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Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park
P.O. Box 1052
Islamorada, Florida   33036

Phone: 305-664-2540
The virgin tropical hardwood hammock that thrives on this island was once common on most of Florida's Upper Keys; most of these forests have been lost to development on other islands. In 1919, William J. Matheson, a wealthy Miami chemist, bought this tiny island and built a caretaker's home with a windmill for electricity and a cistern for rainwater. Today, his hideaway is the visitor center for this island forest. Ranger-guided tours are given twice daily, Friday through Sunday. The park is accessible only by private boat or tour boat. Tour boat services, as well as boat and kayak rentals, are available from Robbie's Marina. Located one mile west of U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 78.5.

Park is open Thursday through Monday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Tours of the historic Matheson House and grounds are available at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Friday through Sunday.
Nature of the Area
A variety of shore, wading and migratory birds may be viewed on the island.
History of the Area
Thousands of years ago, the island began as a living coral reef jutting up from the sea floor. As great quantities of water began to freeze into glaciers at the earth?s poles, the sea level dropped, exposing the top of the reef and forming an island composed of fossilized coral rock.

As time passed, storm tides and waves left seaweed, driftwood and other organic debris stranded on the bare rock. This material began decaying, forming small pockets of soil in depressions in the coral rock. Then came a few seeds from other tropical islands D some floating on the sea or carried by the winds, while others came in the digestive tracts of migrating birds. Here, the seeds sprouted and began to grow, drop leaves, produce flowers and seeds, mature, die and decay. With the passing of each generation, a complex and diverse tropical hammock colonized the remains of this ancient coral reef.
Visitors can rent powerboats and kayaks from "Robbie's Marina" or a number of other local marinas. Knowledge of the channels is critical because of the surrounding shallow grass flats. Kayaks and canoes can float across most flats offering spectacular chances to see a variety of wildlife from dolphins and manatees to sharks and rays.

Boat Tours

Tour boat service to the island is available through "Robbie's Marina." For reservations and fees, please call (305) 664-9814. Tour boat departs 1/2-hour before listed tour times. Ranger-guided tours of the island are available Thursday through Monday at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

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Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park is located one mile west of U.S.1 at Mile Marker 78.5. Access is by private boat or charter boats at nearby marinas.

USA Parks
Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park
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