Darby Creek Marsh

The marsh we visited at Darby Creek did not look like a traditional marsh. This marsh is a restored farm field. It was mostly flat with low spots that were partially inundated. Common plants included Cattail, Willow, Cottonwood, various types of rushes, and many kinds of grass. Picture below is another common marsh plant, a Sycamore (Planus occidentalis). Sycamores prefer to have wet roots and are often seen growing in riparian zones and at the edge of marshes.

Battelle Darby Prairie

The prairie at Battelle Darby was also restored. Plants that dominated this prairie were Goldenrod, Prairie Dock, Big blue stem, Wild Rye, Indiangrass, and Switchgrass. There were also presence of several species of Oak trees along the edges, though we did not find a Bur Oak. Pictured below is Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum). It has large flat leaves with a separate stem for fruits (not pictured).

Cedar Bog

Cedar Bog is actually a Fen. A bog gets its water primarily from rainfall and loses it through evaporation. Dead plants pile up, creating a buildup of peat moss. This also stains the water brown. A fen on the other hand, has water moving through the system. Water enters through a spring and leaves through streams and is clear.  Cedar Bog has bedrock made up from limestone carved out by the ancient Teays River. Above that is glacial till (sand, gravel) that is saturated with water (aquifer). This water seeps up through gaps in clay and runs out of the fen (not a bog) through streams. In addition, the bog sits between two end moraines. These moraines formed when glaciers hit the bedrock hills in Bellefontaine causing them to fold. These formed lines on the east and west forming a valley (where cedar bog sits).

My assignment was to find two plants with opposite leaves. The first I found was a Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra). Black Ash looks similar to the other ashes, though it has more leaflets. It also has a longer terminal bud than most ashes. Black Ashes produce samaras for seeds. Adult Black Ash trees are difficult to find due to impacts of the emerald ash borer.

The second plant I found was Honeysuckle (Lonicera mackii). Honeysuckle can be recognized by its “cat scratch” bark, the lack of a pith, and an arc shaped growth pattern. Honeysuckle is a shrub and grows in brushy areas. It is a very common invasive and often creates ecological traps. Honeysuckle grows leaves early causing birds to nest in it even though it is unsuitable for nesting, leading to high rates of nest failure.