Tillandsia Web, Dade Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society

Online Newsletter

Excerpted from our print newsletter. See the printed newsletter for detailed Field Trip directions and reports, for phone and addresses for yard visits and additional articles. Join now to obtain the benefits of full membership!

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May 2000

In This Issue


THE NAKED ABORIGINE: PSILOTUM [ excerpt from printed newsletter ]


Tuesday, May 23, 7:30 p.m., Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.

Restoring South Florida’s "sense of place". George Gann, Director, Institute for Regional Conservation.

George, an environmental consultant, South Dade native and DCFNPS member, will talk about restoring an ecologically healthy "sense of place" and understanding how we as people fit into the ecological fabric of the place we call Florida. This talk will provide a framework to move the concepts of natural landscaping and gardening forward to better provide for the conservation and restoration of native plants and the natural environment.

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Diane Otis (drinks and ice), Vivian Waddell, Tiffany Gann, Lee and Scott Massey (snacks). If you would like to donate an extra-special plant, other item or service to auction (instead of raffle), please call Tony Koop. You or your business will be acknowledged in the Tillandsia.

June 27 meeting: Annual Summer Solstice yard visit and social – for FNPS members and their guests only. Details TBA

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Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and their invited guests. Collecting is not permitted.

Saturday, June 3: Bear Cut Preserve, Crandon Park. Examine the flora of dunes and hammock (some parts under restoration) on north Key Biscayne. Bring: drinks, sun protection, money for Crandon parking fee. We will finish by late morning to avoid the heat -- bring your lunch and swimming suit if you want to make a day of it. Rating: easy. Call Patty or Gwen for more information or carpooling (from Dade). If the weather is very bad, call to confirm before leaving home.

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Note: All Dade Chapter members are welcome at all chapter activities. The following are planned by the Keys Activities Committee. For more information, call Jim Duquesnel at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, 305-451-1202.

Next meeting: Wednesday, May 24. Dr. Brad Bennett from Florida International University will speak about the saw palmetto, Serenoa repens, Florida’s most abundant palm species, at a joint meeting with the Isaac Walton League. Brad will talk about this palm’s importance to wildlife, its historical uses by humans and the growing demand for it by the pharmaceutical and other industries (over 50 million pounds of its fruit are shipped from Florida to Europe annually). Location: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, MM 102.5 Overseas Hwy. Time: The plant ID workshop at 7:00 will be a tour of the Pennekamp plant community restoration nursery. The program begins at 7:30, followed by a native plant raffle. Visitors, refreshments and raffle donations are welcome!

Next field trip: May 20 (Saturday) – Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Areas, including Sugarloaf, Cudjoe and Wahoo Keys (all in lower Keys). Botanize with Robert Guerra of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. And check out rarely visited state lands. Wear/bring: long pants, closed shoes, sun and bug protection, water and snacks. Could be a little wet depending upon recent rainfall so wear shoes that can get muddy. Call Beth Bergh for more info.

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The 2000-2001 Board of Directors for the Dade Chapter was elected at the March meeting. While most of the faces are the same (well, a year older...), we welcome Bob Mihm to the board as a director at large and Greg Ballinger, our webmaster, as a non-voting participant. Thanks to retiring member Diane Otis for her cheerful help since 1997 and two years as vice-president. Carrie Cleland is the new Vice President with several years experience as director at large. Please support your hard-working board: Keith Bradley, President; Carrie Cleland, Vice President; Carol Farber, Secretary; Sam Dawson, Treasurer; Directors at large: Alma Dean, Tony Koop, Lee Massey, Bob Mihm, Karsten Rist.

Special thanks to John Tomczak of the landscaping company EnviroDesign for donating the beautiful plants auctioned at the April meeting as well as several more plants for raffle. EnviroDesign provides installation and maintenance of residential and commercial environmentally sensitive landscapes in Miami-Dade County. Call him at 305-758-8032!

Thanks also to other recent raffle plant donors Dan and Kristi Bailey, Greg Ballinger, Eileen Cretella, Sharon Dyer, Don Keller, Mike Mooney, Mark Phagan, Patty Phares, Jerry Russo, Gene and Sue Sanchez, Wayne Spring, Steve Woodmansee, and anyone whose name we missed. Remember, when you donate to the raffle or refreshments, you can pick up free raffle tickets as a thank you from all of us.

