Highbanks Metro Park is a large park located in Lewis Center Ohio. It has meadows and fields as well as dense forests containing ravines with streams cutting through them. This park has an extensive collection of plant species littered throughout it’s different areas.

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

This type of tree prefers moister areas because its roots do not grow deep enough for it to survive in dry places. https://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/growingflowers/flowersandseasons/dogwood

Chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

This tree was once used as fuel for steam boats as they traveled throughout the United States.


American Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus L.)

Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago odora)

This plant can be easily identified by the odor its crushed leaves give off. Some say it smells like licorice. https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=SOOD

Smooth Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve )

Spice Bush (Lindera benzoin)

Also known as Wild Allspice, this plant can be made into a tea using its leaves and twigs. https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=libe3

Unfortunately, I could not find any poison ivy. If it counts for anything my legs found a whole lot of it during our earlier hunt for wildflowers.


Pasture Thistle (Cirsium pumilum)

This plant prefers to grow in open dry areas such as roadsides and pastures. It is edible once the thorns are removed, and people tend to eat the roots and juvenile leaves. https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/single_weed.php?id=99


Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

Big Bluestem does best in dry well drained areas as well. This grass is helpful in the prevention of erosion and is a perfect fuel for a natural fire. https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/andropogon_gerardii.shtml

Highbanks Metro Park is located north of Columbus in Lewis Center, Ohio. Its coordinates are 40°08’49.1″N 83°01’32.6″W. The following figures are an aerial view (Google Maps) and a topographic map of the park (USGS Topo).


This 1200-acre park bordered by major roads and the Olentangy river is mainly used for recreation. It contains numerous hiking trails, shelters, picnic areas, and a nature center. The plants found in this park experience more habitat disturbance than plants found in remote locations. This is due in part to its relatively close distance to a big city like Columbus. The park also offers a wide array of activities for the community that may have some effect on the plant population. These include biking, sledding, hiking, and the pet friendly trails. The development of this park ranges from the large nature center, the main road cutting through the park, the picnic areas, and the trails with bridges, steps, and handrails.

The plant communities in this park are extremely diverse. They include roadside plants, prairie areas, streambanks, wooded areas, cliffs, and open areas that have been more heavily developed. The zone types on the roadside plants consists mainly of the ground cover and an herb layer. This area has heavy traffic and is dryer than many of the other spots in the park. The prairie areas are similar with a ground layer, herb layer, and in some cases a shrub layer. These areas are also relatively dry and a generally bordered by trails and roads that are used by dozens of people daily. The streambanks had more of an herb layer and understory layer but was overall less dense than many of the other zones. The wooded areas had the most diversity of zones including, a forest floor layer, herb layer, shrub layer, understory layer, and a canopy layer. The cliffs of the park seemed to be some of the least populated areas, but they still had a bit of an understory layer with young trees clinging onto the sides. The open areas didn’t have much plant stratification due to the fact that they were so heavily developed. They mainly consisted of a ground layer of well-kept grass and a handful of non-native plants and flowers placed there for decoration.


Name Common Name Growth Form C of C
Agrimonia gryposepala Tall Agrimony Forb 3
Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem Grass 5
Anomodon attenuatus Common Tree Skirt Moss PI 3
Arctium minus Common Burdock Forb 0
Asimina triloba Paw Paw Tree 6
Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern Fern 5
Betula alleghaniensis Yellow Birch Tree 7
Carya ovata Shagbark Hickory Tree 6
Cirsium pumilum Pasture Thistle Forb 4
Cornus florida Flowering Dogwood Tree 5
Daucus carota Queen Anne’s Lace Forb 0
Dryopteris marginalis Marginal Woodfern Fern 5
Elymus villosus Wild Rye Grass 4
Erigeron philadelphicus Philadelphia Fleabane Forb 7
Euonymus americanus Strawberry Bush Shrub 6
Fagus grandifolia American Beech Tree 7
Flavoparmelia caperata Greensheild Lichen Lichen
Fraxinus pennsylvanica Green Ash Tree 3
Lindera benzoin Spice Bush Shrub 5
Lonicera japonica Japeneese Honeysucke Vine 0
Lonicera tatarica Tartarian Honeysuckle Shrub 0
Menispermum canadense Canada Moonseed Vine 5
Nyssa sylvatica Sour Gum Tree 7
Osmunda claytoniana Inturupped Fern Fern 6
Panicum virgatum Switch Grass Grass 4
Physcia millegrana Mealy Rosette Lichen Lichen
Quercus muehlenbergii Chinquapin Oak Tree 7
Quercus rubra Red Oak Tree 6
Quercus velutina Black Oak Tree 7
Rosa multiflora Multiflora Rose Shrub 1
Silphium terebinthinaceum Prarie Dock Forb 8
Solidago canadensis Canada Goldenrod Forb 1
Solidago odora Sweet Goldenrod Forb 8
Sorghastrum nutans Indian Grass Grass 5
Symphyotrichum ericoides White Heath Aster Forb 2
Symphyotrichum laeve Smooth Aster Forb 7
Toxicodendron radicans Poison Ivy Vine 1
Trifolium repens White Clover Forb 6
Viburnum acerifolium Mapleleaf Viburnum Shrub 6
Viburnum dentatum Arrowwood Shrub 2











Petrides, George A. A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs (Peterson Field Guides) 2nd Addition.

Newcomb, Larwence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide.