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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June 2000

In This Issue


ONE MAN'S WEED IS ANOTHER MAN'S WEED, TOO by Roger L. Hammer [ excerpt from printed newsletter ]



Tuesday, June 27, Annual Summer Solstice Evening Yard Visit and Social. NOT AT FAIRCHILD.

Stroll through the native garden of a chapter member and then spend the rest of the evening socializing with other native plant fans. This meeting is for FNPS members and their guests only. If you aren’t a member, why not join now so you can enjoy all the activities?

July 25 meeting: Don Keller will speak about native epiphytes. The public is invited.

August: No meeting in Dade, and no newsletter. Good time to study all those plant books you bought over the past couple years.

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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. If you aren’t a member, why not join now so you can enjoy all the activities?

Sunday, July 9: Field trip to two pinelands in South Dade. First, a visit to a Dade County park will allow us to compare the area which was being prepared for a burn when we visited there two years ago. Roger Hammer of Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation’s Natural Areas Management will accompany us to this county park.

Then we will go across the street to a pineland owned by chapter members. This natural area, adjacent to their home, is a continuation of a county EEL site. Any who wish to may linger and tour their garden, which includes natives, butterfly gardens and more.

Saturday, July 29: Yard visits in Cutler Ridge. We will visit the gardens of two members in Cutler Ridge to learn more about their native plants and how to use some of the plants in landscapes, how to propagate them.

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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.

No information was available at the time of this printing, but meetings and trips are planned and coming up soon. Please call for information if you have not received a separate notice by the time you receive this newsletter.

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The 6th Coral Gables North American Butterfly Association Fourth of July Butterfly Count (not on the 4th!) will probably be held on July 22. Please contact Bob Kelley at 305-666-9246 or if you are interested in participating. Beginners are welcome! There will be groups at the Deering Estate/Chapman Field, Fairchild Tropical Garden/Matheson Hammock, and Crandon Park/Cape Florida.

Butterfly Garden Watchers are also needed. The count Circle includes all of Key Biscayne, most of Coral Gables, and Pinecrest and nearby areas. Bob is also organizing a local chapter of NABA. The first meeting will be some time this summer. Please call Bob to learn more about these activities.

Native Plant Workshop. 3rd Tuesdays at Bill Sadowski Park, _ 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

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

Weeds are known by everyone. Many are global travelers and their place of origin has long ago been lost to history, but few people think of their nativity as they try to yank them up by the roots or spray them with herbicide. I hope it doesn't come as too much of a surprise to learn that many of those "weeds" that we battle in our southern Florida yards and gardens are actually native species. They are plants that have given up their historic habitats and taken to the roadsides, vacant lots, agricultural fields and, of course, our gardens.

Remember that a "weed" is often described as a plant out of place, so the old adage that "one man's weed is another man's wildflower," is correct. Take Spanish needles, Bidens alba var. radiata, for instance. It is a native herbaceous species with stick-like seeds that cling to clothing, fur, and feathers and is, perhaps, one of the most ubiquitous native weeds in much of Florida. But to butterfly enthusiasts it is a tolerable weed because, if you find a patch of it you will also find butterflies galore visiting the daisy-like blossoms comprised of white ray flowers and yellow disk flowers. In my own yard I mow it when it looks ragged, and keep it when it is at its prime. Not only is it a superb butterfly attractor, its leaves also serve as larval food for the dainty sulphur butterfly. If you'd like to know more, the tender new growth, when cooked as a green offers more available iron than spinach and the clear juice from bruised stems will stop small cuts from bleeding.

[In the printed newsletter, the Roger discussion includes prickly poppy, Argemone mexicana and coinwort, Centella asiatica. Join now to obtain the benefits of full membership!]

It concludes:

One problem plant that I don't mind saying bad things about is possum grape, Cissus verticillata (= C. sicyoides). This grape relative is downright evil if it invades your premises. Even the smallest bit of the vine left in a tree will result in long, thin roots emerging from the errant piece and these can hang down ten or fifteen feet. When they touch the ground they root and, by that time, the vine likely has a strong foothold in the canopy of the tree or shrub that it's using for support. Yes, this is a native species, but an interesting note was made by the late Dr. Julia Morton. She stated that David Fairchild apologized for introducing this rambunctious vine from Java but Dr. Morton defended Fairchild by pointing out that it was already present in Florida as a native plant. Perhaps Fairchild's Java strain has given our plants unwanted vigor. It is not uncommon to see possum grape covering fencerows and completely enshrouding fruit trees in groves. Once established, it is difficult to control.

So, while it is true that many of the yard and garden plant pests that we battle each year are introduced from other parts of the world, it is important to realize that many "weeds" are Florida natives. That may not mean too much, however, if they're taking over your vegetable garden or scrambling around in your home landscape. And get this: in a pamphlet entitled "Florida Weeds" published by the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (1977), they list saw palmetto, Serenoa repens, and corkystem passionflower, Passiflora suberosa, as weeds. I suppose that proves that one man's weed really is another man's wildflower. Don't even get me started on their pamphlet on how to control atala butterfly larvae on your coontie!

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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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