Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 1445 Millcoe Road, Jacksonville, FL 32225  

Aralia Trail

Aralia Trail

Trails within the Arboretum are graded easiest, moderate, and more difficult based on terrain and length.

Trail Grade: More Difficult

This trail lies south of the Upper Ravines Trail with its entrance near the Mormon Bridge. It offers a view of rippling water in Jones Creek and several large Aralia spinosa (Devil’s Walking Stick) trees. There are some grade changes and part of the trail is located on a natural seep that can be wet and muddy after rains.

Points of Interest

Small Forested Wetlands

Throughout this forest are small swamps, tiny ephemeral pools, and modest little mucky spots. Even though they don’t appear on a map of wetlands they are vital to our health and the health of our environment.

A forested wetland is not simply wet ground but also the living trees, standing snags and fallen logs. It is the scattered sunny patches of ubs and saplings that provide structural and vegetative diversity.It is the sand, clay and silt of the soils. Under your feet, and beneath the leaves and a few inches of sand, is a layer of clay. Water flows down through the sand and then across the surface of the clay slope. The sand layer filters water as it drains downhill from the surrounding roads and businesses after a heavy rain. The roots and soil trap many pollutants in urban runoff and prevent them from reaching Jones Creek.

The wetlands also provide water, food and shelter for a huge diversity of plants and animals including many invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. A large fallen limb may create just the hiding spot a cricket or frog needs to escape a raccoon…or a neighborhood cat.

Though the diversity of plants and animals is high in a forested wetland, the hydrologic balance is extremely fragile. The pools of water are small and even a tree fall can create subtle changes in sunlight levels and evaporation rates. If this pool dries too quickly,frog eggs deposited in it may shrivel before they hatch into tadpoles.