Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens 1445 Millcoe Road, Jacksonville, FL 32225  

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 from 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.

Extended hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays (starting March 15) 8 AM to 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 info@jacksonvillearboretum.org

News – August 2016

A World of Hibiscus

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Hibiscus acetosella
Photos: Chuck Hubbuch

Hundreds of species of hibiscus are found naturally around the world. They may be small, herbaceous plants, shrubs or even trees. Seven species are native to Florida, alone. You may have noticed the large white, pink or red flowers of some of these species during the summer in roadside ditches and wetlands. Several Hibiscus species are grown in Florida gardens, usually for their large, showy flowers. Kenaf and other Hibiscus species are also used around the world for the strong fibers in their stems. Kenaf fibers, in particular, are used to make string, coarse cloth, paper, insulation, packing material and as a component of automobile body parts.

Hibiscus sabdariffa is native to southern Asia but is commonly cultivated around the world. Around the Americas, it is known as roselle, sorrel, jamaica and red hibiscus. The fleshy calyx that surrounds the flower and developing seed capsule is used to make a tart beverage in many parts of the world. Commonly, it is red but white and green forms are cultivated, too. The fresh calyx may be chopped and added to salads or in cooking. They may be used also in sauces, syrups, jellies and for wine. The dried calyx is used commonly in commercial herbal teas, as well. In particular, it is beneficial for the vitamin C that it contains. In some parts of the world, the leaves are eaten, the stems are harvested for their fibers and the plant is used medicinally for various ailments. This is a bushy annual plant with green leaves and yellow flowers. It can be seen in the landscape bed with the camellias.

Hibiscus acetosella is native to tropical Africa. Common names include false roselle and African rosemallow. Common garden forms have red leaves and deep burgundy flowers. The leaves are lobed and resemble the leaves of the Japanese maple. This is a perennial plant in the warmest parts of Jacksonville but will not survive the winters in the colder parts of town. It grows fast enough to become a large shrub in one summer. The young leaves are edible and have a tart flavor. They may be eaten raw as a flavoring in a salad or cooked as a vegetable. The flowers are reported to have no flavor but they are edible and are sometimes used to add color to teas. Hibiscus acetosella is growing near the camellias. They are easily identified by their red, maple-like leaves.

The most popular garden hibiscus in warm climates is the Chinese hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Many different varieties exist with flowers of nearly every color but blue. The young leaves can be eaten as a cooked vegetable. The flowers are edible and are sometimes used to add color to salads. In some parts of the world, the plant is known as “shoeblack” and the flowers are used to shine shoes. In China, it has a number of traditional medicinal uses. In Jacksonville, the Chinese hibiscus dies down to the ground most winters and resprouts in spring. It is not yet planted in the Arboretum.

You can see native species, Hibiscus coccineus, H. grandiflorus and H. moscheutos, along streams and in marshes at the Arboretum. These plants have large colorful flowers. The flowers of H. moscheutos, the crimson-eyed mallow, can be as large as eight inches across.

We’d love your help!

The arboretum has no staff and is totally dependent on your volunteering. Weeds and invasive plants are a constant battle during the summer months. To keep up with the weeds, we really really need another ten volunteers at both the Garden Workday and Conservation Workday in August.

Workdays start at 8AM when it isn’t quite so hot. JAG supplies water, snacks, gloves and tools. All you need to bring is you, clothed in long pants and close-toed shoes (please no shorts or sandals). Garden Workdays are always the 2nd Saturday of the month (August 13). Dates for Conservation Workdays vary from month to month, but can be found posted at the Arboretum on the sign near the trailhead or by emailing info@JacksonvilleArboretum.org for more information.

Volunteers are the HEART of the Arboretum!




Photos: Merrill Varn

The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens extends many thanks to the wonderful volunteers who braved the heat and poison ivy in July. Around the Lake Loop there was lots of weeding, watering, planting, and building temporary fences to protect the new plants. Speaking of fences…even if you didn’t have the time to volunteer on site, you can help by heeding the fences and reminding other visitors to stay out of the garden areas. At the conservation workday, volunteers continued removing invasives from the wet prairie area and along the tributaries in the ravine.

Pictures Please

Please keep up with those Arboretum picture posts to Instagram #jacksonvillearboretum and facebook
www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleArboretumGardens. It helps the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens non-profit identify Arboretum inhabitants and encourages more visitors to the on-site donation box. Thanks!



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