Experimental Fruit Grove

Experimental Fruit Grove

You have arrived at the Experimental Grove. In the early 1920s Hugh Taylor Birch traveled south to Coconut Grove to meet botanist and fellow nature lover David Fairchild who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The two became friends and corresponded regularly throughout the 1920s and 30s. 


Fairchild inspired Birch to plant a large experimental fruit grove on the leeward side of the secondary dune. A row of gumbo limbo trees atop the dune protected the fruit trees from salty spray coming from the ocean. Sapodilla seeds were introduced by Helen Birch Bartlett. She brought them back from a trip to the Philippines. Birch also planted Rangpur lime trees (native to India), passion vines, avocado, rose apple and guava. The mango trees were from the Fairchild collection. This grove once extended north across Sunrise Boulevard, and remnants of its northern end can still be seen in Birch State Park.


Continue up the path to the crest of the hill and turn to your right proceeding along the edge of the Desert Garden.