Field Guide

The following animal and plant descriptions are some of the most commonly found species in Lullwater Park.
A more complete list of animals can be found at Emory University’s website at:
White-Tailed Deer
Odocoileus virginianus
Range: Found in almost all of the lower 48 states except it is rare in California, Utah, and Nevada.
Description: The White-tailed deer changes its coat from red to gray as the seasons change from summer to winter yet maintains a white underbelly and tail. It is the smallest of the deer family and has an average lifespan of 5 years, with a maximum of 15 years. Male deer, called bucks, develop antlers on their head for mating season. Due to its abundance, problems between humans and the deer often arise, but legal hunting helps with population control.  In fact, there are currently more white-tailed deer in the United States than there was when Columbus landed.
Diet: Large variety of plants including roots, wild fruits, acorns, soft leaves, and human agricultural crops such as corn.
Size: 1.3 – 2.1 m in length and 30-115 kilograms.
Active: crespular and nocturnal

Eastern Mole (or Common Mole)
Scalopus aquaticus
By Margot Pagan
Eastern Mole
Range: The species is native to the Eastern United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Eastern mole has the widest range of any North American mole!
Description: Eastern moles are rarely seen and spend most of their lives beneath the surface. The Ecology of Emory class saw a mole’s burrow on our first walk through Lullwater. The Eastern mole has large spade-shaped front feet, which are adapted for digging. Mole’s have poor eyesight and are most likely only able to sense light. The Eastern mole prefers loamy soils found in thin woods and fields and typically has between two to five young, who are on their own after approximately four weeks. Dogs, cats, foxes, and coyotes prey upon the mole. Moles do not eat vegetation and their burrowing provides the soil with aeration.
Diet: Consists mainly of earthworms and other soil life.
Size: Eastern moles are usually between 10-18 centimeters long and weigh about 75 g. Active: Moles are not necessarily more or less active at any time throughout the day or night. Research has suggested that moles sleep and work in 4-hour shifts and are more active during quiet periods, such as early morning or late in the evening (crepuscular times). When moles feel vibrations in the ground, caused by humans or other animals, they are more likely to stop digging.

Southern Short Tailed Shrew
Blarina carolinensis
by Rachel Jones
Range: Southeastern United States
Description: Shrews are small mammals covered in short, grey fur.  They have cylindrical bodies, pointed snouts, and small ears covered by fur.  They also have glands on their flanks which secrete a strong odor to keep predators away and indicate breeding status.  Shrews have the highest metabolic rate of any mammal in North America, and thus are constantly looking for food.  Shrews are poisonous, secreting the venom from their mouth which can kill animals slightly larger than themselves.
Diet: worms, snails, grubs, insects, slugs, centipedes, spiders, and small vertebrates
Size: 7.9 – 12.3 cm
Active: Nocturnal and Crepuscular

Canis latrans
by Sumayya Allen
Range: North America
Description: According to Native American tradition, the coyote is known to be cunning and clever. Ecologically it has proven itself to be worthy of these qualities. Having originally only populated desert and prairies, it has adapted very rapidly and has moved into and populated forests as well as urban areas across the entire North American continent. In Atlanta there are an estimated 3,000 coyote sightings a year, and sightings have occurred within Lullwater Park. They are also highly adaptable in their keen hunting and foragting abilities, eating everything from grass to frogs to pets to carrion.
Diet: rabbits, rodents, frogs, deer, carrion, snakes, insects, fish
Size: 81-94 cm in length not including the tail (30-41 cm) and 9-23 kilograms in weight
Active: Primarily nocturnal though also crepuscular and diurnal

Barred Owl
Strix varia
barred owl
Range: Lower areas of Canada. Eastern United states, especially northern parts. Has started to move farther west in the US. Also found as south as Mexico.
Diet: Primarily eats small mammals such as mice and shrews. Occasionally eats small birds such as jays or woodpeckers. Fish and small owls are rarely, but sometimes, eaten as well. Hunts at night (although it has been seen hunting during the day on particularly cloudy days).
Max length: 63 cm long with a wingspan of 125 cm.
When would you see this animal: Nocturnal (but sometimes active during the day).
Other information: The barred owl’s conservation status is “least concern.” However, there are still conservation efforts in place. The owl needs mature trees in order to nest and maintain its population, so management of old forest is important. It is the only owl in the eastern part of the United States that has brown eyes as opposed to yellow eyes. Its call is often associated with the phrase “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all.”

Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis
By Candler Vinson

Range: North America, with it’s range extending as far as Canada and Alaska during the summer.
Description: Possibly the most common hawk in America, the Red-tailed Hawk are easily identifiable by their red/brown hue above, pale, brown-flecked chest and belly below, and rust-red tail feathers. They have broad, rounded wings and a short tail, giving them a very large-looking silhouette viewed from the ground. The Red-tailed Hawk is generally a bird of mixed forest and field territory, sitting atop tall trees or soaring above open fields or, in Emory’s case, Lullwater Park, the Quad, and many of the other areas on Emory’s campus that have areas of intermittent tree cover.
Diet: The Red-tailed Hawk, like all raptors, is carnivorous and focused around small mammals such as squirrels, rabbits, mice, chipmunks, and moles; however, it will also eat small reptiles and birds as well.
Size: .7-1.5 kilograms, 45-65 cm in length, 110-145 cm wingspan; females are on average 25% larger than males
Active: Diurnal and crepuscular

The Great Blue Heron
Ardea Herodias
Range:  North America. yearlong residence in the contiguous states, summer breeding range extends from the southern section of New Brunswick to eastern Alberta. Winter range extends throughout Central America
Description:  Lifespan as long as 24 years. Great Blue Herons have special feathers which continually grow and fray, and protect the bird from slime and other oils which accumulate on the surface of feathers that are in contact with water. The ycan curl their neck into an S-shape to increase their aerodynamic  profile
 Diet: forage alone, consume fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, insects and other birds, can hunt during the day or night, they use their bills to impale and shake their pray
Size: On Average they weigh 2.5 kilograms and have a wingspan of 1.7-2 meters

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Sphyrapicus varius
Stephanie Claypool
Range: North America
Description: The yellow-bellied sapsucker is mostly black and white with bright red plumage below its beak (for males) and on its crown. The female is made distinctive by its white throat, and a characteristic white stripe along the wing can also be spotted. Known only to Lullwater as a winter species, it breeds in the Northern parts of the United States and Canada. They drill holes in bark to create sapwells, which not only collect sap, but also traps yummy insects, and will return to these food sources repeatedly and even defend them against other bird species. Look for the characteristic horizontal lines of the small wells left in the tree bark by these foraging endeavors!
Diet: Tree sap, insects, sumac seeds, fruits, and mast
Size: Medium-sized (20-25 centimeters in length)
Active: Diurnal

Ground Skink
Scincella lateralis
Michelle Cholko
ground skink
Range: Eastern half of United States and northern Mexico. Absent from higher elevations of the Appalachian Mountains
Description: Very short legs with a long copper or sandy tan back and tail.  The underside of the reptile is either white or yellow, and there is a dark brown or black stripe that runs along either side of its body.  It is one of few species of lizards that does not climb trees but rather spends its life on the ground hidden in leaf litter.
Diet: Insects and small arthropods
Size: 7-14 centimeters long; it is one of the smallest reptiles in North America
Active: Primarily diurnal, but can also be crepuscular and nocturnal.  Ground skinks hibernate beneath the leaf litter layer of forest floors during the winter months.

Black Rat Snake
Elaphe obsoleta
Range: New England to Florida and west to Texas and Nebraska. Isolated populations in southern Canada and New York.
Description: The black rat snake is the most widely distributed species of common rat snakes.Rat snakes are covered in keeled scales, are completely black except for a white patch on the chin, are non-venomous and generally docile. However, they are frequently killed due to people’s lack of knowledge and fear of snakes. They are excellent swimmers and climbers. Though common in the southern United States, many northern populations are increasingly threatened by land development.
Diet: Rat snakes are constrictors and feed mostly on rodents though they will eat bird eggs, lizards and small frogs as well.
Size: Adults are typically between 120-180 centimeters in length though some can grow as long as 2.5 meters.
Active: During the autumn and spring, rat snakes are mostly diurnal, however in the fall they are most active at night.

Painted Turtle
Chrysemys picta
By Alexandra Stern                        
Range :  The eastern painted turtle, found in Lullwater, ranges from southeastern Canada to Georgia, with its most western boundary being the Appalachians.  In its most northern regions it tends to stay closer to warmer areas in the Atlantic Ocean.  They predominantly live in slow-moving fresh water.
Description:  Being the most abundant turtle in North America it is not surprising that fossil records have shown that painted turtles have existed for at least 15 million years.  Being cold blooded these animals are reliant on the warmth of their surroundings.  This means they are only active during the day when soaking up sun.  The turtle hibernates in the winter and mates during spring and autumn.
Diet: aquatic vegetation, algae, and small water creatures like insects, crustaceans, and fish
Size: female-10 to 25 cm male- 7 to 15 cm

Ant Lion
Myrmeleon formicarius
Rob Hamilton
Range: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia
Description: The term “antlion” actually refers to the juvenile stage of life of any insect from the family Myrmeleontidae. Though the formicarius soecies is the most commonly found in the south eastern United States, species from this family may be found on six of the seven continents. Also commonly known as doodle-bugs, the insects from this family are fairly stationary in their larval forms. As they search for a residence they leave trails in the sand leading to their name of doodlebug. Once they have found a suitable location they, dig a small pit and wait. It is very important that this pit be located away from the elements. This pit functions by trapping unsuspecting insects for the antlion who is waiting at the bottom. The slope of the pit, along with the dry and loose substrate, prevents the prey from being able to escape once they have begun sliding down the slope. The Adult form of Myrmeleontidae is much more sizeable than the larval form as “Lacewings”.
Diet: Ants as well as other small terrestrial invertebrates.
Size: 1cm as larvae, 4 cm as adult
Active: Larvae- Diurnal, Adults- Nocturnal

Northern Red Oak
Quercus rubra
red oak
Range: AK, AL, GA, IA, KS, MI, MN, OK. Ontario to the Gaspe.
Classification: Tree
Leaves: Alternate. Simple. 7-9 lobes with pointed teeth. Green (reddish brown in Autumn). Lobes are not deeply cut. Leaves are 6-15 centimeters long. Usually hairless. Petiole tends to be the same color as the leaf.
Bark/Stem: Flat ridges, shallow furrows. Dark grey. Twigs are dark brown.
Seeds/nuts/berries/fruit: Has acorns. Originally green but mature to be a dark brown. Broad, flat base. Kernel is white and bitter.
Other information: The Northern Red Oak is very important to the lumber industry. The most important red oak for the industry. Also widely used in cities because it is an excellent shade tree and because it does well in an urban environment. It is also known to hybridize with other oak species.