Our participation at Earth Day at MetroZoo on April 22 was outstanding. The many visitors to our display had questions about native plants, were extremely interested in butterfly gardening, and asked for membership information. The weather was beautiful though windy, and it was an enjoyable opportunity to meet and share the endeavors of our organization with the community. Butterfly-attracting plants and caterpillars were brought by Eileen Cretella, Nancy Sale and Patty Phares, and John Tomczak completed the beautification of the display with trees and shrubs. John also donated the money raised from selling the display plants and donated the remaining ones to our next meeting raffle! Many thanks also to Sam Dawson, Carol Richardson, Wendy Teas, Mike Judge and Gene and Gwlady Scott for their help with the display. - Alma Dean, Earth Day display coordinator

Dade and Keys members: Please send announcements of local activities and news of interest to Tillandsia readers! Mail to the Dade Chapter PO Box or email to the editor at pphares@mindspring.com by the 15th of each month for publication the following month.

Did you receive your Spring Palmetto? (The one with photos of special "oldtime" FNPS members on the cover)? If not, please let us know (see contact numbers on the back). Is your renewal date drawing nigh (or past) and you haven’t seen (or can’t find) your renewal notice? If so, then please let us know about that, too, so you won’t miss a single issue of Tillandsia or The Palmetto.

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Our chapter's members participated in a workday at the Biscayne Nature Center at Bear Cut (Key Biscayne) on Saturday, April 1. The workday was well attended, with many members bringing friends and family. We planted many new native plants including fiddlewood and corky stemmed passion vines and rescued some natives from being completely covered by vines. We had a wonderful time and helped restore a native plant community in the process.

Having had that great experience, the board would like the chapter to host additional workdays. We have had specific requests for assistance which we can honor or we can participate in any of the workdays put on by Dade County Natural Areas Management. We also welcome input from our members -- please call me with your suggestions! - Lee Massey, DCFNPS Board member

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Broward Native Plant Society meetings: 2nd Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. Secret Woods Nature Center, 1/2 mile west of I-95 on W. State Road 84 in Ft. Lauderdale. Social time at 7:00. Call 954-523-0288. May 9: Phyllis Anderson -- The Nature Conservancy and Forever Florida Update. June 13: Pot luck and possible speaker.

Tropical Audubon Society. May16: Monthly meeting at the Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Drive (program TBA). Call 305-666-5111. Public welcome. Refreshments are at 7:30 and the program is at 8:00. ALSO ... Native Plant Sale, June 3-4 and North Key Largo Botanical Site walk on May 20 (Birds, Butterflies & Native Plants, led by Joe Barros). Call for details.

Native Plant Workshop. 3rd Tuesdays at Bill Sadowski Park, 1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Road on SW 176 Street. Plant ID – "serious" but not intense! Call Roger Hammer at 305-257-0933.

Nursery News: Gann’s Native Tropical Greenery Nursery continues its closing sale on June 17 and 24. Remaining inventory includes trees and shrubs in liner size, some wildflowers and palms. Address: 22601 SW 152 Ave. Call 305-248-5529.

Open House Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of NOAA. May 13, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the NOAA labs on Virginia Key (across from UM’s Rosenstiel School and Seaquarium on Rickenbacker Causeway). Learn about the many areas of marine and environmental science at the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. (Remember, the oceans, atmosphere and native plants are part of the same big package -- our environment.)

Butterfly Mystique of Miami, Inc. opens in June as South Florida’s only working butterfly farm. It will supply butterflies to institutions and for releases at special occasions. There will be an aviary, gift cottage, garden, pesticide-free retail plant nursery, classes, and Caterpillar I – "A Mobile Interactive Insect Experience" which can come to you. Call 305-242-2844 or visit www.butterflyinmiami.com Address: 22601 SW 152 Avenue.

Miami-Dade Center for Creative Living classes starting in May and June include Principles of Landscape Design (Min Mossman), Horticulture in South Florida (Jeff Wasielewski), Creating Themes in the Garden (Diane Otis) and more. Exploring Natural South Florida (June 5-26) is an ideal course for someone who has moved here from a different area or someone who wants to gain information about our environment on a beginner’s level. Call 305-237-2612 for more information.

Society for Ecological Restoration International Conference, September 4-7, Liverpool, England. Want to go on a really different field trip? If you attended the conference in Ft. Lauderdale in 1997, you know what a wealth of information awaits. Visit www.ser.org or email ser2000@netcomuk.co.uk.

