This is an unusual botanical area that resembles the tropics more than Central Texas. The ranges of eastern and western species merge, resulting in an astounding diversity of plant and animal life. Most notably, a stand of dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) plants, from which the park gets its name, is found around the park's ephemeral swamp. These palmettos are found in East and Southeast Texas, as well as much of the southeastern United States, but only individuals or small clumps are found to the west and north of this park. Wildlife frequently seen in the park includes white-tailed deer, armadillos, squirrels, raccoons and numerous birds.
The park, located on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, has long been noted as a birding "hot spot." More than 240 species of birds have been observed within the park's boundaries. Some of the birds most often spotted include the crested caracara, prothonotary warbler and red-shouldered hawk.