Florida’s Marvelous Trees: The True Beauty of Florida

Hey, fellow tree enthusiasts! If you’re like me and love trees, then you are always noticing the trees more than the other plant life. Florida, with its dazzling beaches, vibrant cities, beautiful flowers and abundant greenery, is also home to some of the most captivating trees you’ll ever lay your eyes on.

The Sunshine State’s fantastic tree-scape, includes a large variety of majestic, functional, and beautiful trees. Here are some trees to look for when you are wandering about..

The Majestic Live Oak

Let’s start with the OG of Florida trees – the Live Oak. These ancient giants can live for centuries, boasting sprawling canopies that provide the most dreamy dappled shade. Imagine picnicking under these wise old branches, surrounded by Spanish moss swaying gently in the breeze. Trust me; it’s pure magic.

Where to see: Live Oaks are a common sight in many Florida state parks, including Myakka River State Park and Tomoka State Park. They also line the highways and landscapes of Florida homes.

Southern Magnolia: Nature’s Elegance

For those who appreciate a touch of Southern charm, the Southern Magnolia is the tree to behold. Its glossy, evergreen leaves and fragrant, enormous white blooms make it an absolute showstopper. Just one look, and you’ll understand why it lines some of the most prestigious neighborhoods in Florida.

Where to see: Southern Magnolias also grace the landscapes of many state parks, including Bulow Creek State Park and Highlands Hammock State Park. And you can spot them in the picturesque Big Cypress National Preserve.

Crape Myrtles: Burst of Color

If you’re into aesthetics, you’ll love Crape Myrtles. They’re like the fashionistas of the tree world, offering an array of vibrant blooms in reds, pinks, and purples. And the best part? They’re the life of the party all summer long.

Where to see: Crape Myrtles add bursts of color to various state parks around the Sunshine State, including Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park and Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. And these vibrant trees enhance the beauty of Canaveral National Seashore.

The Surreal Bald Cypress

Prepare to be transported to a fairytale realm when you encounter the Bald Cypress trees in Florida’s swamps and wetlands. These beauties seem to rise right out of the water, creating an enchanting landscape that’s perfect for kayaking adventures and wildlife spotting. It is such a special majestic tree in Florida and my favorite tree that inspired a special habitat card in The Balance of Gaia game.

Where to see: You’ll be enchanted by Bald Cypress in places like Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. And a great place to see these breathtaking trees is Big Cypress National Preserve.

The Graceful Sabal Palm

When you’re strolling along Florida’s pristine beaches, you can’t miss the iconic Sabal Palms. Their slender trunks and elegant fronds against the backdrop of a golden sunset are Instagram-worthy, to say the least.

Where to see: Sabal Palms thrive in many Florida state parks, particularly the ones that line the coastal areas of Florida including Lovers Key State Park but are also found inland at state parks including Highlands Hammock State Park.

Slash Pines: The Forest Keepers

For those craving the call of the wild, Florida’s Slash Pines are where it’s at. These towering trees are the backbone of the state’s forests and are cherished by outdoor enthusiasts for their role in creating hiking trails and providing shelter for native wildlife.

Where to see: Slash Pines dominate the landscape in parks such as Osceola National Forest and Apalachicola National Forest. And they play a vital role in the ecosystems of Everglades National Park.

East Palatka Holly: Nature’s Decor

If you’ve got an eye for design, the East Palatka Holly’s glossy leaves and red berries make it the perfect addition to your backyard. It’s like having your own personal Christmas tree, year-round.

Where to see: You’ll find East Palatka Hollies adding a touch of elegance to gardens at Harry P. Leu Gardens and Bok Tower Gardens.

Gumbo Limbo: The Sun Chasers

Gumbo Limbos, also known as the “tourist trees,” are constantly shedding their coppery bark. They’re practically saying, “Look at me!” and boy, do we ever. They’re the perfect reminder to embrace change and grow gracefully.

Where to see: Gumbo Limbos are often spotted in Jonathan Dickinson State Park and Lovers Key State Park. In addition, you can see them in the natural areas surrounding Everglades National Park.

Sweetgum: Autumn Vibes

Who says Florida can’t have a touch of fall foliage? The Sweetgum trees paint the landscape with vibrant reds, oranges, and purples in the autumn months. It’s like a mini New England right here in the Sunshine State.

Where to see: Sweetgums display their stunning fall foliage at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park and Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. They are most often spotted in the northern areas of Florida.

Silver Buttonwood: Coastal Chic

For those lucky enough to live by the coast, Silver Buttonwoods are your go-to tree. Their silver-gray leaves and coastal adaptability make them a symbol of beachfront living at its finest.

Where to see: Silver Buttonwoods are commonly found in coastal parks like Bahia Honda State Park and St. Andrews State Park. You can also spot them along the coastline near Biscayne National Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

In Florida, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to beautiful trees. So enjoy picnicking under a Live Oak, kayaking among Bald Cypress, or simply soaking in the coastal vibes with a Silver Buttonwood, and fall in love with the unique charm of Florida’s tree-filled wonderland. Happy tree-hugging! #FloridaTreeLovers

About the author


Florida Gaia is a column by Tiger Tarell, the creator of The Balance of Gaia. His love of nature, trees and the earth is what inspired the game. His research and commitment to sharing the love is what inspires this column!
View on Instagram  |  Visit Website