Let Nature Challenge You
The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is a 120-acre urban woodland full of trails for you to explore and enjoy.
From the trailhead next to the parking lot, a stabilized walkway encircles a beautiful two-acre lake. This trail gently descends about 25 feet to the foot of the lake and then returns up a gentle slope on the opposite side to the trailhead. Interpretive signs and over 100 labeled plants enhance the loop.
In addition, over three miles of rustic hiking trails wind quietly through a series of distinct ecological habitats. Along the trails, benches invite you either to pause and enjoy the view or to get in a good stretch during a vigorous walk.
The Arboretum is developed and managed by the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens, Inc., a non-profit entity that leases the land from the City. Except for special events, there is no admission fee. $3 non-member visitor donation requested to help pay operations.
Open to the public 7 days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM.
NOTE : Starting March 14, extended hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 8 AM – 7 PM
Entry gates are locked promptly at closing so plan your visit so that you exit the Arboretum prior to closing.
ADA – For accommodation please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
News – August 2017
Leave a Legacy with a Tribute Brick
Dedicate your brick here.
A Butterfly Magnet
Photos: Chuck Hubbuch
Porterweed is a common name for plants in the genus Stachytarpheta. Some of these plants are cultivated for their attractive flowers and their traditional medicinal uses. Some for so long that their origins are no longer clear. Names of these cultivated species are commonly confused in literature and nurseries. Most are tropical and serve well as summer annuals in Jacksonville. One is a perennial, tolerating winter temperatures in the upper teens Fahrenheit.
With some searching, four species can be found in Florida. All of them produce flowers that are very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. The name, Stachytarpheta jamaicensis has been confused with more than one species by various authors. Commonly known as blue or native porterweed, the true Stachytarpheta jamaicensis is native to Florida and the Caribbean. It is a low-growing plant with lavender flowers. Stachytarpheta cayanennensis (previously known as S. urtifolia) is probably native to the American tropics but is widespread now in the world’s tropics. Its common names include blue snakeweed because of its long slender flower spikes or nettleleaf porterweed. It is an upright plant to three or four feet tall with dark blue flowers. This species is used in traditional medicines in the Americas and Asia – especially for respiratory problems, fever and liver disorders. Stachytarpheta microphylla is the red porterweed. Frequently called Stachytarpheta sanguinea in garden literature and the nursery trade, it is a compact plant with red flowers. These three flower through the summer and are great summer annuals here. They may survive mild winters but are not reliably cold hardy in Jacksonville.
Stachytarpheta mutabilis is called coral porterweed, giant porterweed, pink snakeweed and even changeable velvetberry (by the USDA). This species grows to six feet tall or more. Its flowers are coral-pink to royal purple in color. A plant of this species is in the pollinator garden at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. It flowers hold a great attraction for butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and other pollinators. In local gardens, a few seedlings volunteer near the parent but the plant has not spread aggressively. Although most references state that this is a plant for south Florida (USDA Zone 10), this species has proven to be cold hardy to brief winter drops into the upper teens Fahrenheit. It may die back in winter but will return from the crown in spring. In traditional medicine, its leaves are reported to have been used as an external treatment for wounds, as an internal treatment for intestinal worms and as a laxative.
Air Potato Efforts
Bill Lester with UF/IFAS Extension in Hernando County and Dr. Chris Kerr from FDACS DPI are working on a citizen science project involving air potato beetles. The goal is to educate residents on how to identify and better control air potato vines, and to gather data important to current research and beetle tracking. The team created a website with educational videos, pre and post tests and a blog to educate the participants and to keep them updated. Please check them out!
The arboretum has been hit hard by the afternoon showers, particularly the Jones Creek Island boardwalk. Thankfully a durable boardwalk funded by REI could withstand the floods. The newly installed braces perfectly allowed the short bridge to rise with the waters and float.
Show the World You Love the Arboretum
Directions/Map, Facilities, Hours of Operation
Rules about your visit are on this page including information about dogs and Photo policy (.pdf)
Photos collections covering the arboretum, our events, some of the plants and much more
Coverage of our events, awards and other news
E-newsletter sign up and archive
Who Our Supporters Are
Links to Websites
Links to Places to Visit