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 – April 2018

From Little Acorns

By Chuck Hubbuch

Photo: Chuck Hubbuch

The oak genus is comprised of approximately three hundred to six hundred species. The difference between the two numbers is large. As sometimes happens in large plant genera, some botanists want to lump related plants together while others want to split them apart into separate species.

Oaks are especially common in forests of the Northern Hemisphere but are native to every continent except Australia and Antarctica. With so many species scattered over such a wide range, the different species of oaks vary in appearance quite a bit. They range from shrubby species that spread by underground rhizomes to forest giants. One thing that they all have in common is the acorn. This is a seed with a hard coat that is partially covered by a cup of small bracts.

Some of the larger oaks are prized around the world for their timber. Oak wood is durable, resists warping and finishes well. It has been used for building boats, furniture, homes and larger buildings. Oak is also used for building barrels and lends a distinctive flavor to aging wine, brandy and whiskey. Oak wood makes an excellent fire wood, too.

Tannin from oak bark has been used to tan leather and used as a rust inhibitor on steel. Tannins from oak gals have been used to make ink. Today, synthetic tannins are used more often than tannins from plants.

The cork in your bulletin board or wine bottle comes from an oak. Specifically, cork comes from the bark of the cork oak, Quercus suber. Damaging too much of the bark off a tree can kill it. So, cork is removed from the tree in vertical strips in a way that allows the tree to recover between harvests. In this way, a cork oak can be harvested several times during the life of the tree.

Acorns are edible. They tend to taste bitter because of the tannins they contain. Types with low amounts of tannin may be eaten after roasting. Native Americans made acorns edible by grinding the seeds into a flour and then washing the flour repeatedly to remove the tannins. The flour was then cooked to make cakes or breads. Acorns are important wildlife food, too.

In Florida, where oaks are abundant, their flowers drop large amounts of pollen in spring and can irritate our eyes and sinuses for a few weeks each year. Medical doctors and the makers of allergy medications must love oaks. Regardless, live oak makes a beautiful tree and is one of the most commonly planted landscape trees in the southeastern United States.

Fourteen species of oak are native to Florida. The different species grow from low swamps to the high, dry ridges. Oak trees can be seen throughout the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. Live oak, laurel oak, water oak, turkey oak, and myrtle oak are the common species along the trails.

Taking a (Much) Closer Look

By Angela Chene

When was the last time you saw something that left you really stunned? Lately, it happens to me all the time. The flower of an ordinary spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis), which many consider to be a weed, blows my mind. And Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides), which can be seen all over town, many people have never really seen. Before you start thinking I’ve gone around the bend, I’ll explain.

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.

I like to poke around with an inexpensive USB microscope. It only goes up to 250x magnification, but the things it reveals have completely changed how I look at the world. I’m not a science whiz and I have no special training in microscopy. I got it for around 30 bucks online and it’s really easy to use. One of these days I will get around to buying a “real” microscope but for now I can see plenty with the simple USB model, which also takes photos and videos.

I used to just pick things up out of the dirt and stick them in my pocket, but now I’m in the habit of carrying a small, clean petri dish with me. When I bring a bunch of “samples” in the house from the backyard or the arboretum, it’s funny how one by one, family members look up from their various devices and stand looking over my shoulder, mouths open in wonderment. I most often hear “ewwww, gross!” and “whoa – what’s that?!” Last time that happened, we were looking at an ordinary rotting leaf I got from under a log, and between the layers of the leaf we saw a squirming, tiny white worm. That happens all the time – I look, expecting one thing and something entirely different is really there. Kind of like life, I suppose.

The kids at my house are older, but I know younger kids would also find this activity interesting, although an adult should probably supervise. Kids have a natural curiosity and they don’t mind getting dirty, so this is a great way to get them interested in science. A few things you might start with if you get a microscope: feathers, beach sand, moss, lichens, flowers and bugs. I dig bugs, too. I feel bad after a few minutes of keeping them in the dish-they try to hide or run around in circles and are usually afraid of the light. I always put them back where I found them, unharmed but with a great story to tell their bug friends.

Discovering Nature Nearby


Photo: Alice Shinkos

The Discovering Nature Nearby program started off on March 17 with presenters Annaleasa Winter, Fresh from Florida, and Dave Holley, Nassau County Forrester. They presented a very informative program about forests, prescribed burns and man’s many uses of wood products in our daily lives. Dave brought a cross-section of a tree and talked about the rings and how they tell the life of the tree. He demonstrated the torch used for prescribed burns, showed how to make a leaf rubbing of a loquat leaf and took the group on a tour identifying the trees on the lake loop. Annaleasa taught the participants how to make their own paper from pulp using screens. 

Trail News 

Everything but Air Potato RoundUp

March 3, 33 volunteers including groups from both Sandalwood High School Greenstate Environmental Club and Greenwood School Ecology Club helped pull and dig a dumpster full of Boston fern, coral ardisia, nandina, camphor, elephant ear, and Chinese privet. The Everything but Air Potato RoundUp is organized annually by the First Coast Invasive Working Group which is a coalition of local government, educational and non-profit groups with the common goal of eradicating invasive plants from Duval County and the rest of the First Coast area.

Downtown Rotaract Workday 

Five volunteers from Downtown Rotaract joined forces with the Conservation Corps to install the crown on the over year long restoration project in the Rosemary Scrub and Scrubby Flatwood. After months of cutting and stump treating, hauling debris, clearing, raking, digging, setting, stringing, and clipping, we finally have a Rosemary Scrub and Scrubby Flatwood with encroachment trimmed back to where it was 25 years ago and a short loop trail with post and cable to catch a first view of the Scrubby Flatwood. Take a walk way out to the very north end of the Rosemary Ridge Trail and catch a glimpse of our work.

Compost Bins
Have you always wondered what these tumblers are? Nope, they aren’t trash cans; they are compost bins. Kyle La Crosse then a ninth grader at University Christian, built the two tumblers in the summer and fall of 2014. We periodically add dried leaves, kitchen vegetable waste, and coffee grounds…and a scoop of fertilizer and handful of dirt for good measure. Currently we are also having to water our compost tumblers since it hasn’t rained much. Kyle built these so that they can be rotated by simply tumbling rather than have to aerate with a shovel. You are welcome to help us tumble…gently.

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

Honey and T-shirt sale

On April 21 (weather permitting) JAG membership will have memberships, honey and new T-shirts for sale in the picnic area from 9:00 AM – Noon.

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. April 2018 will be the last kids tour of the season.

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!





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