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Sweetbay Natural Area
Palm Beach County
sweetbay butterfly
Click Photos for Larger Image
sweetbay natural area
sweetbay natural area
sweetbay natural area
Click Photos for Larger Image

12560 Aviation Blvd.
Palm Beach Gardens


Sweetbay Natural Area has nearly 1,100 acres of pinelands and wetlands bordering the North County General Aviation Airport in western Palm Beach County. Despite the impressive spread, the opportunities for hiking are rather limited. There is one, short, accessible trail that splits, one fork ending at covered overlook and the other looping around. Sweetbay is home to a year-round population of Bachman's sparrows.

The landscape for the most part is open pines and wet meadows punctuated by a few hardwood hammocks called bayheads, with sweetbay among the dominant species. The palamedes swallowtail butterfly, shown as the feature photo on this page, were in abundance; they use sweetbay and other members of the laurel family exclusively as host plants. Grasses and saw palmetto dominate the understory, with partridge pea, tenangle pipewort and carolina bloodroot sprinkled through. Eastern purple bladderwort and floating bladderwort, both carnivores, populate the wet meadow. Floating bladderwort is rare, and considered imperiled.

The site is divided into two sections, with all the public facilities at the western tract off Aviation Boulevard. There is a parking lot, information kiosk and the accessible hiking trail. There's no water or restrooms on site. The entrance is along Aviation Boulevard, a short distance from the Beeline Highway.

More Resources for Sweetbay Natural Area
      Great Florida Birding Trail
Photo Gallery for Sweetbay Natural Area
bloodroot unknown flower boneset st. john's wort
everglades morning glory tenangle pipewort flower pine warbler
gulf fritillary eastern purple bladderwort american bluehearts floating bladderwort
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without their express permission.