Black Hawk Viburnum – 4
  • Common Milkweed – 1
  • Goldenrod – 1
  • Field Thistle – 4
  • Canadian Blacksnakeroot – 7
  • Jumpseed – 3

Floristic Quality Assessment Index: 17.4 = 78/sqrt(20)

Higher CC Values

American Beech

American beech is a sturdy, imposing tree, 50-80 ft. tall, with a maximum height of 120 ft. Its bark is very smooth and light gray, remaining so as the tree ages. Large tree with a rounded crown of many long, spreading, and horizontal branches, producing edible beechnuts.  These perennial trees with simple leaves likely were the first object a page of European Literature was written on.

Blue Ash

An amazing character that you’ll see every once in a while on this site, this unassuming tree can end up growing well between 50 to 80 feet tall at maturity and its bark is extremely rough to the touch. It has opposite, pinnately compound leaves and its fruits are samaras, winged seeds! Blue Ash is far more likely to produce perfect flowers than those in its immediate family, and so it is the most likely to self pollinate and show us those wonderful samaras.

White Oak

The white oak is a large, strong, imposing specimen. It has a short stocky trunk with massive horizontal limbs. The wide-spreading branches form an upright, broad-rounded crown. The bark is light ashy gray, scaly or shallow furrowed, variable in appearance, often broken into small, narrow, rectangular blocks and scales. Wood from this type of tree was even utilized in the construction of the USS Constitution!

Shagbark Hickory

Shagbark hickory trees derive their unique name from the interesting peeling bark they bear. Strips of the tree’s exterior will jut out from one or both ends, curling outward and providing the trunk with a lot of texture. In addition, the wood of the tree is very hard—it’s used to make ax handles, baseball bats, and other products that demand tough lumber. Its leaves are entire and pinnately compound off the branches, pretty standard for an otherwise eye-catching tree, it’s pretty easy to see why this unique specimen has a fairly high CC value it just livens up the whole locale!

Lower CC Values

Eastern Red Cedar

The Eastern Red Cedar is characterized by not only its opposite, scale-like leaves and their simple arrangement, but also by its distinctive red coloration in its relatively softer woods. This softness makes it very easy to work with and was often used as benches and fences in colonial times, as well as dominating the pencil-making industry for well over a century before the supply started to run out. I wouldn’t recommend using it as a bench in the wild though as its leaves are quite prickly to the touch! It makes pretty decent sense why these trees are so low in their CC value, why just on this page you can find three of them. They certainly don’t add too much to the botanical wonder of the site, but they are still wondrous sights themselves.

Black Locust

Black Locusts have a very distinctive set of leaves on them with their alternate pinnately compound leaves, and dark grey bark with deep furrows set in it. Even more, distinctive is their fragrant white flowers that bloom in May and June, sadly far from the time these pictures were taken. The Black Locust is found in all 48 potential states in the country, including many where it is considered an invasive species, shading out other vegetation around it. This makes it a very interesting example of how a species can be found invasive on a continent that it is in fact native too!

American Elm

Three distinct habits are recognized including the vase-shaped form in which the trunk divides into several erect limbs strongly arched above and terminating in numerous slender, pendulous branchlets. A more wide-spreading and less arching form occurs, as well as a narrow form with branchlets clothing the entire trunk. The species usually grows 60-80 ft. Dark-green leaves have variable fall colors. This well-known, once abundant species, familiar on lawns and city streets, has been ravaged by the Dutch Elm disease, caused by a fungus introduced accidentally about 1930 and spread by European and native elm bark beetles. The wood is used for containers, furniture, and paneling.

Virginia Creeper

A woody, deciduous vine, Virginia Creeper can be high-climbing or trailing, 3-40 ft.; the structure on which it climbs is the limiting factor. Virginia Creeper climbs by means of tendrils with disks that fasten onto bark or rock. Its leaves, with 5 leaflets, occasionally 3 or 7, radiating from the tip of the petiole, coarsely toothed, with a pointed tip, and tapered to the base, up to 6 inches long. In years past, children learned a rhyme to help distinguish Virginia Creeper from the somewhat similar-looking and highly toxic Poison Ivy  “Leaves of three, let it be; Leaves of five, let it thrive.” Poison Ivy leaflets are normally in groups of three, while those of Virginia Creeper are in groups of five. The berries of Virginia Creeper can be harmful if ingested, however, and the rest of the plant contains raphides, which irritate the skin of some people.