Scarlet Oak
Quercus coccinea
By Candler Vinson
scarlet oak
Range: Eastern United States, extending from Maine to Oklahoma to Southwestern Georgia
Description: Of the red oak family, the scarlet oak got its name from the bright red of its foliage in autumn. This scarlet hue is also one of the differences between the scarlet oak and the pin oak, which are often confused due to the similarity in the lobes of their leaves; however, whereas the pin oak has fuzzy orange down underneath its leaves near the lobs, the scarlet oak has none. Scarlet oaks grow to be 20 to 30 meters in height with a rounded canopy and has been adopted as an ornamental tree for its bright foliage.
Classification: deciduous hardwood
Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: 7-17 cm long, 8-13 cm wide, oval in shape but with 7 lobes with 3-7 bristled teeth and very deep sinuses between each lobe, and hairless
Bark: thin bark, as is typical of the red oaks, that develops narrow furrows and ridges as it ages
Fruit: acorns, halfway covered by the cap, that are 17-31 milimeters  long

Eastern Redbud
Cercis canadensis
by Sumayya Allen
Range: Lower Great Plains to Eastern United States
Description: The Eastern redbud is an understory species in open forests from the Fabaceae or pea family. It produces clusters of flat green seed pods which change to brown when mature. The pods contain small hard black or brown seeds. A redbud tree greets the Lullwater Park guest at the Clifton Road entrance, through the gate and to the left.
Classification: Fabaceae or pea family, deciduous
Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf Type: broad, flat, dark green, heart shaped with prominent venation
Bark: smooth dark brown to gray bark, furrowing with age
Flower: one of the first trees to flower in spring – pink/purple flowers in March to May

Halesia tetraptera
by Sumayya Allen
Range: Southeastern United States
Description: The silverbell tree is a small understory flowering tree. It blooms in May and its flowers are white bell shaped. Its bark is particularly attractive with silver stripes. Along the path in Lullwater Park one will come across a silverbell tree bending low and reaching out across the path along the edge of Candler Lake.
Classification: deciduous tree
Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf Type: dark green, simple ovate to lanceolate
Bark: smooth muscle-like, grey with creamy-white striping, branching irregular and beginning low on the trunk
Flower: pendulous, white, bell-shaped, blooms in clusters, four-lobed flower
Fruit: oblong, four-winged, changes from green to tan

American Beech
Fagus grandifolia
Margot Pagan
Range: Native to eastern North America
Description: The American Beech grows up to 20–35 m  tall and has distinctive smooth, silver-gray bark. The winter twigs are distinctive among North American trees. The twigs are long and slender with two rows of overlapping scales on the buds. The American Beech is a shade-tolerant species. The tendency to favor shade more than other trees allows the American Beech to be commonly found in forests in the final stage of succession. American Beech wood is very heavy and strong. The wood is used for flooring, furniture, and many other uses. American Beech bark’s characteristics make it attract vandals who carve their names, dates, etc. onto the trees.
Classification: Deciduous
Leaf arrangement: Simple
Leaf Type: The leaves are dark green, simple and sparsely-toothed with small teeth, 6–12 cm long, with a short petiole.
Bark: Smooth, silver-gray bark.
Fruit: A small, sharply-angled nut, borne in pairs in a soft-spined, four-lobed husk.
Flower:  The tree is monoecious, with flowers of both sexes on the same tree.

American Hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana
By Candler Vinson
Range: Native to the Eastern United States, it extends northward into Ontario and Quebec and westward just beyond the Mississippi River.
Description: A small, slow-growing tree, the American Hornbeam occupies the understory of mixed hardwood forests in the Eastern United States. The trunk of the tree is crooked and longitudinally ridged, resembling muscles, hence its colloquial name “musclewood.” It has a dark green, elliptical leaves about 3-12 centimeters in length that turn yellow to deep red in autumn.
Classification: Deciduous hardwood
Leaf arrangement
: alternate
Leaf type: doubly-serrated, elliptical, prominent venation, dark green, with catkins appearing the in the spring simultaneously with the leaves.
Bark: smooth, greenish-gray, shallow with little to no ridges or fissures in the bark.
Fruit: small (7-8 mm) nut surrounded by clusters of shorts leaves known as involucres.

