Blacktone Parks Conservancy

Blackstone Park Conservation District

Plant Life in the Conservation District

Trees that predominate are oaks, American beech, and black birch, with a few maples and birch. Beneath the trees are many native blueberry bushes, clethra (summer sweet), and mountain laurel.

Wild Flowers and Plants

Throughout the woods are thinly scattered wild flowers. These include the pink lady’s slipper, May apple, False Solomon’s seal, and Canada mayflower.

False Solomons SealMay ApplePink Ladys Slipper

Plants found along edges of the woods, particularly near the river, are wood aster, bayberry, sassafras, rosa rugosa, sweet fern, and sumac.

Plants found on the banks of York Pond at the end of Irving Avenue are elderberry, Joe Pye weed, goldenrod, bur cucumber, white snakeroot, evening primrose, milkweed, and touch-me-not (jewelweed).  curly dock, blue vervain, polygonum persicaria (lady’s thumb—pink thumblike flowers), and false nettle, chicory along the rail north of the entrance to York Pond meadow, and blue flowering pickerel weed in the pond.

Invasive Species

The most prevalent invasive species in the park are: Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Knotweed, Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus), Purple Loosestrife, Garlic Mustard, and Multiflora rose. Poison ivy, which grows throughout the park, is a native plant.

Most of these were introduced to the area by horticulturists as garden ornamentals.  An exception is garlic mustard, which was introduced as a food plant.  Japanese Knotweed, Purple Loosestrife, and Oriental Bittersweet are particularly invasive and difficult to eradicate.  Introduced plants that become invasive have particular habits that make them more successful than native plants, for example a long growing season, long tap roots to reach water, chemicals that weaken neighboring plants, and ability to tolerate harsh conditions.  These plants tend to crowd out the native plants that local wildlife need for food and habitat.  In the Conservation District, one instance of a native – invasive “mismatch” occurs when monarch butterflies lay their eggs on (invasive) black swallow-wort instead of native milkweed. Black swallow-wort is in the milkweed family, but the young monarch caterpillars cannot digest its leaves so they die.

For history and information on invasive plants in New England, see Invasive Plant Atlas of New England. For general information, please see www.invasives.org or invasivespeciesinfo.gov.

List of Plants by Rick Enser (2001)

* indicates non-native to the U.S.A.

Woodlands: Uplands and Woods Edges

  • American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
  • White Oak (Quercus alba)
  • Black Oak (Quercus velutina)
  • Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
  • Gray Birch (Betula populifolia)
  • Chestnut (Castanea dentata)
  • Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
  • Sassafras ( Sassafras albidum)
  • Shadbush (Amelanchier arborea)
  • Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • Winged Euonymus (Euonymus alatus)*
  • Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)
  • Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)
  • Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)
  • Catbriar (Smilax glauca)
  • Greenbriar (Smilax rotundifolia)
  • European bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)*
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
  • Wild grape (Vitis labrusca)
  • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)*
  • Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)*
  • Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)
  • Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
  • Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis)*
  • Canada Lily (Maianthemum canadense)
  • False solomon’s seal (Smilacina racemosa)
  • Wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)
  • Red fescue (Festuca rubra)
  • Common crab grass (Digitaria sanguinalis)*
  • Common timothy (Phleum pratense)*
  • Deer tongue (Panicum clandestinum)
  • Wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria)
  • Woodland aster (Aster divaricatus)
  • Purple stemmed aster (Aster puniceus)
  • Stiff aster (Aster linarifolius)
  • Frostweed (Helioanthemun canadense)
  • Medick (Medicago sp. )*
  • Round-headed bush-clover (Lespedeza capitata)
  • Violet bush-clover (Lespedeza violacea)
  • Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)
  • Pink lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium acaule)
  • Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana)
  • Ajuga bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)*
  • Common hawkweed (Hieracium volgatum)
  • Canada hawkweed (Hieracium canadense)
  • Path-rush (Juncus tenus)
  • Striped wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata)
  • Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora)
  • Silverrod (Solidago bicolor)
  • Blue-stem goldenrod (Solidago caesia)
  • Rough-leaved goldenrod (Solidago rugosa)
  • Grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia)
  • Sweet-fern (Comptonia peregrina)
  • Swan’s sedge (Carex swanii)
  • Early sedge (Carex pensylvanica)
  • Umbrella-sedge (Cyperus lupulinus)
  • Indian cucumber-root (Medeola virginiana)
  • Rattlesnake root (Prenanthes alba)
  • Deptford pink (Dianthus armeria)*
  • Bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis)*
  • White clover (Trifolium repens)*
  • Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
  • White sweet clover (Melilotus alba)*
  • Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)*
  • Peppergrass (Lepidium sp.)
  • Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)
  • Chickory (Cichorium intybus)*
  • Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
  • Common plantain (Plantago major)*
  • Long-leaved plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
  • Butter-and-eggs (Linaria vulgaris)*
  • Wild Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)*

Pondshores

  • Black Willow (Salix nigra)
  • Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Joe-Pye-Weed (Eupatorium maculatum)
  • Narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifoia)
  • Climbing hempweed (Mikania scandens)
  • Catalpa (Catalpa species)*
  • Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
  • American elderberry (Sambucus canadenseis)
  • Red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)
  • Mad-dog skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
  • Cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)
  • Spotted jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
  • Yellow iris (Iris pseudoacorus)*
  • Pickerelweed (Pontedaria cordata)
  • Soft rush (Juncus effusus)
  • Sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis)
  • Umbrella-sedge (Cyperus strigosus)
  • Swamp bedstraw (Galium palustre)
  • Groundnut (Apios americana)
  • Pilewort (Erechtites hierracifolia)
  • Narrow-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia tenuifolia)
  • Water horehound (Lycopus americana)
  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
  • Common threesquare (Scirpus pungens)


Non-native plants found in Blackstone Park

These have a tendency to be invasive.

  • Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
  • Sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)
  • Mimosa (Albezia julibrissia)
  • Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
  • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Catalpa (Catalpa species)
  • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
  • Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
  • Winged euonymus (Euonymus alatus)
  • Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicira morrowii)
  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicira japonica)
  • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
  • Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
  • Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
  • Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinaceri)
  • Tall reed (Phragmites australis)
  • Sweet cherry (Prunus avium)
  • Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • Wisteria (Wisteris sinensis)
  • Black swallowwort (Vincetoxicum nigrum)
  • Climbing euonymus (Euonymus fortunei)
  • Porcelain vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)
  • Buckthorn (Rhamnus sp.)
  • Yellow flag (Iris pseudoacorus)
  • Mulberry (Morus alba)
  • Mile-a-Minute Weed or Chinese Tearthumb (Persicaria perfoliatum)
  • Rosa Rugosa
  • Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)