A Coconut Grows in Bokeelia

Cocos nucifera

It takes about a month for the verdant shoot to emerge, so this one likely washed ashore while Hurricane Ian spread millions of tons of natural and man-made debris from Manatee to Collier County (and beyond).

Bokeelia is a tiny island community on Pine Island settled by the Calusa Indians, a doomed advanced coastal society that relied heavily on fishing and shellfish.

Henry Ford came along in the 1920s and purchased land on Bokeelia for a fishing village. He also built a large dock and a hotel on the island, and he established a botanical garden. The village never took off, and a hurricane destroyed the the hotel in the 1940s.

In the 1960s and 70s, the island began attracting retirees and vacationers. Many homes were built as it became a popular destination for boating and fishing. Today, Bokeelia is a small community of permanent residents and many more seasonal visitors. Pine Island’s scenic routes and trails, including flat terrain, winding paths through nature preserves, palm nurseries, mango farms, and picturesque coastal roads make it a rad place to ride your bike year-round.

Bokeelia is also home to several parks and preserves, including the Randell Research Center, an archaeological non-profit researching the Calusa Tribe.