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by Martin Roessler

[ An excerpt from the full field trip report in the printed newsletter. ]

On Saturday, March 18, Roger Johnson led members from both Dade and Monroe Counties through hammock, pine forest and mangrove habitats on Sugarloaf Key. We were rewarded by finding a number of hammock plants that are restricted to the lower keys and virtually absent in the more northern hammocks. We also observed the most southerly pine forest. The contrasts between this forest which has not been burned recently nor grazed by deer, and the pine areas on Big Pine Key is very evident and argues strongly for maintaining a wide variety of times between burns in managed pinelands to obtain diversity in plant communities and habitats. Hammocks generally have few flowering plants, and the dry weather and maturity of the shrub layers in the pines also kept the following bloom list short.

[The detailed report is in the printed newsletter Join now to obtain the benefits of full membership!]

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The following article on Psilotum nudum appeared in the August, 1983, newsletter of the Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society. I have recently found Psilotum volunteering in hanging baskets, in the cracks between the stone slabs under my outdoor faucet, and in the crevices between concrete blocks supporting a picnic shelter sink. The plant is hardy and rather attractive, so I thought this article might be worth repetition. Besides, I needed an article ...

In the same newsletter:

* The name Tillandsia was not used on the newsletter, even though the present-day logo was.

* The death of George Avery was mourned. George Avery was a talented, self-taught expert in South Florida botany who is memorialized by our chapter’s "George N. Avery Award" presented to students with outstanding science fair projects.

* The newsletter editors were Tom Strobel, Laura Brinkley and Wendy Fleming, who are all still associated with the chapter, though Tom now lives in the Keys and Wendy is now Wendy Saltzburg.

* The Native Plant Workshop met at Castellow Hammock on the 3rd Tuesday (still has the same night, different location!).

* There were three native nurseries donating raffle plants: Allen’s Hammock Nursery, Tropical Greenery, and Tropical BioIndustries.

* Membership for the chapter plus the state FNPS was $20 (it really hasn’t gone up much in 17 years!).

* There was a plea for newsletter contributions. Hmmm – sound familiar? In fact, I will quote, with the original emphasis:



Because this is an organization with a purpose, we think it is appropriate to have a forum for opinions on native plant issues and Dade Chapter issues. We also welcome you comments on NEWSLETTER items. We all have opinions – let us know what yours are. HAVE YOUR SAY!

Not only do we need your opinions on what we write, we really need your help to write this NEWSLETTER, especially in the form of articles of interest to native plant people like ourselves. We (the editors) are anxious to present an informative, entertaining newsletter that you will look forward to receiving each month, but we are having trouble because there’s too much to do with too few people to do it. Won’t you help? Please talk to one of us at the next meeting. Thanks.


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[Reprinted from the August, 1983, Dade Chapter newsletter; no author listed, presumably a contributing editor]

[ An excerpt from an article in the printed newsletter. ]

Psilotum nudum is a totally leafless plant that usually grows in moist humus, rock crevices, or tree forks. It photosynthesizes with its green stems, which branch dichotomously; that is to say, they keep splitting in two, having no main stem. The end result is a full, delicate, rather frothy plant which doesn’t look naked at all from a distance. Psilotum is one of two living genera of the Psilopsida, an ancient group of plants dating back to the Devonian era of earth history. For those of you who, like me, can’t ever remember the geological timetable, that’s waaay back, before the dinosaurs. The Psilopsida were probably the very first vascular plants. The group is divided into two orders, the Psilophytales, known only from fossils, and the Psilotales, or living genera. (The other living genus is Tmesipteris, which has leaves.)

[In the printed newsletter the article coninues to discuss how Psilotum reproduces and where it is found. Join now to obtain the benefits of full membership!]

It concludes:

Commonly called the "whisk fern", this plant is listed as threatened by the Florida Department of Agriculture, and may not be collected without written permission. It is, however, available commercially, and thrives in cultivation.

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General information and memberships: 305-255-6404

Contact in the Keys: Jim Duquesnel at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (305-451-1202)

President: Keith Bradley (305-247-6547)

Vice President andDade refreshment coordinator: Carrie Cleland (305-661-9023)

DCFNPS e-mail: DadeChFNPS@juno.com

DCFNPS Web page: http://www.fnps.org/dade/

Webmaster: Greg Ballinger

FNPS Web Page: http://www.fnps.org/

Tillandsia editor: Patty Phares (305-255-6404 or (new email address) pphares@mindspring.com)

© 1999-2001 Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society, Inc.

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