Hypoluxo Scrub Natural Area

Palm Beach County

curtiss's milkweed
150 Hypoluxo Road
Lantana, FL 33464


Hypoluxo Scrub Natural Area is nearly 100 acres of scrub and scrubby flatwoods with a small wetland thrown in for good measure. Both scrub and scrubby flatwoods are rare habitats providing living space for equally rare plants and animals, notably the iconic and endangered gopher tortoise.

Hypoluo Scrub is also the site of one the oldest homesteads in this part of South Florida, that of one James W. Porter, dating back to 1891, so it offers a bit of history as well. The house is long gone but the remains of a cistern marks the area where it once stood.

The history: Other than Porter's home and a few outbuildings, the land remained largely undeveloped, though hardly untouched, when Palm Beach County assumed ownership in 1999. One notable exception: a dry stormwater retention pond that the Florida Department of Highways installed to handle runoff from nearby streets. The pond couldn't be removed, so Palm Beach County's Department of Environmental Resource Management converted it into a wetland/open water habitat. More on that in our virtual tour.

Though undeveloped, Hypoluxo Scrub had not been kept in a natural state. Trees were axed and open areas routinely mowed until the late 1970s or early 1980s. After that, Hypoluxo Scrub was allowed to revegetate and return to some semblance of a natural state, albeit with heavy mix of exotic and invasive plants. After some restoration work (which really is continuous) and construction of amenities, Hypoluxo Scrub (originally to be named Overlook Scrub, by the way) opened to the public in July 2005.

What you'll see: About half of Hypoluxo Scrub is indeed scrub and about 40 percent scrubby flatwoods. Both are rare habitats because they tend to be plum sites for development. The scrub here is dominated by stands of scrub oaks, Florida rosemary, aka false rosemary and saw palmetto with open land in between, perfect habitat for nodding pinweed, toadflax, pricklypear, cottonweed, Curtiss's milkwee, wireweed, plus various grasses and sedges. We've found these areas a good place to spot butterflies. Slash pines dominate the canopy of the flatwoods, while saw palmetto, staggerbush, fetterbush and scrub oaks rule the understory. Look for various wildflowers, including spurred butterfly pea. Love vine, greenbriar and muscadine are everywhere. Animals spotted within Hypoluxo include the commonly seen gopher tortoises, the rarely seen gray fox, nine-banded armadillos, various song birds and wading birds. You might see one of the Florida scrub lizards reintroduced to the property as part of an effort to increase the range of this near-threatened reptile.

Hypoluxo Scrub was once the southernmost home of a Florida scrub jay population, but these endangered birds have not been seen here since 2007, and they're not likely to return because the natural area's 100 acres is far smaller than what's needed to sustain a scrub jay population.

Amenities: There are two hiking trails — the quarter-mile, accessible Cottonweed Trail, and the mile-and-half, natural surface Eastern Pondhawk Trail. The Cottonweed is a five-foot wide concrete walkway that loops through the scrub. The Eastern Pondhawk is clean, well marked and maintained and an easy hike for the most part, but sections can be a bit of a slog through deep sand. It goes through the scrub, into the flatwoods, past the wetland and loops back. Other amenities include twin observation towers at the entrance to the natural area, a 10-car parking lot, picnic tables and a covered sitting area. There is also an informational kiosk. There are no restrooms or drinking water. Hypoluxo Scrub is open free of charge sunrise to sunset every day of the year.

For more on Hypoluxo Scrub: A list of plants and animals found on the site, including birds, can be found within the county's 2017 management plan. The plan also includes more history of the site and the surrounding area.
Virtual Tour

Cover Photo: Coastal scrub, like that found in Hypoluxo Scrub Natural Area is an endangered habitat, so it seems fitting to use an endangered plant, Curtiss's milkweed, as our cover. It goes dormant in the cooler months and can be ephemeral, appearing one year, not the next or the next, only to reappear in the next, so it's hard to gage exactly how rare it is. We spotted this guy at Hypoluxo in the summer of 2015. Click on the photos below for full-sized images and detailed descriptions.

  • A View from Above
    panoramic view
  • Wetlands: Turning a Lemon into Lemonade
  • The Scrub: Tough, Dry Land
  • Flatwoods, Slash Pines and Sand Pines
    scrubby flatwoods
Getting There ...
Hypoluxo Scrub Natural Area sits on the south side of Hypoluxo Road near its intersection with U.S. !. From either north or south, exit I95 at Hypoluxo Road and head east. The entrance to the natural area will be on the right, a little bit more than a mile from the Interstate. From U.S. 1, turn onto Hypoluxo. The entrance is on the left just beyond the railroad tracks.

Photo Gallery for Hypoluxo Scrub Natural Area

Click on the photograph to see an enlarged image. Click on the name to read more about the species.

Published by Wild South Florida, PO Box 7241, Delray Beach, FL 33482.
Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.