There’s nothing particularly striking about the looks sleepy morning,

Saw Palmetto Natural Area

Broward County

4950 NW 71st Street
Coconut Creek


At 11.7 acres, Saw Palmetto Natural Area is postage-stamp sized, but it is centrally located between two other small natural areas within walking distance and a third not far away along U.S. 441. It is intended to be the hub of these preserves, all of which add up to less than 100 acres combined but are in an area that is otherwise heavily developed. The short loop trail goes through dense slash pine woods with a thick, shrubby understory of which namesake saw palmetto is a major component. There is a meadow adjacent to the parking lot, right as the loop trail begins.

History: Saw Palmetto was part of a complex of pine flatwoods, cypress swamps, marshes and meadows that once covered this area and formed the headwaters of Hillsboro River, which once flowed from north-central Broward, south-central Palm Beach counties to what we now call the Intracoastal Waterway. A push to drain the land in the early 20th century killed the Hillsboro and otherwise changed the hydrology of the land. Broward County bought Saw Palmetto as two separate parcels, using money from a bond issue and grants from the Florida Communities Trust program. One of the parcels was previously developed, the other slash pine flatwoods. Broward County land managers cleared and filled the developed parcel to make way for the natural area. It opened in September 2014.

What You'll See: Slash pines tower over the property and an understory that includes saw palmetto, beautyberry, dahoon holly, wild coffee, greenbriar and gallberry. We spotted cat birds, warblers, morning doves and mockingbirds during our visit.

Amenities: There is a short loop trail, completely handicapped accessible, a large parking lot, covered picnic tables, a covered observation deck, an informational kiosk interpretive signs and benches along the trail. There is no drinking water or restrooms.

Nearby: Saw Palmetto Natural Area is intended to be the hub of three small preserves along Hillsboro Boulevard between Lyons Road and U.S. 441 in Broward County. It is about 14 acres of mostly pinewoods. Nearby is the Helene Klein Pineland Preserve and the West Creek Pineland Natural Area, all part of the Coconut Creek Greenway. Not far to the northwest is the Kristin Jacobs Natural Area Hillsboro Pineland. A bit farther out are the Broward County entrance for the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and the Daggerwing Nature Center off Glades Road west of 441 in Boca Raton.

Virtual Tour

Cover Photo:
Getting There ...
The entrance to Saw Palmetto Natural sits just north of Hillsboro Boulevard along NW 71st Street off Lyons Road. From Hillsboro, turn north at Lyons; 71st Street. is the first left turn (west) off Lyons. Florida's Turnpike can be taken to the Sawgrass Expressway; exit the Sawgrass at Lyons and head north. Saw Palmetto is about four blocks west of Lyons, on the left just before NW 71st Street bends north.

Photo Gallery for Saw Palmetto 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.