Long Key’s Hammock Tree

IMG_0905What in the world is a Hammock tree? The origin of the word hammock isn’t really known. Some historians think it can be traced to an American Indian word, Hamaca, meaning ‘shady place’.

How did this Hammock tree get here? Hmm, I got it! Island Forming 101: 🙂 Several thousand years ago, the sea in this area was covered extensively in living coral reefs. As the sea level fell it exposed limestone forming the islands which are now the Florida Keys. Seeds arriving via the wind or carried by birds colonized these new islands eventually creating communities of dense vegetation that now include this tropical hardwood Hammock tree.

Is this tree peeling from a sunburn or shedding its skin? I’m not quite sure, but whatever it’s doing attracted my attention enough prompting these photos and blog. This exact tree is at the mouth of the Nature Trail across from the main parking area & restrooms after entering the park on your left. Yes, I’m quite sure there are others throughout the Keys, this one is very easy to find and already identified.

You can find this uniquely looking tropical hardwood Hammock tree inside the Long Key State Park at Mile Marker 67.7 oceanside. There’s a fee schedule per car load to enter the park, it was $4.5o for one and $6 for two people when I was there.

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