Eastern hophornbeam
Ostrya virginiana
Michelle Cholko
Range: Eastern North America from southeastern Canada to northern Florida
and as far west as Minnesota and Iowa
Eastern hophornbeam is a member of the birch family.  Because of its slow growth rate and relatively small size of up to 9-12 meters, it is commonly used as a landscape tree though it is found naturally in the understory of hardwood forests, particularly American Beech and/or sugar maple dominated forests.  Eastern hophornbeam grows equally as well in wet soil as it does in dry soil.  The bark is a food source for rabbits and deer, while the fruit is commonly eaten by birds.
Classification: Deciduous hardwood
Leaf arrangement:
Leaf type:
Simple, oval leaves that taper to a point at the end; edges are doubly-toothed
Young trees have a reddish-brown smooth bark that then matures to a light brown color and shaggy texture, peeling away from the tree in long, narrow strips
Fruit of the hophornbeam closely resembles true hops which is used in beer production.  The nut is approximately 60 milimeters long and is enclosed in a papery, dry sac.

Tulip Poplar
Liriodendron tulipifera
Michelle Cholko
tulip pop
Range: Southern edge of New England to northern Florida and east of the Mississippi.  Most dense populations are found along the Appalachian Mountain Chain.
Description:  The tulip poplar is a member of the magnolia family and is the tallest eastern hardwood with some individuals exceeding 50 meters.  Fossilized remains of tulip poplars have been found in Tertiary rocks in Northern America and Europe, dating back to at least 2.6 million years ago.  It has a very rapid growth rate and prefers deep, moist soils.
Classification: Deciduous hardwood
Leaf arrangement: Alternate
Leaf type: Simple, smooth, dark green with a light green vein that bisects the leaf into two lobes on either side.  Tops have a lustrous sheen while the bottoms tend to be dull and slightly paler in color than the top.
Bark: Light brown and deeply furrowed with ridges that intersect
Flower/fruit: Flowers are pale green or yellow with an orange band around the base of the petals and bloom in the spring.  The fruit of the tulip poplar is a narrow tan cone composed of winged seeds called samaras.

River Birch
Betula nigra
river birch
Range: Eastern United States from eastern Texas and southeastern Iowa to Virginia and northern Florida.
Description: The River Birch is the largest and southernmost of about 60 species of birch trees. They thrive in moist environments with acidic soil and are commonly used erosion control and resettlement species. The fast-growing, estensive roots system of Birch form mycorrhizae that obtain nutrients that help in the reclamation of poor, degraded soils.
Classification: Deciduous
Leaf arrangement:
Leaf Type: Simple, double serrated, wedge-shaped
Bark: G
olden, exfoliating sheets of bark and russet trunk underneath
Fruit:River Birch produce both male and female flowers called catkins. Male catkins grow in the fall and bloom in the spring. Female catkins are pollinated in the spring and turn into seed cones called strobili.

Southern Sugar Maple
Acer barbatum
Range: Southern United States ranging from Illinois in the north, to its eastern extent in Texas and Oklahoma, to Florida in the south.
Description:  The Southern Sugar Maple is related to the Northern Sugar Maple but its leaves are smaller and more compact. Southern Sugar Maples are often planted as ornamental trees for their vibrant autumn foliage and resistance to heat.
Classification: Deciduous
Leaf arrangement:  Opposite
Leaf Type: Simple, long-petioled blades with pointed lobes; Green with a glaucous underside.
Bark: Young maples have smooth, pale-gray bark that cracks into broad plates as it grows.
Fruit: Sugar Maples produce long-stalked, drooping clusters of flowers called racemes. Winged fruit called Samara mature in mid-summer.

Red Maple
Acer rebrum
red maple
Range: It ranges from the Lake of the Wood on the border between Ontario and Minnesota, east to Newfoundland, south to near Miami, Florida, and southwest to east Texas.
Classification: Tree
Leaf Type: Simple. Opposite. Green, but deep red in Autumn. About 5-10 cm long. Each leaf has 3-5 lobes (in a palmate fashion), although the two found near the base are much smaller than the others. The lobes are sharp. The entire edge of the leaf is serrated and rough. Sometimes tufts of hair are found on the underside.
Bark/Stem: Grey and smooth when young, but darker and cracked when matured. Reddish twigs.
Seeds/Nuts/Berries/Fruit: Flowers are red and small, usually with 5 petals. Fruit is V-shaped with two divergent wings. Vary in color (light brown to reddish).
Other Information: The Red Maple is one of the most widely distributed deciduous trees in North America. This is because it is adaptable to a very wide range of environmental conditions. The morphological traits of each individual tree vary considerably.

