Gumbo Limbo Trail Everglades National Park


The Gumbo Limbo Trail
Everglades National Park

 

 

 

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The Gumbo Limbo Trail

The Gumbo Limbo Trail is located to the right of the Royal Palm visitor center. Be aware of the vehicle damage vultures cause here.

A short, 1/3-mile walk, the dirt path winds through a hardwood hammock that is truly jungle-like.

The trail is named for the tropical tree with the distinctive red bark; some park rangers call it the “tourist tree” in honor of sunburned visitors.

The trail wanders among ferns, orchids, air plants, and long trailing woody vines (you can’t help but look for Tarzan), all the classic characteristics of a lush Caribbean forest.

In places, a thick canopy high overhead dims the sunlight and seems to trap the humidity; bring bug spray.

The dense foliage of the Gumbo Limbo Trail is a reliable place to locate the Liguus tree snails that graze on the algae, fungi and lichen growing on tree bark. For photos, if possible use a detached flash to capture true shell color and detail; pop-up flashes may create a hot spot on the snail shell, most often predominantly white. .  

The effects of past storms on some of the gumbo limbo trees will be demonstrated here for years to come. The winds toppled a number of the trees but did not destroy them.

Native to a part of the world where hurricanes frequently occur, gumbo limbo trees survive—even if toppled sideways—by sending out a new root system.

The gumbo limbo is a true survivor, and the hurricane’s destructive effects graphically demonstrate this.  

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