This part of Oliver’s Woods is a good representation of Indiana forests. It has a mix of oak, hickory and sugar maple in an area that floods every two or three years. The soil is gravelly in places and sandy in others, indicating the glacial outwash history shared by many forests along major rivers in the state. The White River was a glacial outwash stream, and the deposits here are about 12,000 years old from when the mile-high ice sheet retreated to Canada.
In spring, look for wildflowers like prairie trillium, spring beauty, cut-leaved toothwort and—for a couple of weeks—a flurry of wild hyacinth.
An important element to our native plant communities consists of the relationship between butterflies and host plants. Look for American hoptree with its compound leaves with three leaflets: It is the host plant for our largest North American butterfly, the giant swallowtail, which calls Oliver’s Woods home.