Box Elder
Acer negundo
Rob Hamilton
box elder
Range: continental US and Canada
Description: A native member of the maple family, box elder can easily be found throughout lull water. It is a fairly larger tree which is a member of the sub canopy. More commonly found near water or in damp soil. Easily distinguishable by its irregularly shaped compound leaves, many naturalists mistake the 3 foremost leaflets as those of poison ivy.
This tree does not have much commercial value. The wood is not very strong but can be made into pulp. Native Americans used to use the sap from this tree as a form of sugar/syrup.
Classification: deciduous tree
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf type: Pinnately Compound with 3-5 leaflets with deep ridges
Bark: Light brown bark with high, wide ridges and darker shallow furrows running vertically up the trunk
Flower: yellow green flowers

Liquidambar styraciflua
Range: Connecticut to Illinois, south to Florida and west to Texas
Description: Sweetgum, a deciduous tree, is adaptable because of its fast growth rate, making it an early succession tree. It is usually found in flood plains within valleys and low laying lands, yet it has a decent drought tolerance. It produces fruits, which are round, spiked balls encasing the seeds from prying birds. Fall colors range from red to purple and crushing up the leaves produces an aromatic scent.
Classification: Hardwood
Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple, star shaped leaves
Bark: grey-brown with random furrows and corks
Fruit: Spiked, circular balls surround the tree’s seeds

American Sycamore
Platanus occidentalis
By Alexandra Stern
Range: Mainly found in riparian and wetland areas, Sycamores range from Ontario to Florida.  They extend as far west as Nebraska.
: Also known as Buttonwood, the American Sycamore can be identified through its interesting bark, which gets lighter and smoother as it ascends the tree.  Typically reaching about 30 to 40 meters in height the largest recorded Sycamore was nearly 51 meters high. Although abundant, the Sycamore does have a few predators including the sycamore leaf beetle and fungi that cause Plane anthracnose disease.
Classification: Deciduous tree
Leaf arrangement
: alternate
Leaf type: The leaves have palmate venation with a broadly-ovate or orbicular shape.  They are four to 22 centimeters long and have a wedge shaped base.
Bark: The bark is mainly a dark reddish brown, but as it ascends the tree it begins to break into oblong plate-like scales.  As these scales fall off a smooth and light gray layer of bark is revealed.  The small branches are green at first but mature into a light gray or reddish brown.
Fruits: Brown ball shaped fruits are produced from flowers.  These hang on slender stems 8-15 centimeters long and are about an 2 centimeters in diameter.  They are persistent throughout the winter and do not hang in clusters.

Big Leaf Magnolia
Magnolia macrophylla
Stephanie Claypool
big leaf
Range: Southeastern United States
Description: The Big Leaf Magnolia is less common than the Umbrella-leaf Magnolia, though it can still be found on Emory’s campus. It is a medium-sized understory species so look for it in the forested regions of Lullwater. The branches droop as it grows so look out! Likewise, it has the largest simple leaf of any tree species in the United States, making it an interesting sight.
Classification: Tree
Leaf arrangement: Alternate
Leaf type: The leaves are simple, bright green, and have a silverish underside. They are oblong in shape and can be 30-80 centimeters long and 18-30 centimeters wide. Additionally, the base of the leaf curves inward, distinguishing it from the Umbrella-leaf magnolia.
Bark: The bark is a light brownish-grey and is fairly smooth with intermittent small bumps.
Fruit/Flower: The flowers are white with a pink tint at the base and can typically be seen from May to July and are 20-30 centimeters wide. Red, hairy egg-shaped fruits that are around 3 inches long follow the blooms; however, the species does not begin to bloom until it is 12-15 years old.
Umbrella Magnolia
Magnolia tripetala
Range: Eastern United States Appalachian Region (AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IN, KY, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, VA, WV)
Classification: Tree
Leaf type: Clustered in an umbrella shape. Pinnate venation. 30-50 cm long. Shiny.
Bark/Stem: stout, thick, brown stems. Round, straight trunk.
Flowers: creamy white. 15-25 cm diameter. 6-9 petals.
Fruit: Reddish pink. 10 cm long. At the tip of stem. Several red seeds.
Other Information: Very similar in look to Big Leaf magnolia. Can be easily differentiated by the base of the leaf. Big leaf magnolias have lobed bases (that resemble ears), while umbrella magnolias lack lobed bases.

Mockernut Hickory
Carya tomentosa
by Rachel Jones
Range: Eastern and Midwestern United States, from New York west to Kansas, south to Texas, and east to northern Florida
Description: Mockernut hickories are part of the Walnut family and are the most common of the hickories.  They are mostly found in humid climates in drier soils.  Its wood is often used in products that need strength and flexibility, as well as for fuel wood.  An old living tree, it can be up to 500 years old.  It is also slow growing, and reaches a maximum height of 25 meters.
Classification: deciduous hardwood tree
Leaf Arrangement: alternate, compound (7-9 leaflets)
Leaf Type:
shiny, yellow green on top, and pale green and hairy underneath, with toothed margins
Bark: gray to dark gray with furrows
Fruit: 3-5 centimeter nuts that are round to pear shaped.  Nuts are initially green and ripen to brown.  They have thick shells and very small kernels (thus the common name).

American Holly
Ilex opaca
By Alexandra Stern
american holly
Range: American Holly reaches As far west as Louisiana and as far north as north Carolina.  It even spreads into Florida but stops in the center.
Description: This perennial has an active growing period during the spring and summer.  Its small red berries can be good food sources for Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, Cedar Waxwing, American Goldfinch, and other song birds.  Many bird species also nest in its dense canopy.
Classification: Evergreen tree
Leaf arrangement: 
Leaf type: The leaves are dark green, tough, and shiny.  They have several pointed edges and are lighter green underneath.  The leaves will retain their color year round.
Bark: The bark is a light gray with small lumps that look like warts.  The smaller branches are stout and start out green.  As they mature they become smooth and brown.
Berries:  The berries are small and red and normally form in clusters. The drupes are approximately a 60 milimeters in diameter.

Loblolly Pine
Pinus taeda
By Candler Vinson
Range: Southeastern United States
Description: Averaging 30 to 35 meters tall with diameters of 0.4 to 1.5 meters, the Loblolly pine is among the tallest of the southern pines. Its needles range from 12 to 22 cm, shorter than the longleaf pine, but longer than the shortleaf pine. Its needles grow in groups of three and occasionally twist around one another. Loblolly pines grow well in areas will acidic clay soil and are commercially harvested on plantations for their rapid rate of growth and use as wood pulp.
Classification: evergreen
Leaf arrangement: needles growing in clusters of three
Leaf type: needles, 12-22 cm long
Bark: reddish-gray scaly plates
Fruit: 7-15 centimeter red-brown cones

Bald Cypress
Taxodium distichum
Range: Delaware to Florida, and west to Arkansas, Texas, and southern Illinois
Description: A deciduous tree that grows in wetland habitats along streams and rivers. It can live up to 600 years old and its rot-resistant wood is coveted for furniture and timber. The bald cypress can grow up to 45 meters, beginning as a conical and moving towards a flat-topped shape as competition for sunlight increases.
Classification: Cypress Family
Leaf arrangement: Light yellow-green deciduous, linear leaves
Leaf type: Flat, needle-like
Bark: reddish brown to ashy gray in thin, peeling vertical strips
Fruit: A 2 centimeter diameter cone that is wrinkly and green before turning woody with maturity.

Class Hepatopsida
Leafy Liver Warts
Characteristics: flattened stems with overlapping scales or leaves in two or more ranks, the middle rank is often conspicuously different from the outer ranks
Habitat; moist environments such as damp forests, rotted logs
Species: estimated nine-thousand species
Size: 2-20 millimeters
Range: greatest number and variety of leafy liverworts are found in tropical Central and South America
Other notes; also referred to as scale moss

Beech Drop
Epifagus Americana
by Rachel Jones
Range: North America
Description: Beech drops are small (15-20 centimeters), parasitic plants that grow on the roots of beech trees.  They lack chlorophyll and leaves, so are mostly brown in color.  Instead of leaves, they have a few scattered ovate scales along the stems.  In the 19th century, beech drops were used to treat cancer, giving it the nickname of Cancer Root.  Beech drops are closely related to Indian pipe and Pinesap.
Classification: low growing, annual herb
Stem: smooth, branching, leafless stem that is dull red to brown in color
Flower: Pink, 1 centimeter flowers that bloom between August and October.  Cross-pollinating flowers occur at the top of the plant, while self-pollinating flowers are closer to the base.

Aralia Spinosa
Devil’s Walking Stick
Range: Eastern United States, New York to Florida
Habitat: grows in forest understory or at the edge of forests
Classification: deciduous shrub, small tree
Stem: woody, sharp spiny stems and petioles
Leaves: large-three to four feet long, clustered at the end of the branches, compound, bi- and tri-pinnate, , two and a half feet broad.
Flower: flowers in July and August, creamy white,
Bark: light brown, scattered prickles, rounded and broken ridges, branchlets of one-half to two-thirds of an inch in diameter, the color of the bark can range from light yellow brown, shining and dotted, or light brown.
Wood: Brown with yellow streaks; light, soft, brittle, close-grained.
Other information: largest leaves of any temperate tree in the contiguous United States

Christmas Fern
Polystichum acrostichoides
Stephanie Claypool
Range: Central-eastern North America (New Brunswick west to Ontario and south to Florida)
The Christmas fern is an evergreen that is popular in Christmas decorations, hence its namesake. It prefers shady environments, particularly on hills near streams, so look for it in Lullwater along the hilly banks of creeks. Growing up straight, the fern is clumping, and can be identified by the individual fronds, which begin broad near the base and then become noticeably smaller as they continue up the stem, that branch of the center stem.  In this way, the Christmas fern somewhat resembles a miniature, one-dimensional Christmas tree, offering a method for easy identification. The species typically grows up to a meter in height and prefers wooded areas.
Classification: Dryopteridaceae or Wood Fern family
Leaf arrangement: 
Leaf type: The leaves, or fronds, are green and glossy with little teeth, and are long, narrow and oblong in shape.
Stem: The stem typically grows erect, though sometimes is weighed down by leaf liter orthe weight of the fronds as the clump grows in size. The stem is typically green as well.
Fruit: Like all ferns, the Christmas Fern does not produce a fruit or flower!

