New Jersey Butterfly Club

A chapter of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA)

Medford Leas / Barton Arboretum & Nature Preserve

by Chris Herz

County: Burlington.

Municipality: Medford Township.

Directions: The main entrance is off Route 70 onto Medford Leas Way. Turn left after entering and continue on Medford Leas Way until you see the Nature Center on the left.

“Individuals and small groups are welcome to visit on their own” as per the Barton Arboretum website. When visiting as a medium-sized group or arranging a field trip, please contact the office for permission ahead of time at 609-654-3000.

Parking: Just past the Nature Center turn left and park in the small parking area by the old tennis courts. A larger parking lot is located by the Community Building, which is across the way.

Nearest sizable town: Medford. The closest place to pick up lunch is Wawa at 257 NJ-70, Medford, NJ 08055. Route 70 has many nearby restaurants as well. Traffic can be challenging on both weekdays and weekends.

Habitats: The Arboretum offers a diverse horticultural array of designed gardens, landscaped grounds, meadows, natural woodlands and wetlands, and one of the most extensive plant collections — including natives — in all of southern New Jersey.

Maintained/Marked trails: Yes. Paths through the meadow are clearly mowed and are mostly flat and easy to walk. Some benches are available.

Restrooms: The Nature Center building near the tennis court parking has a single restroom. Additional restrooms are available in the Community Building.

Picnic tables: None.

Notable species: Harvester, Coral Hairstreak, Banded Hairstreak, American Copper, Viceroy, Common Wood-Nymph, a variety of common grass-skippers.

Best time to visit: Late May to early July.

Exploring Medford Leas: The meadow walk is the most productive for butterflies. On this Medford Leas Trails System Map, the Red Trail from R9 alongside the community vegetable gardens to R7 is the most productive, with good nectar and a variety of blooming plants including Common Milkweed, Butterfly Milkweed, Indianhemp, Mountainmint (both Narrowleaf and Clustered), Wild Bergamot, and coreopsis. When Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye shrub) is in bloom—between the Railroad Trail (G1) and the Nature Center building—Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and Spicebush Swallowtails will be found here. The best time to visit is late May through early July when the Common Milkweed is in bloom, as large stands grow near R8 and R7 just as you cross Estaugh Way. In addition, there are stands of Indianhemp and in the meadow are smaller patches of Butterfly Milkweed, which attract Coral Hairstreaks. The eastern slope features mesic species such as Tuliptree, Spicebush, and Flowering Dogwood, whereas the western slope has more drought-tolerant species such as Red Oak, Black Cherry, and blueberries/huckleberries.

Harvesters have been found in the wooded area between Y1 on the Yellow Trail and R1 on the Red Trail.

Special precautions: Be prepared for a high incidence of ticks and poison ivy.

Further information about Barton Arboretum at Medford Leas is available.

To view a larger map, click on 'View larger map' icon in upper right hand corner. (Tip: The satellite view may also suggest good potential butterfly habitat to explore.)

Medford Leas Sign

Entrance Sign.

Nature Center

Nature Center.

Red Trail

Entrance to Red Trail.

Milkweed Along Trail

Milkweed Along Trail.

Field With Wild Bergamot

Field With Wild Bergamot.