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Jonathan Dickinson State Park

map showing location of Jonathan Dicksinson State Park
Map showing location of Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park is located on Florida's East Coast, north of West Palm Beach, in Hobe Sound. Jonathan Dickinson was a Quaker merchant who shipwrecked in the area of Hobe Sound and whose journal provides valuable information about early life in Florida.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park consists of over 11,000 acres. The park opened to the public in 1950. It contains sand pine scrub, pinelands, mangroves, river swamps and the Loxahatchee River, Florida's only wild and scenic river. Many endangered or threatened animal species such as the bald eagle, Florida scrub-jay, Florida sandhill crane and gopher tortoise are found here as well.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park offers four nature trails, a bicycle trail, canoeing, picnicking, camping, fishing and guided tours of the Loxahatchee River. For more information, please visit the Jonathan Dickinson State Park website.

There are 13 plant communities in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. About 20% of the park is covered in a rare community of coastal sand pine scrub. Walk along the Sand Pine Nature Trail with us and see the rare coastal sand pine scrub community for yourself.

A photo gallery is available for this page. [Photos taken April, 2000]

photo of the begining of the Sand Pine Nature Trail
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Entrance to Sand Pine Nature Trail
Near the beginning of the Sand Pine Nature Trail, sand pines are the predominant trees in the scrub. Through the empty branches of these dead sand pines, needles of live sand pine can be seen. Sand pines have short, twisted needles and highly divided branches.

IPIX - Sand Pine Scrub  
Navigate this 360° view of sand pine scrub found along the Sand Pine Nature Trail of Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The most predominant tree within the scrub is the sand pine. Sand pines have short, twisted needles and highly divided branches. Sand pine rarely reaches 100 years in age.   IPIX image of sand pine scrub
Note: You will need the free IPIX viewer to view this 360° image  

Generally, scrubs are communities dominated by pinewoods with an understory of oaks and saw palmetto, occupying well-drained, nutrient-poor, sandy soils. Plants that grow here have adapted to dry conditions. Fires play an important role in the life of scrubs. In the absence of fires, a hardwood forest of oak will develop.

Insects, disease and fire can kill or reduce the growth of sand pine. The pines pictured here may have been victims of a fire, as a short distance southwest of here we saw a large area containing burned trunks and dead trees. The bark of a mature sand pine is thin, thus it is susceptible to hot fires.
photo of burned trees near path entrance
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Looking through the canopy of the sand pine scrub into an open area containing blackened trees and standing dead tree trunks. Although fire can kill mature sand pine, fire is needed to release seeds from cones.
photo of close-up of blackened trees
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Close-up of blackened trees and standing dead tree trunks found in an open area produced by fire.

Watch out for those spikes! photo of a prickly pear catus bloom
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A prickly pear cactus and bloom. Prickly pear has fleshy, flattened pads covered with clusters of fine sharp spikes. In Florida, its flowers generally blossom in all but the winter months. The flowers produce red fruits, which are edible after carefully removing the spikes.
Prickly pear is commonly found in sandy clearings, scrubs and pinelands throughout Florida. It is Florida's most widespread and abundant native cactus.

Saw Palmetto
photo of saw palmettoes
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Along the Sand Pine Nature Trail , saw palmetto is the most predominant plant growing in the understory of the sand pine scrub. The fan-shaped leaves of these shrubs have saw-like teeth, hence these palms common name. Opossums and raccoons eat the black, juicy fruits of this plant. Early Indians ate them too. photo of saw palmettoes
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The saw palmetto is commonly found in pinelands, sandy prairies and sand dunes throughout Florida.

Related SOFIA Information

Below we have listed science projects and publications for studies that are being conducted, or have been conducted, in the area of Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Follow these links to read about each project and to see project-related publications and data.

Science Projects:

Related Publications:



U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /virtual_tour/jdickinson/index.html
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Heather Henkel - Webmaster (hhenkel@usgs.gov)
Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:44 PM(TJE)