Poison ivy

(Toxicodendron radicans)

Poison ivy occurs in leaves of three as the rhyme suggests. Although more accurately it is leaflets of three. The leaves are compound and the leaflets are softly serrated. The photo of poison ivy I got is of a very young seedling, but as they grow older they start to vine up trees. the vines are very close to the trunk of the tree and latch on with hair-like growths. So the larger vines almost look hairy. The chemical found in poison ivy that makes it so poisonous and acts as a skin irritant is called urushiol.  It is an oil so simply rubbing or rinsing your skin will not get rid of it. It has to be washed off with soap.

Black mulberry

(Morus nigra)

The leaves on the mulberry are very characteristic. There are both un-lobed and lobed leaves.  All of the leaves though are toothed. They are simple and alternate. The berries on this tree are edible once ripe, but the unripened berries are not, at least not in larger quantities.

Green ash

(Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

Unfortunately I was not able to find an alive fully grown tree. Due to the emerald ash borer all of the older trees are dead. The photo I have is instead if a sapling that is currently growing next to a fully grown, dead ash tree. Ashes have compound leaves with leaflets that are entire. The leaves are opposite which is one of the few tree species with opposite leaves. The thing that helps me with identification though is the little “Hershey kiss” buds. From there I look at the leaf scar and noticed that the bud sits on top of the leaf scar and is therefore most likely a green ash.

Riverbank grape

(Vitis riperia)

This is a woody vine. In the first photo the grape vine has almost entirely taken over the tree. The leaves are simple and alternate. They are serrated and lobed. The newer vine growths are green and the older growths take on a more woody and thick texture. The woody vine almost looks flaky and it hangs away from the tree, unlike poison ivy which grips onto the trunk. The berries that are grown on these vines are indeed edible, but they are not like the store bought ones we all know.


(Elaeagnus umbellata)

This shrub is an invasive species. They were originally brought into the US both as an ornamental plant and to help with erosion problems around mining areas. The leaves are alternate and simple. The leaves are entire and have a silvery underside with small reddish dots. In the fall they have these small red berries that are delicious! They are rather tart though.

Common dandelion

(Taraxacum officinales)

It is on page 362 in Newcomb’s Wildflowers

Common name: Common dandelion Scientific name: Taraxacum officinales

Corolla:  number of petals  separate or  fused? Fused

Calyx:    number of sepals  Many  separate or fused?   Fused

Adroecium: number of stamens  Many separate, fused or arranged in any special way?

Gynoecium type: apocarpus(and # of carpels = 1)
How can you tell?  1 carpel, many pistils

Flower type/ovary position: Hypogynous, or  perigynous or epigynous?

Flower symmetry: actinomorphic (regular) or zygomorphic (irregular)?

Additional distinctive features:

Common daisy

(Bellis perennis)

It is on page 380 in Newcomb’s Wildflowers

Common name: Common daisy Scientific name: Bellis perennis

Corolla:  number of petals  manu separate or  fusedSeperate

Calyx:    number of sepals  None  separate or fused?   N/A

Adroecium: number of stamens Many separate, fused or arranged in any special way?

Gynoecium type: apocarpous (and # of carpels = 1)
How can you tell?  1 carpel and many pistils.

Flower type/ovary position: Hypogynous, or  perigynous or epigynous?

Flower symmetry: actinomorphic (regular) or zygomorphic (irregular)?

Additional distinctive features: