Wild South Florida — Pawpaw Natural Area
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Pawpaw Natural Area
four petal pawpaw
pawpaw natural area
pawpaw natural area
pawpaw natural area

Ellison Wilson Road at Vista Drive
Palm Beach Gardens


Pawpaw Natural Area in Palm Beach Gardens doesn’t have much. It's postage-stamp size at 3.2 acres. There is no parking, no informational kiosk; there’s not a single trail, accessible or otherwise. There’s not so much as a pedestrian entrance or a sign proclaiming its name.

What it does have, however, is something extremely rare: four-petal pawpaws growing within its limits, and that makes it extremely valuable. The four-petal pawpaw, pictured above, only grows in coastal scrubs in Martin and Palm Beach counties, and is listed on the federal endangered species list. We found three plants on the site, all within a few feet of each other. Pawpaw Natural Area is mostly open, with a few clusters of pine trees. We found scorpion flower, east coast dune sunflower, common buckeye butterflies, netted pawpaw and ground cherries. The four-petal blooms in late winter and spring, and that's when we'd recommend visiting thts site, unless you're in the neighborhood.

The site is flanked north and south by apartment complexes and to the east by a self-storage building, with nothing really providing a buffer. We parked on Vista Drive across Ellison Wilson Boulevard from the site. It is owned and maintained by Palm Beach County.

Note: The Institute for Regional Conservation includes Pawpaw Natural Area in its list of conservation areas. However, the listing does not have any data on species living on the site.

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Photo Gallery for Pawpaw Natural Area
caterpillar common buckeye narrowleaf silkgrass
scorpion flower toadflax east coast dune sunflower groundcherry


Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without their express permission.