Nature as Art: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Creates Self-Guided Tour on Lincoln Road

Lincoln Road

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Nature as Art: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Creates Self-Guided Tour on Lincoln Road:

Highlighting the street’s “natural beauty”

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District (BID) have partnered on a self-guided tour of the street’s natural bounty of plant life, installing over 120 QR-coded signs on trees, palms, orchids, and plants connecting visitors via their smartphones with photos, videos, and information from Fairchild’s scientists. 

“Lincoln Road is globally recognized as a district brimming with arts, culture, shopping, dining, and entertainment, but we would be remiss not to attribute part of the Road’s reputation to its subtropical plantings,” said Tim Schmand, executive director of the Lincoln Road BID in an announcement of the launch. “Our newfound partnership with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden allows us to do just that. By highlighting Lincoln Road’s natural beauty, we provide our visitors with a unique, educational, and complimentary outdoor experience."

Architect Morris Lapidus was commissioned by the City of Miami Beach in the late 1950s to design the pedestrian boulevard. Lapidus incorporated an ornamental plant collection and the fountains and shaded resting spots that are known as his follies. The BID notes that many of the current plantings were done during the Lapidus era. 

With the introduction of “ecologically significant plants,” the area now attracts rare birds and insects including one of the largest colonies of the endangered Atala butterfly, supported by the coontie cycad, a native plant found across Lincoln Road.

Female Atala butterfly. Photo courtesy University of Florida

This is the second collaboration for the BID with Fairchild Garden. In 2019 as part of the Garden’s Million Orchid Project, thousands of orchids were attached to Lincoln Road’s trees.

“We are thrilled to bring much-deserved attention to the stunning and valuable plants of Lincoln Road,” said Carl Lewis, Director of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. “With a truly iconic landscape, the district is a perfect place for residents and visitors to begin exploring the world of tropical plants. Using this project on Lincoln Road as a model, we hope to encourage the creation and improvement of other green spaces to build a larger community of gardens throughout South Florida.”

Noteworthy Plants Found on Each Block of Lincoln Road:
  • Alton-Lenox: Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
  • Lenox-Michigan: Sapodilla (Manilkara zapota)
  • Michigan-Jefferson: Royal poinciana (Delonix regia)
  • Jefferson-Meridian: Lady of the night orchid (Brassavola grandiflora)
  • Meridian-Euclid: Sausage tree (Kigelia africana)
  • Euclid-Pennsylvania: Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera)
  • Pennsylvania-Drexel:  Triangle palm (Dypsis decaryi)
  • Drexel-Washington: West Indian laurel fig (Ficus americana)
The self-guided program is available in Spanish and English. 

Photo at top courtesy Lincoln Road BID

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