Winter Woodland Walk - Flat Rock


Sunday, February 27, 2005 - 1:00pm to Monday, February 28, 2005 - 12:45pm




Flat Rock, Cornell Plantations, Ithaca


F. Robert Wesley


Learn the tricks of identifying trees in the winter, and poke around in the snow to uncover some evergreens. Dress warmly! Meet at CCE at 1PM to carpool.



Winter Woody Plant Walk

On an unusually sunny day for late February, nearly twenty-five people met at the Cornell Cooperative Extension parking lot. Bob Wesley led us on an outing to learn about woodland trees at an area known as Flat Rock, just east of Cornell Plantations. Bob, shown in the center of the picture to the right, gave a few pointers of things to look for when identifying trees and then led the group across partially frozen Fall Creek on a foot bridge which swayed so much it was difficult to cross.

identifying winter treesNear the creek, the floodplain held gravel. Here we saw the sycamore, willow, basswood, and other species that like the rich, wet, floodplain soil. Another species found here was Celtis occidentalis, the common hackberry. When older, this interesting tree sports a coat of deeply furrowed bark as shown in the bottom picture.


Hackberry barkAs we ascended the slope, along a section of the Finger Lakes Trail, we saw oaks, hickories and maples. Besides native plants, Bob pointed out some invasives such as Celastrus orbiculatus, the Eastern Asian bittersweet. This fast-growing vine is listed by the Invasive Plant Council of New York State as one of the top twenty invasives in the state. According to Bob, it grows so quickly and to such size that it can kill trees that it grows on. Another one found that also made the top twenty list is Rhamnus carthartica, common buckthorn, another Eurasian import. Its fruit is eaten by birds and the seeds widely dispersed. Once established, the plant replaces our native wildflowers and changes the characteristics of the community. On the other hand, some our most valued native species are considered to be invasives elsewhere. For example,  Prunus serotina, our American black cherry, is considered a real pest in southern Germany and Austria.



Species List, Flat Rock
Trees and shrubs we found at Flat Rock
Latin NameCommon Name
Fraxinus americanaWhite ash
Rhamnus catharticacommon buckthorn
Rhus hirtastaghorn sumac
Ulmus americanaAmerican elm
Carya ovatashagbark hickory
Larix deciduaEuropean larch
Ulmus pumilaSiberian elm
Robinia pseudoacaciablack locust
Tilia americanaAmerican basswood (a.k.a. linden)
Carya cordiformisbitternut hickory
Prunus serotinablack cherry
Fagus grandifoliaAmerican beech
Quercus albawhite oak
Hamamelis virginianaAmerican witch hazel
Parthenocissus vitaceawoodbine (a.k.a. Virginia creeper
Prunus aviumbird cherry (a.k.a. sweet cherry)
Salix fragiliscrack willow
Carpinus carolinianaAmerican hornbeam (a.k.a. ironwood, musclewood)
Quercus rubrared oak
Carya glabrapignut hickory
Acer rubrumred maple
Acer saccharumsugar maple
Lindera benzoinNorthern spicebush
Pinus strobusEastern white pine
Berberis thunbergiiJapanese barberry
Tsuga canadensisEastern hemlock
Quercus velutinablack oak
Amelanchier sp.shadbush
Quercus prinuschesnut oak (a.k.a. rock oak)
Cornus floridaflowering dogwood
Celastrus orbiculataEastern Asian bittersweet
Pinus sylvestrisScot's pine
Cornus alternifoliaalternateleaf dogwood
Ostrya virginianahophornbeam
Populus deltoidesEastern cottonwood
Celtis occidentaliscommon hackberry
Juniperus virginianaEastern red cedar
Pinus resinosared pine