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 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 with Extended Hours to 7 PM on Tuesday and Thursday (from March 20th and ending Thursday September 6th, 2018)

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 – March 2018

The Happy Tree

By Chuck Hubbuch

Photo: Chuck Hubbuch

Two species of Camptotheca grow in Asia. Only one has a commercial value, Camptotheca acuminata. The Chinese name for Camptotheca acuminata translates to “happy tree”. Traditionally, it was used in China for a wide variety of problems including colds, cancer, liver disorders and digestion issues. In scientific studies, it was found to contain compounds for medicines to treat cancer in the brain, liver, lungs, ovaries, digestive tract and for leukemia. Also, it inhibits the replication of certain viruses. The reports I read say that the natural compound is highly toxic (so don’t do this at home) but several compounds derived from it in the lab are safe and effective. According to one report, the estimated commercial value of these compounds was one billion dollars in 2003.

Camptotheca is in the same plant family as tupelo, the Nyssaceae. The happy tree is an attractive, deciduous tree with large oval leaves. The leaves have deeply impressed veins. The trunk is straight with smooth gray bark that becomes furrowed with age. Young trees grow rapidly into an upright conical shape. The small, white flowers are produced in spherical clusters that remind me of the flowers of our native buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis. The cluster of seeds is also spherical and turns yellow before it ripens and falls off.

The happy tree is cultivated as an ornamental tree in China. Happy tree seedlings and seeds can be found in mail order sites. They are uncommon in Florida but grow well here. They are at their best in a moist, organic soil in full sun. Reports from China state that they grow to sixty feet or more in height. The young tree at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens grew from seeds donated by the Armstrong State University Arboretum in Savannah, Georgia in the late summer of 2015. Already, the tree is over six feet tall. You can see it at the south end of the Lake Loop, not far from the pavilion.

Our native relatives of the happy tree, the tupelos, have a few traditional medicinal uses. Uses have included causing vomiting and treating intestinal worms. None of the traditional uses of the tupelos has translated into modern medicinal uses.

One Person Can Do So Much

By Angela Chene

In a traffic-heavy, paved-over city like Jacksonville, visiting the Arboretum feels like a cool, green sanctuary away from the maddening world. People visit for all kinds of reasons: parents with kids’ who have boundless energy, painters with crazy talent, college students working on degrees, and people like me-meditatively listening and watching it all.

There are a few tidbits of etiquette and rules that we should all keep in mind so everyone can enjoy all the Arboretum has to offer.

Have you noticed little bamboo fences popping up here and there like dandelions? Those protect gopher tortoise habitat, delicate baby plants and new transplants that can’t seem to catch a break from off-trail foot traffic. In general, stay on marked trails. Little kids and dogs can’t even read the signs to stay on the trails, so it’s up to you.

As enticing as the trails are, they’re not for bikes. Definitely ride your bike to the Arboretum, but chain it up in the parking lot and then walk in. No one wants to be that person that mows down a sweet little old lady on a blind curve. Bikes are hard on trails anyway, so show some respect.

To me, seeing kids get excited about nature is one of the best things here. Collecting those painted rocks makes them giggle with glee, but please place them where no one has to go stomping off trail to get them. And remind kids to be careful what they touch, since not all plants play nice.

Even our canine companions seem to love the Arboretum, but they need to be on a leash that’s eight feet or shorter. And you already know this, but I’ll say it anyway: pick up that poo, and save yourself from a steaming pile of bad karma. Plus, it’s bad for the environment to just leave it there.

You can see all the official rules on our website or on the big board by the parking lot. A good rule of thumb is to think how you’d want people to treat your yard (or not) and act accordingly at the Arboretum. Spring is here, so let’s get out there! 

Interpretive Plant Clinic

Discovering Nature Nearby

Journaling like a Naturalist

Photo: Alice Shinkos

At the February 17 Discovering Nature Nearby program, participants received written and verbal directions on how to observe nature. To record their observations everyone was given an instruction page, documentation pages and a journal. As they walked about they were encouraged to write or draw what they saw.

Several families were in attendance and much fun was had by all during their exploring and observing.

Time Change

With the beginning of daylight savings time this month the Arboretum will be open until 7:00 PM on Tuesday and  Thursday.The change begins on Tuesday March 20th and ends Thursday September 6th, 2018.

Air Potato Roundup


Tribute Bricks

Tribute Bricks

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We are asking for your support of our Tribute Brick and Tribute Bench fundraising projects at the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. This time of the year is great for making tax deductible gifts and, as a reminder, we are a non-profit organization and not a city park. We have no paid staff and rely solely on volunteers – and your charitable contributions – to operate the Arboretum for everyone to enjoy.

Consider supporting us by purchasing an engraved brick paver or an engraved bench with the name of your choice, permanently imprinted on the brick and on a plaque on the bench, to honor or memorialize those who are dear to you. This is a visible honor that you can use, and that other visitors will appreciate as they enter the arboretum to walk the trails and enjoy the grounds. The Tribute Brick area will create a living monument of pathways bridging the past, the present and the future. Your placement of a bench will also be appreciated, creating places of rest for you and other guests. Your donation helps us today – and will be enjoyed now and for generations to come.

Your Tribute Brick will be located at the kiosk at the entrance to the Gardens, with benches placed in strategic locations throughout the arboretum grounds.

This year marks our 10th anniversary – and a great opportunity to celebrate the success of what’s being called “the hidden jewel of Jacksonville” for its lakeside gardens focused on people’s use of plants and extensive walking and hiking trails.

Thanks for considering the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens Tribute Bricks/Benches fundraising program in your annual giving.

Martha Mazza
Tribute Brick Coordinator

Kids Tour of the Arboretum

Photo: Uncredited

This tour is designed to teach kids the relationship between people and the environment.

The group will be taken around the arboretum and shown what plants can be used for purposes such as food, medicine, fibers, culture, and environmental factors. Kids will learn that plants are essential to life as we know it.

This free tour is designed for kids roughly ages 7-12 and will be held every second Saturday of the month. It will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the picnic area and will continue until 11:00 a.m.

This program will not only get the kids outside and letting out some energy, but it will also teach them facts and skills they can take to their families and schools.

Please email arboretum4kids@gmail.com as spots are limited.

McKenna Korzeniewski is a senior at UNF, double majoring in Global Environmental Studies and Religious Studies. She has been working in horticulture since 2010. She currently interns at the Jacksonville Arboretum and is the Peace Corps Ambassador for UNF. McKenna recently studied abroad at Chiang Mai University in Thailand and hopes to go into agriculture education in the future.

Show the World You Love the Arboretum

Show the world you love us, by posting your Arboretum photographs at #jacksonvillearboretum and Facebook www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleArboretumGardens . We appreciate it!




Visit the Arboretum!

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Rules about your visit are on this page including information about dogs and  Photo policy (.pdf)

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