Heartleaf Wild Ginger
Asarum arifolia
Range: Southeastern United States ranging from Kentucky and Virginia in the north, to its southernmost extent in Florida
Description: Heartleaf Ginger is one of several varieties of wild ginger in the Aristolochiaceae family.Early settlers believed wild ginger to be related to the tropical variety, but it is not. The species does have a similar fragrance and its roots can also be used to flavor foods. Native Americans recognized the plant’s medicinal properties and used root extracts and tea from the leaves to treat heart and lung conditions, reduce fevers, and as a birth control agent.
Classification: Low-growing, perennial herb
Leaf arrangement:
Simple, each plant produces one leaf per year
Leaf Type:  Lustrous, heart-shaped green leaves with a light-green dappled pattern
Flowers: Heartleaf Ginger flowers are known as “little brown jugs” and bloom from May to April. They have no petals and are composed of thick, fused sepals.

Blood Root
Sanguinaria canadensis
Range: most of North America
Habitat: grows in rich forests on banks and slopes
Classification: herbaceous perennial, can reach 25 cm in height
Leaves: only basal leaves, can be as wide as 20cm, typically only one leaf with five to nine lobes
Flower: white with yellow center. Blooms appear in late winter and continue into early spring. Eight symmetrically arranged petals, four large and four small
Stem; round, smooth
fruit: two part capsule, seeds spread by ants
Other information:  Used as medicine by some Native Americans for some skin issues (ringworm, warts, polyps, fungal growths) and sore throats. Researchers are investigating the root’s value in cancer treatment. An extract is used in toothpaste and mouthwash to fight plaque and gingivitis Note; the plant can be toxic and produce visual distortions.

Sassafras albidum
by Rachel Jones
Range: Eastern North America; from Ontario west to Iowa and south to Florida & Texas
Description: Sassafras occurs in deciduous forest habitats in moist soils.  Saplings tolerate shade, but need full sunlight to mature to its full growth at 15-20 meters tall.  Male and female flowers are on separate trees and are pollinated by insects. It is unique with three different shapes of leaves that can grow on the same branch, as well as an aromatic scent.  Sassafras is used as an essential oil, in tea, and as the flavoring in root beer.
Classification: deciduous tree
Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf Type: simple, smooth, ovate shaped in three varieties: unlobed, two lobed, or three lobed
Bark: immature shoots are yellow-green, growing to mature trees with dark red-brown bark with deep furrows
Fruit: dark 1 cm blue-black drupe containing a single seed

Impatiens capensis
by Sumayya Allen
Range: United States
Description: These native plants live in moist ground and are found in low meadows and along streams and ponds. Among other places in Lullwater Park, they can be found bordering the Biology Research Pond.  Ruby-throated hummingbirds can be found in patches of blooming Jewelweed. The flower depends on hummingbirds for pollination. The flowers begin blooming the same time the ruby-throated hummingbird begins its migration to Mexico. The seed pods have projectile seeds if lightly touched with ripe, hence the name “touch-me-not.”
Classification: Touch-me-not family
Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf Type: ovate, thin with low broad teeth along edge
Stem:  Translucent and succulent
Flower: Orange spotted three lobed with hooked conical spur at back

Euonymus americanus
By Alexandra Stern

Range: Ranging in the southeast as far west as Oklahoma and Texas the shrub can go as far north as New York.
Description: Also known as Strawberry Bush, Bursting Hearts, or Hearts-a-bustin, this shrub is mainly named after its beautiful seedpods that appear in mid-summer.  Even though many leaves are lost in the winter this is an evergreen plant, that is notable for its photosynthetic stem. The above image shows the plant in mid-autumn when the seed distribution begins.
Classification: deciduous shrub
Leaf arrangement: opposite
Leaf type: The leaves are bright green ovals that are narrow and opposite.
Seeds: Once the small strawberry looking fruits open bright seeds are readily spread throughout the forest. The seeds normally come in groups of four or five and sit in the husk of the bumpy fruit.

Touch me not (Mimosa)
Mimosa púdica
By Margot Pagan

Range:  Native to South America and Central America, but is now a pantropical weed.
Description: Mimosa is a unique plant because of two specific traits: its Seismonastic and Nyctinastic movements. Its leaves fold inward and droop when touched or shaken (Seismonastic), re-opening minutes later. Additionally its Nyctinastic movements cause leaflets to fold together in the evening. The whole leaf droops downward until sunrise. The plant also produces beautiful purplish puff-like flowers. Other common names besides Touch me not: sensitive plant, humble plant, shameful plant, and sleeping grass!
Classification:  Creeping annual or perennial herb
Leaf arrangement: Bipinnately compound
Leaf Type:  Leaves with one or two pinnae pairs, and 10-26 leaflets per pinna
Stem: Upright in young plants, but becomes trailing with age. The stem is slender, branching, and somewhat prickly, growing up to a length of 1.5 m.
Fruit: Consists of clusters of 2-8 pods from 1–2 cm long each, which are prickly on the margins. The pods break into 2-5 segments and contain pale brown seeds.
Flower: In midsummer stalked pale pink or purple flower heads bloom. The flowers are pollinated by wind and insects.

