Rosemary Scrub Natural Area

Palm Beach County

red-bellied woodpecker
2901 N. Seacrest Boulevard
Boynton Beach
Overview: At 14 acres, Rosemary Scrub Natural Area ranks among the smallest natural areas in Palm Beach County. But it offers two of the rarest habitats in Florida and a diversity of birds, butterflies and flowers. The area includes two short hiking trails, which combined are less than a half mile, and make the Rosemary Scrub a quick walk. The main trail, called the Red Bay, is accessible.

The History: The land on which Rosemary Scrub sits was once part of a large complex of scrub and scrubby flatwoods between Lake Worth to the east and the Lake Osborne chain of lakes to the west. Only bits of it remain, including neighboring Hypoluxo Scrub Natural Area, Lantana Scrub Natural Area and High Ridge Scrub Natural Area.

That it was in anywhere near a natural state when Palm Beach County bought it is an accident of history that involves the Resolution Trust Corp. and the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s and '90s, the construction of I95 and changing demographics of the neighborhood. At one time, what is now Rosemary Scrub was supposed to be the intersection of Seacrest Boulevard and Miner Road, which was supposed to become a major east-west route. Miner actually extended through Rosemary Scrub as a dirt road before dead-ending at the eventual I95 right of way. Developers planned to build a shopping center on the site, but unfortunately for the developers, plans for the construction of I95 did not include an overpass for Miner Road, which effectively made it a minor road. The slow decline of the surrounding neighborhood made any development of the site unattractive. When the county began its natural areas program, Rosemary Scrub was identified as a priority piece of land to be preserved. Palm Beach County bought it in 1995.

What You'll See: There are two habitats on the land: scrub, which makes up a majority of the preserve, and scrubby flatwoods toward the rear of the property. Species we've found include milkpea, red morning glory, love vine, pokeberry, Florida rosemary, largeflower rosemary, Feay's palafox, corkystem passionflower, greenbriar, spanish moss, saw palmetto, red-bellied woodpecker, strangler fig, cabbage palms, scrub oaks, banana spider, and more. Some gopher tortoises were moved here after the site opened; we've seen evidence of them but not the tortoises themselves.

Amenities: Rosemary Scrub offers two trails, the Red Bay Trail, which is 0.16 mile long and accessible, and the 0.25 mile long, natural surface Gopher Apple Trail. The two trails form a slightly off-kilter figure eight. There's a small parking lot and an informational kiosk. There's no drinking water or restrooms.

For More Information: Palm Beach County's 2008 Management Plan for Rosemary Scrub can be found here. It includes a detailed history of the site and surrounding area, plus lists of plants and animals that have been found there.
Virtual Tour

Cover Photo: Rosemary Scrub Natural Area is a small place and a place to appreciate small, beautiful things, like this red-bellied woodpecker.
Getting There ...
Rosemary Scrub Natural Area is located between Hypoluxo Road and Gateway Boulevard just east of I95. It can be accessed from the Interstate via exits at Hypoluxo and Gateway. Both roads also connect from U.S. 1.

Photo Gallery for Rosemary 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.