Wild South Florida — Pawpaw Natural Area
 
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Pawpaw Natural Area
four petal pawpaw
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pawpaw scene
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Ellison Wilson Road at Vista Drive
Palm Beach Gardens

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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 an actual street address 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 priceless real estate. The four-petal pawpaw, pictured above, only grows in Martin and Palm Beach counties, and then only in coastal scrub, an exceedingly rare habitat. It's federally listed as an endangered species. Pawpaw Natural Area is mostly a collection of scrub oaks heavily canopied by love vine, with a few clusters of sand pines and open areas. 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. But again, these pricelss plants are the main attraction. We parked on Vista Drive across Ellison Wilson Boulevard from the site. It is owned and maintained by Palm Beach County.


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Photo Gallery for Pawpaw Natural Area
caterpillar common buckeye narrowleaf silkgrass
scorpion flower toadflax east coast dune sunflower groundcherry
netted pawpaw palm warbler saw palmetto prickly pear
mockingbird treadsoftly red shouldered hawk gulf fritillary
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without their express permission.