Yellow Lady’s Slipper
Cypripedium parviflorum

Range: The yellow lady’s slipper range extends across the eastern United States and Canada, as well as having a presence in the Rocky Mountains and the Yukon. The species rarely occurs in the southwest, and its location in Lullwater Park is guarded with secrecy, as the species is exceptionally rare in Georgia.
Description: Yellow Lady’s Slipper grow stems 15-40 centimeters in length in damp forest understory, as well as open meadows and stream banks, which allows for its wide range.  Between the months of May-June, it blooms 1-2 flowers with red speckles inside the yellow “pouch”. The Iroquois and Cherokees exploited the plant’s medicinal uses for treating insomnia, anxiety, fever, and even childbirth pain.
Classification: Orchid Family
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Type: ovate, elliptic leaves
Stem: green, fuzzy stem
Flower: Yellow pouch with reddish, purple speckles on the inside

Jack in the Pulpit
Arisaema triphyllum
By Margot Pagan

Range: Native to eastern North America, most likely in thickets and moist woodlands
Description: Jack in the Pulpits are sometimes confused with Poison-ivy, particularly before their flowers appear. The spathe, referred to as “the pulpit” in this plant, wraps around, covers over, and contains a spadix (“Jack”). This is unique because it is covered with tiny flowers of both sexes. The flowers are unisexual. In small plants the majority of the flowers are male but as plants age and grow larger the spadix produces more female flowers. Jack in the Pulpits are pollinated by flies, which they attract using heat and smell. Keep in mind that the oxalic acid in Jack-in-the-pulpits is poisonous if ingested so I wouldn’t recommend sampling this plant! Other common names include: Bog onion, Brown dragon, Indian turnip, Wake robin or Wild turnip.
Classification: Herbaceous perennial plant growing from a corm
Leaf arrangement: Groups of three leaves growing together at the top of one long stem produced from a corm; each leaflet is approximately 8-15 cm long and 3-7 cm broad.
Leaf Type:  Trifoliate
Stem: From 30-90 centimeters tall, usually less than a meter, which separates at or near ground level.
Fruit: The fruit are a shiny green color and smooth. Fruit are about 1 cm. wide berries and ripen in late summer and fall. They turn a bright red color before the plants go dormant.
Flower:  Contained in a spadix that is covered by a hood. Flowers fro

Schisandra glabra
Stephanie Claypool

Range: Southeastern United States, extending from Araknsas east to Florida.
Description: Also sometimes referred to as “Baystar vine,” this species is classified as threatened or endangered throughout most of the region. A leafy green vine preferring slopes and creeping along the ground or climbing trees shrubs, and other forest plants, it’s a rare sight. Easily confusable with climbing hydrangea, it’s important to remember this vine has alternate leaves while the former has opposite. It’s relative is often used in Chinese medicine, though no current medical applications are being undertaken for this species. Due to its frailty, we don’t recommend searching for it, though it’s exciting to know Emory is playing a role in protecting and preserving this species!
Classification: deciduous woody vine
Leaf arrangement: Alternate
Leaf type: Up to 15 cm long and 6 cm wide, the leaves are ovate with a fine, pointed tip on the end. The edges are sparsely toothed, and defined along venation of the leaf.
Fruit/Flower: The flowers are crimson, and typically occur in the summer months. The fruit produced is a red berry, with a cluster of 6-23.

Virginia Creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Rob Hamilton

Range: AL, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV as well as several Canadian territories.
Description: This is a hardy vine which can be found along the eastern coast of North America. This vine can be easily identified due to its compound leaves and brown woody stem. This stem sends out tendrils which not only act as roots by gathering nutrients, but also help to anchor this plant on vertical surfaces. It has been known to grow as high as 18 meters.
Classification: Vine
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf type: Compound leaves. Generally 5 leaflets (sometimes 3)
Stem: a brown woody stem
Fruit: A small round blue-purple berry, gathered in clusters. Stem near berries may have red-brown hue.

English Ivy
Hedera helix
Michelle Cholko

Range: Native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa.  Non-native in United States where it is predominantly found along both coastlines and all throughout the southeastern states
Description: Evergreen vine that grows both along the ground as well as up tree trunks, reaching 20-30 meters high.  When climbing up surfaces, English ivy produces rootlets that exude a sticky substance, allowing the vines to adhere firmly.  Introduced to the United States as an ornamental landscape plant as early as 1727, it has become an ecological threat and is listed as an invasive species.  Areas of particular concern are the forests of the Pacific Northwest and southeastern United States where the prevalence of English ivy has begun to thin out forested lands by “choking” the trees and shrubs it invades.
Classification: Vine
Leaf arrangement: Alternate
Leaf type: Simple, dark green leaves with lighter green veins.  Leaves typically have three lobes but, when exposed to full sunlight, can be completely unlobed.
Fruit: Fleshy and black with small stone-like seeds


Eastern Poison Ivy
Toxicodendron radicans
Rob Hamilton

Range: AL, AR, AZ, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV and Canada
Description: Previously a member of the Rhus genus, Poison Ivy has recently been moved to the genus Toxicodendron along with poison oak and western poison ivy. This plant exudes a poisonous substance in its sap known as urushiol, which causes skin irritation. As the season approaches winter, the sap looses much of its urushiol potency.
This vine is extremely common along the northern side of North American. Identification can be difficult due to the irregular shape and number of leafs.
Classification: Vine
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf type: Compound leaves of 3
Stem: brown and woody
Flower: Small white flowers with a yellow center.


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