Invasive Species

Multiflora Rose

Multiflora rose is a thorny shrub with arching stems (canes). The compound leaves are divided into 5-11 sharply toothed leaflets. The base of each leaf stalk bears a pair of fringed stipules. In late spring, clusters of showy, fragrant, white to pale pink flowers appear; each flower about an inch across.  It was originally imported to help prevent soil erosion and create natural fences, seems like it was a little too good at its job.

Japanese Stiltgrass

Stiltgrass is identifiable by its pale green, lance-shaped leaves that have a silvery stripe of reflective hairs along the midrib of the upper leaf surface. The leaves are alternate and range in length from 1 to 3 inches. Stiltgrass resembles bamboo, but its stems are thin and wiry and can be green, purple, or brown. This plant primarily spreads between sites through its seeds sticking to the boots of hikers and nature goers alike and relying on them to transport these specimens all over the country.

Canada Thistle

Canada Thistle | Project Noah

Canada thistle is an herbaceous perennial with erect stems 1½-4 feet tall, prickly leaves, and an extensive creeping rootstock. Stems are branched, often slightly hairy, and ridged. Leaves are lance-shaped, irregularly lobed with spiny, toothed margins, and are borne singly and alternately along the stem. It can even reproduce both through its thousands of seeds and through vegetative cloning!

Garlic Mustard

Biological control of garlic mustard - CABI.org

Garlic mustard is a biennial herb that emits a garlic-like odor from crushed leaves. In the first year, a rosette of kidney-shaped leaves hug the ground and remain green throughout the winter. Sharply-toothed, triangular leaves form on the 2-4 foot tall flower stem during the second year. White flowers with four petals bloom in clusters at the end of the stem from late April to mid-June. Garlic mustard was originally used as a vegetable because of its high concentrations of vitamin A and C. It lends a garlicky flavor to food.

Substrate Associated Species

American Hornbeam

A fine-textured tree that is related to the birches, the American hornbeam is the only North American native of the genus Carpinus and a wonderful addition to a natural landscape. It tolerates flooding quite well as well as attracting songbirds to their forked branches and tasty seeds. With simple and alternate leaves, this 20 to 40-foot tree fits well in any yard, or you’ll find a use for the wood for golf clubs and mallets. Forsynth labels this tree as preferring limy substrates of western Ohio and so it makes perfect sense to find this specimen here!

 

Eastern Red Cedar

Look familiar! Great because our very own Eastern Red Cedar that we discussed earlier also loves the limey substrate that western Ohio brings to the dirt table. Jane Forsynth is 2 for 2 at Gallant Woods so far!

Blue Ash

She does it again! This unassuming tree can end up growing well between 50 to 80 feet tall at maturity and its bark is extremely rough to the touch. It has opposite, pinnately compound leaves and its fruits are samaras, winged seeds! Blue Ash is far more likely to produce perfect flowers than those in its immediate family, and so it is the most likely to self pollinate and show us those wonderful samaras. Blue Ash loves itself the limey substrate so this is another perfect fit!

Hackberry

And to round out our limey lineup we have the exact opposite of one Miss Forsynth. This tree has spearhead-shaped, alternately arranged, and pinnately compound leaves and grows anywhere from 13 to 24 inches each year, reaching up to 60 feet high at maturity. It produces dark red drupes that persist during winter, providing food for many winter birds. In the 17th century, the Hackberry’s wood was used for flooring in old houses. Four for four in the lime category might as well be at Wendy’s!

References:

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=fagr

https://www.thespruce.com/shagbark-hickory-trees-2132090

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carya_ovata

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ulam

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=PAQU2

https://www.oipc.info/invasive-plants-of-ohio.html