“Poison Ivy” Tree at Beamer Memorial Conservation Area: June 2020

Beamer Memorial Conservation Area on the Niagara Escarpment features a several- story high tower which was constructed for annual hawk migration observers and volunteers.

I spent a most interesting morning here some years ago. The more experienced and knowledgeable watchers stand on the top level. I remained on the grass as this was a learning experience for me.

Tiny specks in the sky are immediately identified and called out. I enjoyed the affectionate nicknames that various species are given.

Turkey Vulture – “TV”

Sharp-shinned Hawk – “Sharpie”

Cooper’s Hawk – “Coop”

Red-tailed Hawk – “Tail”

Red-shouldered Hawk – “Shoulder”

Broad-winged Hawk – “Wing”

Bald Eagle – “Baldie”

Other views:

Niagara, being further south than Toronto, has some different plant species. Shagbark Hickory, rare around Toronto, is easy to find here:

Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

I found two “hawkweed” species which I don’t see in Toronto:

Common Hawkweed (Hieracium lachenalii)
Canada Hawkweed (Hieracium canadense)

Poison Ivy features 3 leaflets: Leaflets 3 – Quickly flee!

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)

In Niagara, there is a small tree whose leaves strongly resemble Poison Ivy leaves.

Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)

For this reason, it has the nickname “Poison Ivy Tree”.

Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)

Common Hoptree is rare in Canada. Trees can be up to 8 m high and 15 cm in diameter.

Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)

It occurs along shorelines, on dry, rocky soils and in open woodlands. The fruit’s resemblance to hops gives Common Hoptree its name.

Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)

Eventually these produce “wafer-like” flat seedcases which remain on the tree through most of the winter.

Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)
Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata)

Other botany:

Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)
Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
emerging Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)
Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)
emerging Red Ash leaf
Birdfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
Basswood (Tilia americana)
Red-osier (Cornus sericea)
Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana)
Fowl Manna Grass (Glyceria striata)
Prickly Sedge (Carex spicata)
Gray Dogwood (Cornus foemina)
Staghorn Sumac male flowers
Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia)
Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum)
Bird Vetch (Vicia cracca)
Red Clover Trifolium pratense)
White Clover (Trifolium repens)
Goat’s-beard (Tragopogon)
Flowering Cherry (Prunus)
False Solomon-seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
Solomon-seal (Polygonatum biflorum)
Rough-fruited Cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)
Rough-fruited Cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)
Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
Back Medick (Medicago sativa)
Purple-flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus)
Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
Common Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
Apple (Malus)
Privet (Ligustrum obtusifolium)


O dwellers in the stately towns,
What come ye out to see?
This common earth, this common sky,
This water flowing free?              – John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–92)

Miles Hearn

1 thought on ““Poison Ivy” Tree at Beamer Memorial Conservation Area: June 2020

  1. Lisa Volkov

    You sure get around! Great place, wonderful learning about it (and what birds are called!) Beautiful plants!
    Thanks, Miles!


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