Plant Species with Respective CC Value
- Black walnut (Juglans nigra), CC= 5
- American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), CC=7
- Riverbank grape (Vitis riparia), CC=3
- Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), CC=2
- American elm (Ulmus americana), CC=2
- Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), CC=1
- Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), CC=1
- Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), CC=3
- Tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum), CC=4
- White oak (Quercus alba), CC=6
- Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), CC=3
- Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), CC=6
- Common greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia), CC=4
- White heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides), CC=2
- American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), CC=1
- Eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides), CC=3
- Black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis), CC=1
- New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), CC=2
- Devil’s beggars-tick (Bidens frondosa), CC=2
- Silver maple (Acer saccharinum), CC=3
High CC values on the scale of 0-10 correspond to high quality natural communities and lower CC values mean low quality natural communities for these plant species. The CC values were acquired from https://www.epa.ohio.gov/Portals/35/401/LU_Veg_Species.html.
Highest CC Value Plants
The American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) can be identified by its wide leaf shape and bark with patches of white. This tree has the highest CC value of 7. The American sycamore is conceded to be the most massive tree in the Eastern U.S. (“Peterson Field Guides: Trees and Shrubs,” pg. 204).
The White oak (Quercus alba) also has a CC value of 6. It can be identified by its smooth lobed leaves with deep sinuses. The White oak tree is the tallest oak tree and is commonly found to be as wide as it is tall (Interesting Facts About Oak Trees, http://justfunfacts.com/interesting-facts-about-oak-trees/#:~:text=The%20white%20oak %20is%20the,entire%20leaf%20with%20smooth%20margins.).
The Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) has a CC value of 6 as well. It can be identified by its wide top section of the leaf and acorns that have a cap with serrations. The Bur oak tree can live for 200-300 years (Arbor Day Foundation, https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/Tree Detail.cfm?ItemID=874).
The Black walnut (Juglans nigra) has a CC value of 5. It can be identified by its distinctively large fruit and long leaves with many leaflets. The bark of the Black walnut can be used in tanning; the nut husks can be used to make yellow-brown dye (“Peterson Field Guides: Trees and Shrubs,” pg. 135).
Lowest CC Plants
The Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) has a CC value of 1. It can be identified by the entire leaf shape and by breaking a leaf open, there is white sap that is present. The Common milkweed serves as a primary food source for Monarch butterflies.
The American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) has a CC value of 1. It can be identified by its bright pink stems and unique fruits. The entire plant is poisonous, however, young leaves and stems may be edible when properly cooked (U.S. Forest Service, https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/phytolacca_americana.shtml).
Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) has a CC value of 1. It can be identified by the group of three leaves and hairy vine. Poison ivy fruits may be eaten by over 60 different species of birds, and easily pass through the digestive system to be spread elsewhere (“Peterson Field Guides: Trees and Shrubs,” pg. 130).
Black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) has a CC value of 1. It can be identified by the serrations on the leaf and white powder on the dark thorny vine. Black raspberry provides aggregate fruits that serve as food for a wide variety of wildlife.
Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) can be identified by its shrub appearance and the back of the leaves are shiny/silver in color. This plant is sometimes used for erosion control and ornamental reasons.
Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) can be identified by their glossy, rotund leaves. The Callery pear tree has weak wood and branches, so it is susceptible to wind and ice damage (The Morton Arboretum, https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/callery-pear-not-recommended).
Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) can be identified be is droplet shaped leaves, red berries, and hollow stems. This plant may provide birds with food, but provides little nutrition (“Peterson Field Guides: Trees and Shrubs,” pg. 71).
Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) can be identified be its long stems and cluster of seeds on the end. Reed canary grass was planted to help control erosion and forage (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialplants /grasses/reedcanarygrass.html).
Four Substrate Associated Species
The Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) can be identified by its heart-shaped leaves and bright purple/pink buds in the spring. This plant is associated with limestone substrate.
The Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) is identified by its distinct berries produced and modified leaves. The Eastern redcedar is associated with limestone substrate.
The Chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) can be identified by its symmetrical leaves and many larger cuts/serrations along the leaf edge. This tree is associated with limestone substrates.
The Hackberry can be identified by its pointed leaves that are rough in texture and by its bark, which has a pattern of bumps. This tree is associated with limestone substrate.