Griggs Reservoir Park is a relatively popular spot located along the Scioto River about 3 miles west of Ohio States campus. The park offers boating, trails, and even a disc-golf course. There were many trees scattered throughout the park including multiple oaks and beeches. The site had a densely vegetated riparian zone that was moderately sloped. Most vegetation was found along the bank edge, but the park did have some man-made areas where many species were growing.



Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis

Family: Cannabaceae

Hackberry is a tree that has unique bark and prefers soils high in limestone. Hackberry has wart-like bark (as seen above) and were used as barrel hoops as well as wood flooring in early civilization.

American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis

Family: Platanaceae

This tolerant sycamore is one of the most massive within the northeastern part of America. Its primitive uses include Native American canoes and is now used commercially for furniture and barrels.


Common buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis

Family: Rubiaceae

This shrub is known to grow best in wet soils (which makes sense because it was found close to the river’s edge), though it can adapt to a variety of soil types. The flowers make a densely packed sphere, with the individual styles extending beyond the flower giving the ball a spikey look.

Swamp rose, Rosa palustris

Family: Rosaceae

Swamp rose is another shrub I found close to the rivers edge, as it prefers wet soils. The fruits have small white dots on them called stalked glands and the flower can be a beautiful shade of light pink.


Buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica

Family: Rhamnaceae

Buckthorn is considered an invasive species, but its fruits help the digestive system of birds that, in turn, disperse its seeds. Do not try the fruits yourself though, they can cause stomach pains and diarrhea for humans.

American pokeweed, Phytolacca americana

Family: Phytolaccaceae

This cool plant really grabs your attention and has surprisingly had several uses despite being poisonous to humans. Many antiviral chemicals have come from pokeweed and Native Americans used the berries to make dyes.

Poison Ivy!

Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans

Family: Anacardiaceae

This tricky plant has caused many painful rashes but can be avoided by watching out for a few key characteristics. First, obviously “leaves of 3, leave it be” applies, but don’t get it confused with Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), which looks very similar but can have 3 OR 5 leaves (and is okay to touch). Also, the leaves may appear to have a shiny-look to them. Additionally, poison ivy can crawl up trees via thick, hairy vines so do not touch vines on trees that have small hairs extending from both sides. Lastly, I recently learned in my Woody Plant I.D. class that poison ivy can be confused with black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis). An easy way to decipher the two is to remember black raspberry has thorns and will have a white look on the underside of the leaves and stems while poison ivy has neither.


Broom forkmoss, Dicranum scoparium Family: Dicranaceae

The broom forkmoss is a species that grows on tree bases, rotten logs, or in humus. The leaves form a lace shape and fall in one direction.

Tangled thread moss, Amblystegium varium Family: Amblystegiaceae

This moss can be found in a wide variety of habitats and can be found very easily in Ohio.

Common Greenshield Lichen Flavoparmelia caperata Family: Parmeliaceae

This species grows on a variety of trees and prefers to be in full sunlight. However, the common greenshield does not grow on rocks.

Lemon lichen Candelaria concolor Family: Calelariaceae

I found this little lichen on a black oak in an open field in Griggs Park. This species grows in full sun and is exactly common in all the U.S.

Division of Wildlife, Common Lichens of Ohio Field Guide

Species List


  1. American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis ) CC=7 Family: Platanaceae
  2. Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis L.) CC=4 Family: Ulmaceae
  3. Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia ) Family: Ulmaceae
  4. Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa (Warder) Warder ex Engelm) Family: Bignoniaceae
  5. River Birch (Betula nigra) CC=9 Family: Betualaceae
  6. Red Pine (Pinus resinosa Aiton) Family: Pinaceae
  7. Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall) CC=3 Family: Oleaceae
  8. Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina ) CC=2 Family: Anacardiaceae
  9. Black Maple (Acer nigrum Michx) Family: Sapindaceae
  10. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) CC= 3 Family: Fabaceae

Shrubs/ Woody Vines:

  1. Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris Michx) CC=5 Family: Rosaceae
  2. Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze) CC= 1 Family: Anacardiaceae
  3. Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis ) CC=6 Family: Rubiaceae
  4. Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei (Turcz.) Hand. -Mazz) Family: Celastraceae
  5. Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia ) CC= 3 Family: Vitaceae


  1. American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana ) CC= 1 Family: Phytolaccaceae
  2. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quenquifolia (L.) Planch) CC=2 Family: Vitaceae
  3. Common Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) Family: Asteraceae
  4. Baldwins Ironweed (Vernonia baldwinii) Family: Asteraceae
  5. Common Blue Wood-Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium (L.) G.L. Nesom) Family: Asteraceae
  6. Late Boneset (Eupatorium serotinum ) Family: Asteraceae
  7. False Sunflower ( Heliopsis helianthoides) CC=5 Family: Asteraceae
  8. Common Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus L.) Family: Scrophulariaceae
  9. Honeyvine (Cynanchum laeve (Michx.) Pers.) Family: Apocynaceae
  10. Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) CC=4 Family: Asteraceae
  11. Giant Goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) CC=3 Family: Asteraceae
  12. Wheat (Triticum aestivum) Family: Poaceae
  13. Rayless Leafcup (Polymnia canadensis) CC=5 Family: Asteraceae
  14. Lesser Burdock (Arctium minus) Family: Asteraceae
  15. Virginia Wild-Rye (Elymus virginicus) CC=3 Family: Poaceae
  16. Pennsylvania Smartweed (Persicaria pensylvanica (L.) M. Gomez) Family: Polygonaceae
  17. Drummonds Aster (Symphyotrichum drummondii ex Hook) Family: Asteraceae
  18. Broom Forkmoss (Dicranum scoparium) CC=3 Family: Dicranaceae
  19. Tangled Thread Moss (Amblystegium varium (Hedw.) Lindb.) CC=2 Family: Amblystegiaceae
  20. Lemon Lichen (Canadelania concolor (Dicks.) Stein) Family: Candelariaceae
  21. Common Greenshield Lichen (Flavoparmelia carperata (L.) Hale) Family: Parmeliaceae
  22. Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) CC=0 Family: Poaceae
  23. Clearweed (Pilea pumila (L.) A. Gray) CC=2 Family: Poaceae
  24. Canada Goldenrod (Solidago altissima) Family: Asteraceae
  25. Mulberry Weed (Fatoua villosa (Thunberg) Nakai) Family: Moraceae


River Birch (Betula nigra L.) CC=9 Family: Betualaceae

The river birch is cool looking tree that has peeling bark and somewhat diamond-shaped leaves. The tree can be grown in floodplains, wetlands, dry soils, and even freshwater shores. Many bird species, such as waterfowl, use this tree as a nesting spot. Native Americans boiled the sap and used it as a sweetener and ate the inner bark when food was scarce.

American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis L.) CC=7 Family: Platanaceae

The American sycamore are fairly distinct tree having patterned white and gray bark and serrated simple leaves. This sycamore can reach huge sizes ranging from 30 to 40 meters in height and 1 to 2 meters in diameter. Interestingly, older sycamore trees can be hollow and provide shelter for many animal species.


American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana L.) CC= 1 Family: Phytolaccaceae

One of my favorite plants, the American pokeweed has been used in medicine and as food (sorta). The young leaves can be eaten once they have been boiled of their toxins and have also been used for their antiviral properties. Birds use the berries as a food source though they are poisonous to humans. The berries have also been used to make dyes.

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quenquifolia (L.) Planch) CC=2 Family: Vitaceae

This woody vine is established in many ecosystems in Ohio ranging from forests to man-made environments. It climbs using tendrils and has glossy compound leaves that at times can resemble poison ivy (when its leaves stray from their usual 5-parted growth).

**(Bear with me on this picture. There was Virginia creeper all along the woody edges, and I could’ve sworn I took a closer-up picture)

Floristic Quality Assessment Index

(Sum of CCi)/ (sqrt. (# native species))

(73)/ (sqrt. (20)) = 16.3