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.

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 – December 2017

Peppers and Pipers

by Chuck Hubbuch

Piper auritum
Photo by Chuck Hubbuch
The genus Piper is one of the members of a comparatively small plant family, the Piperaceae. However, it is a fairly large genus of one to two thousand species that occur naturally throughout the world’s tropics. Piper species may be shrubby or vining. Several are attractive enough to be cultivated in gardens and a few have important values as food and medicine. Only a few are sufficiently cold-hardy to be grown outdoors in north Florida.

A few Piper species have important commercial value. Black and white pepper are produced from the fruits of Piper nigrum. These have been used by people for centuries and are among the most widely used spices today. Black pepper comes from grinding the entire dried fruit and seed. For white pepper, the flesh of the fruit is removed and the clean seed is ground.

Although rare in the United States, the fruits of other Piper species are used to produce spices in other parts of the world. Kava is a popular drink produced from Piper mythysticum in Polynesia and sometimes other parts of the world. It is noted for having a relaxing effect without causing sleepiness. The leaves of the betel plant, Piper betle, are combined with the seeds of the betel nut palm and eaten as a stimulant. In parts of tropical Asia, it serves a purpose much like drinking coffee.

The leaves of a few other species are used as food or flavoring. One of these, the root beer plant or Piper auritum, can be found in home gardens in Jacksonville. It is a vigorous plant in the right setting with big, bold leaves. These leaves are used to add aroma and flavor to cooking and to make tea and a liquor in Mexico. It contains a chemical, safrole, which has been found to be cancer-causing in lab animals by the USDA so it should not be consumed in large quantities. The leaves of another species, Piper sarmentosum, are eaten fresh or cooked as a vegetable in southeast Asia.

Several Piper species are used locally as traditional medicines. One of them is Piper kadsura from Japan. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in lab testing. This plant is cold-hardy in Jacksonville. It is a small vine and looks much like a heart-leaf philodendron but will grow up the trunk of a tree outdoors. A variegated form called ‘Pied Piper’ is in the nursery trade.
We call other plants by the name “pepper”, too. Bell pepper and jalapeno are in the genus Capsicum and the family Solanaceae. They are very distant relatives of the black pepper and the other Piper species.

Winter at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens is too cold for most Piper species. However, Piper auritum can be seen in the east garden off the lake loop path. Piper kadsura and Piper sarmentosum are cold hardy species that we will be adding to the Arboretum collection in the near future.

Trail News

Photo: Uncredited

We had a great turnout at the November Garden Workday. Enough so that we were able to get a lot of weeding done, in addition to rebuilding the temporary bamboo fences which protect our new plantings. Asked what he enjoyed most about the day, Steve said “I just love working outdoors”. Paul said “It was great father-daughter time”. The family moved to the area in 2009 and his daughter Maia remembers coming to Owl Prowls when she was about 6. Maia came to the workday to collect service hours for school. Paul said they walked the trails a lot and felt it was time to give back. 

Photo: Uncredited

Volunteers are the heart of the Arboretum. Join us for the next Workday December 9th 9 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 next 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 native plants, ecosystems 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

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 begin the second Saturday of September. From there, it 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 ReligiousStudies. 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.

Christmas Gift Opportunity
December 9

Mary Belet will be selling T-shirts, honey and memberships from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon on Saturday December 9th at the entrance to the Arboretum.   Prices are as follows:

Adult t-shirts $10 + tax
Youth t-shirts $5 + tax
Small Arboretum Honey $8
Large Arboretum Honey $12

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!

Directions/Map, Facilities, Hours of Operation


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

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