Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

The black walnut fruit (called a walnut) is a drupe. It has  a single seed that is covered by a bony endocarp. The “stone” in the middle is surrounded by fleshy material. The exocarp is a bright green, waxy and covered with small bumps. As the fruit ripens, the fleshy material begins to darken and become loose. Walnuts have a distinct pungent odor.   A walnut flower is a catkin, or a dropping spike that is wind pollinated. This walnut is from the Olentangy Wetlands.

Box Elder (Acer  negundo)

The fruit of a Box Elder is a samara, which is consistent with Maples (Acer). This fruit is like an achene but has a wing on it. The samaras are bright green and turn brown when they ripen. Eventually they fall off the tree, using the wing as an aid to dispersal. Box Elder trees are dioecious, meaning there are separate male and female trees. Their flower type is a capitulum, a single flower head on each spike. This Box Elder was found in the Olentangy Wetlands.

Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera)

An Osage Orange fruit is a multiple fruit. The flowers (capitulum) are many flowers close together that form the fruit. Osage Oranges are about the size of a grapefruit, and fall off the tree upon ripening. These fruits secrete a sticky, milky substance. They have a low wildlife value, meaning that almost nothing eats them. The seeds are edible but are undesirable. This Osage Orange was found at Tuttle Park.

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

The Milkweed fruit is a follicle. The flowers are an umbel, and are usually pink or white. When the fruit ripens, the follicle bursts open and releases seeds. These seeds are wind dispersed. Milkweed is an important plant for Monarch Butterflies as a food source for their caterpillars. This Milkweed was found in the Prairie at the Olentangy Wetlands.

White Clover (Trifolium repens)

White clover is of the legume family (Facaceae) and has a globose inflorecence. Legumes are beneficial to other plants because they add nitrogen to the soil through nitrogen fixation. Clover is bilaterally symmetrical, with fused stamens and corolla. Clover has an epigynous, unicarpellate gynoecium. These plants are a favorite amongst honey bees, and make delicious honey. Clover is common, growing in many yards and gardens. This clover was photographed in my backyard!

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)

Wild Carrot or Queen Anne’s Lace is of the family Apiaceae.  The flowers are white, turning brown as they ripen. Wild Carrot has a syncarpous gynoecium, an umbel inflorescence and has a schizocarp fruit (splits into 2 seeds at maturity).  Wild Carrot flowers are radially symmetrical. Wild Carrot grows readily in prairie or disturbed habitats. The flowers can also be used to make a delicious floral jelly!

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-eyed Susan is from the family Asteraceae. It has bright yellow ray flowers with brown disk flowers in the middle.  The stems and leaves of this plant are noticeably hairy. The flowers are radially symmetrical with a capitulum (head) inflorescence. The gynoecium is hypogynous and syncarpous. This flower was found in the Olentangy wetlands. This is a very common plant amongst the Aster family, as many people have it growing in their gardens.

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea)

Broccoli is an extremely common vegetable, but also has gorgeous flowers! Broccoli is in the mustard family (Brassicaceae), as are many other common vegetables. Broccoli flowers are bilaterally symmetrical and are a raceme inflorescence. The gynoecium is hypogynous and syncarpous. Broccoli is very easy to grow, as this picture was taken from my Mom’s garden. The only problem with eating home grown broccoli is that there are usually worms in it…yuck!