Hinckley Reservation has always been one of my favorite parks to go to. The center of this park holds a 90 acre lake, with forest surrounding it. There are trails that lead you right along the waters edge where lots of plants are growing either in the shallow water or the forest. On another side of the lake is the popular Whipps Ledges, which contains large rock formations in the forest. The rock formations stand around 350 feet above the lake, and were formed about 250 million years ago. These rocks are great for hiking and climbing, and they also contain lots of plant life.
Here is a map showing the lake and the trails surrounding it.
Here is a satellite view of Hinckley Reservation.
Once I arrived at Hinckley, the first thing I focused on was finding trees. The first tree I found was this Sassafras tree, Sassafras albidum. Something quite interesting about the Sassafras tree is the roots provide a rich flavor which some people add to soups and stews for an unusual extra flavor. (https://balconygardenweb.com/sassafras-tree-facts/)
The next tree I found at Hinckley was this Tulip Tree, Liriodendron. Tulip Trees are one of the tallest broadleaf trees in Eastern United States. They can grow between 100 and 200 feet tall. (https://www.hunker.com/12212749/tulip-tree-facts.)
Next on my hunt was to find two different shrubs. The first shrub I came across was this Red Buckeye shrub, Aesculus pavia. This species can be either a small tree or a shrub but the one I found was very small and shrub-like. The shrub produces bright flowers (not seen in the pictures) which attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. (https://www.uky.edu/hort/Red-Buckeye)
The next shrub I spotted was the Common Lilac, Syringa vulgaris. Something interesting about Lilac flowers is that adding them to aromatherapy oils is good for relaxation and to sweeten up smelly rooms. (http://justfunfacts.com/interesting-facts-about-lilacs/)
Next on the exploration list was flowers! The first one I found was this beautiful Yellow Iris, Iris pseudacorus. The yellow Iris has 3 petals and is found in wetter areas.
The second flower I found was True Forget-me-nots, Myosotis scorpioides. These pretty little flowers have five petals and are also found in wetter areas. Enjoy my dog featured with the flowers!
Part of this exploration was to find some Poison Ivy! I am VERY allergic to poison ivy so it was helpful to find it and learn how to identify it.
As you can see in the pictures above, the leaflets are in 3s. That is a very basic way of telling if a vine is Poison Ivy or not. You can also see the leaves have a few teeth, which is common for Poison Ivy.
Four High CC and Four Low CC Plants
After finding some more plants at Hinckley, we were tasked with figuring out their coefficients of conservatism (CC). The first four plants listed below were some of the highest CC’s I found.
- Pumpkin Ash, Fraxinus tomentosa CC=7
This is a small tree located near water, with opposite and compound leaves. The leaves are shiny and leathery, and are not toothed like other Ashes. Pumpkin Ash is native to eastern North America, with a scattered distribution on the Atlantic Coastal Plain and interior lowland river valleys from Southern Maryland northwest to Indiana. It is also located in areas more South too.
2. Swamp Dewberry, Rubus hispidus CC=5
This shrub has alternate compound leaves with prickles on its stem. 3 leaflets make up each leaf, and they are toothed. This shrub also has white flowers, which you can see in the picture. The petals were starting to fall off. This plant is native to Central and Eastern North America, where there is moist soil. It is normally not cultivated because the berries are bitter.
3. Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum CC=4
The Wild Geranium has regular symmetry and 5 petals. As you can see in the picture, the flower has 10 stamen circling the pistil. They are commonly found in woods and meadows. The Wild Geranium is native to the woodland in Eastern North America. It has also been cultivated as a garden plant.
4. Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum CC=3
The Silver Maple has opposite, simple leaves that are deeply lobed. It is common for silver maple leaves to have brown spots, which you can see in the picture below. This species grows naturally in most of the Eastern United States, avoiding the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
These next four plants are the lowest CC’s I found.
5. Frosted Hawthorn, Crataegus pruinosa CC=2
The Frosted Hawthorn has alternate, simple leaves with thorns that are longer than 1 inch. The leaves are toothed and look slightly lobed. This species is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America.
6. Philadelphia Fleabane, Erigeron philadelphicus CC=2
This flower has between 100 and 150 flower “rays” that are very narrow. The flower heads are flat, with a yellow central disk. It is native to North America and can be found in nearly all of the United States and Canada. It is sometimes considered an invasive weed in Europe and Asia where it was introduced.
7. Horse-Chestnut Buckeye, Aesculus hippocastanum CC=0
This tree has opposite, compound leaves made up of 7-9 toothed leaflets. The flowers are white and bloom in May, which you can see in the picture. This tree is native to a small area in the Pindus mountains and the Balkan forests of Southeastern Europe. It has been introduced to many parks and cities in United States and Canada.
8. Dame’s Rocket, Hesperis matronalis CC=0
This flower has regular symmetry and four petals. The stamens and pistils are found in a flower tube. The flowers are fragrant, and are 2-3 feet high. Dame’s rocket is native to Eurasia, but it has been cultivated and has naturalized in North America. It is now considered an invasive species.
While at Hinckley searching for plants I came across a couple signs that held important information. I was surprised because these signs were only by the Whipps Ledges hiking area, and there was nothing informational closer to the lake area. I thought these signs were pretty interesting, but i felt like they were a little old and could use some updating. I found all of the information on the signs to be accurate, but I thought they could improve on some of the details about why the ledges are unique for Medina County and they also did not talk about a lot of the very common trees in the under story that are the most visible.
I kept the information about Tulip trees that the original sign provided because it was accurate and helpful but I decided to add two more trees that I found were also very common in the forest. I also kept some of the information about Hinckley because I found those facts interesting. Lastly, I chose to keep the information about the sandstone ledges because it was correct with what we learned in the geobotany article. I wanted to show that the sandstone ledges at this park are not common for the area, so I added information about the popular rock type for Medina County.