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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July 2000

In This Issue

ONE MAN’S WEED — Jacquemontia: splendor in the grass by John Pancoast
TO FERTILIZE OR NOT TO FERTILIZE... by Rick Cohen [excerpt from printed newsletter]


Tuesday, July 25, 7:30 p.m., at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.

Don Keller will speak about Florida’s native epiphytes, including orchids, bromeliads, ferns, lichens and peperomias, and about the adaptations they have made to live where they do (up in trees). He will show slides which he has taken, including some of newly-discovered and very rare plants. Don is a local native plant fancier and has been wandering around Florida looking at plants for 30 years, so you know he has tales to tell as well as photos to show. The quiz will be the following Saturday when we visit Don’s garden (see announcement below).

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors Eileen Cretella and Carol Farber (drinks and ice); and Joe Barros, Sharon Dyer and Kristi Doyne-Bailey (snacks). Additional refreshments and raffle plant donations are always appreciated. We will also have items for sale, including the wonderful new book by Gil Nelson, The Ferns of Florida, as well as other books, t-shirts and ID cards for plants, birds and butterflies. If you have an especially nice plant which might be good for our auction (rather than the raffle), please call Tony Koop at 305-662-2876 -- or just bring it.

August: No meeting in Dade, and no newsletter. But mark your calendar now for the September 26 meeting when Dena Garvue of Fairchild Tropical Garden will speak about the status of Pseudophoenix sargentii (Sargent’s cherry palm) in the Florida Keys.

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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?

If the weather is very bad, call 305-255-6404 to confirm before leaving home.

Saturday, July 29. Ned Glenn Pineland Preserve and Don Keller’s garden in Cutler Ridge. If you can’t make it to both parts, join us for either half. Rating: easy but sunny. Bring: drinks, snacks, sun protection.

Part 1: Ned Glenn: SW 87 Avenue at 188 Street (just south of Caribbean Blvd.). This 10-acre pineland burned in June, so we should see the interesting array of plants which emerge immediately after a fire. Linda McDonald of Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department’s Natural Areas Management will be our guide.

The preservation and restoration of the Ned Glenn Pineland has been the joint effort of the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program, Miami-Dade Parks and the Dade County School Board, and neighborhood residents have worked diligently to ensure protection of the preserve. The preserve is adjacent to Whispering Pines Elementary School.

Part 2: Don Keller’s garden: We’ll see in person many of the interesting epiphytes that Don will discuss at the meeting on July 25 (and undoubtedly a lot more).

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

Next meeting: Thursday, July 27, at the Marathon Branch of the Monroe County Public Library. A plant ID workshop will begin at 7 p.m., and the meeting begins at 7:30, with announcements, program, refreshments and plant raffle. The public is welcome, as are native plant raffle donations.

Wil Gilbert, Professor Emeritus of Miami-Dade Community College, will speak on "South Florida Birds and Some Host Plants: A Tropical Connection". The talk and slide program will cover native and exotic birds, their relation to local host plants and connection to the West Indies, and will also feature some of the "on-again-off-again" species such as the bananaquit and Antillean nighthawk. Wil is a biologist, avid birder and Dade Chapter member.

August: Please look for a special mailing to announce other upcoming events. There will be no August Tillandsia.

Thanks to Florida Keys Native Nursery and to all other donors for providing plants for the raffle.

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Need a plant list for the next chapter field trip? Plant lists for many of our local destinations may be obtained from the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) through a link from their web site. Go to http://www.regionalconservation.org/databases.htm and click on the Floristic Inventory of Southern Florida Database Presented by Fairchild Tropical Garden. Enter the site name. The list currently contains Latin names only.

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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 305-242-7690 (new number) or Steve Woodmansee at 305-247-6547. Details on the new and improved workshop will appear in a future Tillandsia, but come try it out now.

Castellow Hammock Nature Center is back in business and again under the hand of Miami-Dade Park and Recreation naturalist Roger Hammer. "Father Nature" has returned eight years after Mother Nature sent him and the entire park packing with Hurricane Andrew. Natural Areas Management has restored the hammock, and the nature center and picnic shelter have been rebuilt. Call Roger to inquire about using the facilities for meetings or events. The park is at 22301 SW 162 Avenue, phone 305-242-7690.

Anticipated Job Opening: The Center for Creative Living, part of Community Education at Miami-Dade Community College Kendall Campus, offers non-credit Landscape and Gardening, Cooking and Alternative Health courses. We anticipate having a job opening in July for a part-time Program Assistant to help with scheduling of instructors and facilities, handling student problems, and performing computer-based payroll and clerical duties. The position requires completion of two years of College (60 credits), good oral and written communication skills and prior experience with administrative tasks. Please call Diane Otis at (305) 237-0636 ASAP for more information.

A public meeting to present the current management for Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area will be held on August 15 at 7 p.m. at the Rosenstiel School Auditorium, 4600 Rickenbacher Causeway on Virginia Key (next to Seaquarium). For more information, call Lee Niblock, Park Manager, at 305-361-8779.

Nursery News: Gann’s Native Tropical Greenery Nursery will be open July 22 and 29 and August 19 and 26 as Don and Joyce continue to sell remaining inventory so they can really retire. Available plants include some trees and shrubs in liner size, some wildflowers and palms. Address: 22601 SW 152 Ave. Call 305-248-5529. The new nursery now leasing the property, Butterfly Mystique, will also be open to sell butterfly-attracting plants.

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Editor’s note: The following two articles are reprinted from the July-August, 1985, issue of Tillandsia. For several years until the early 1990s, we enjoyed a frequent column entitled "One Man’s Weed", and now we occasionally reprint one. During those years, the author, illustrator and Tillandsia staff member Lisa Davis worked together in an office on Brickell Avenue and enjoyed botanizing at lunch time in a most unlikely of places -- amongst the skyscrapers! Artist Wes Jurgens now shares his talents in the herbarium of Fairchild Tropical Garden (and his illustrations graced our FNPS Conference program) ... and undoubtedly still finds treasures in the cracks of sidewalks.


We’ve all enjoyed the articles by John Pancoast and the original artwork of Wes Jurgens over the past few months. You may have noticed that their subjects are not the native trees and shrubs that we have come to know and love and to consciously incorporate into our landscapes. But they are there around us, nevertheless.

These are the tough, resilient and usually unnoticed natives of the Brickell business district. Growing on vacant lots and remnant bits of limestone ridge in the shadow of glass and steel skyscrapers, these little plants have thus far survived the transformation of Brickell Hammock into Brickell Canyon. They are, for the most part, scarcely described and wholly unillustrated in the classic texts. Unfortunately, the same anonymity that allowed them to escape unnoticed during the earlier development of the Brickell area now also makes them unlikely subjects for the public to champion. Just as the dusky seaside sparrow benefitted little from the fervor dedicated to saving the whales, these Brickell beauties have difficulty competing with giant sequoias for public enthusiasm. Nevertheless, they’re out there for those who look and know enough to see. For those of us who have the advantage of Wes and John as native guides in the urban wilderness, each trek to the Metrorail Station or lunchtime constitutional along the bay is an opportunity to see the weeds that grow in the cracks of the sidewalk for the wildflowers they really are!

Lisa Davis

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ONE MAN’S WEED — Jacquemontia: splendor in the grass by John Pancoast

[An illustration by Wes Jurgens is in the printed newsletter.]

Morning glories! Who has not been thrilled to see a blanket of morning glory vines scrambling over shrubs and fences with their bright blue or purple blossoms? Or been enchanted by the evening moonflowers as they drape the tree tops with ghostly white trumpets?

But not all members of the family Convolvulaceae are showy, aggressive vines. With 50 genera and 2000 species, it is not surprising that there is considerable diversity displayed in the family. The genus Jacquemontia is characterized by herbs or subshrubs that are usually twining or prostrate, stretching only a yard or so. We found Jacquemontia curtissii growing among short grasses on the limestone ridge that stretches south from downtown Miami. The flowers of this plant show the distinctive funnel shape common to many other members of the family. Its leaves, however, do not resemble the large heart- or arrow-shaped leaves we usually associate with morning glories. Instead, this Jacquemontia has tiny, half-inch, ovate leaves that stand upright from the stem, usually along one side. In its prostrate growth form and small, upright leaves, Jacquemontia resembles the related genera Bonamia and Evolvulus. These three can be distinguished by a close examination of the floral style. In Jacquemontia, two styles are fused, appearing single single, and there are two flattened stigma. In Bonamia two distinct styles each have a single stigma. In Evolvulus two cleft styles appear as four, with a total of four stigma.

The white to pinkish flowers of J. curtissii are about one inch and are held up from the stems on slender stalks. Growing among low grasses or over pine litter, the flowers add a bit of splendor to their drab surroundings. The plant is adapted to the limestone soils of Dade’s pine woods, and while most of its range has been urbanized, it is frequently found in many of the natural areas remaining in South Florida. It is listed as threatened by the Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals.

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[An excerpt from the printed newsletter.]

After the yard visit to my home on June 27, many people asked about my usage of fertilizer. In the first six years after Hurricane Andrew, I applied fertilizer very aggressively to push growth. Eight years after the storm, the results speak for themselves. My hammock has a high, well established canopy of natives with plenty of room in the understory for mixing in various tropical plants. Today my native plants are well established and are fed sparingly.

I have around 36 species of palms in my landscape. If you grow palms in south Florida you MUST feed them regularly - at least three times a year. I consider the following schedule to be the minimal maintenance for getting things going in your garden.

[The printed newsletter includes Rick's specific recommendations about type of fertilizer and time and method of application. Why not JOIN NOW to obtain the benefits of full membership? ]

I feed palms and tropical plants on a fairly regular basis. The native plants are not fed as often now that they are well established. The natives do receive the benefits of the fertilizers applied near by.

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The Nature Conservancy’s GreenSweep program celebrated a successful first year in May by helping the Florida Keys Invasive Exotics Task Force to restore the Boy and Girl Scout camps on West Summerland Key. In just three hours 64 scouts, AmeriCorps and Conservancy volunteers planted more than 300 native trees and ground cover plants.

Since GreenSweep was founded last year, 388 volunteers have helped tackle invasive plants and other ecological problems at Tropical Crane Point Hammock, Blue Heron Hammock, Saddlebunch Key, Boca Chica Beach, Old Settler’s Park and West Summerland Key.

Altogether, volunteers have cleared more than five miles of nature trails, pulled more than an acre of invasive mother-in-law’s tongue, collected debris from a five-mile stretch of coastal mangrove, removed more than 1,000 lead trees and 120 Brazilian pepper trees.

"GreenSweep gives people a way to have a positive and noticeable impact on their environment," said Chris Bergh, the Conservancy’s south Florida regional land steward.

GreenSweep is a volunteer program that educates Keys residents about the damage caused by invasive non-native plants and trains them in effective removal and native plant restoration. The program is concentrated in four areas:

  1. organizes monthly volunteer workdays from November to May
  2. provides outreach and education through community presentations and events like the Native Plant Fair,
  3. coordinates neighborhood projects to assist private landowners with invasive plant control, and
  4. trains volunteer Exotic Plant Eradication Strike Teams in more complicated removal and follow-up activities. The ExPEST program will be launched later this year.

Over the next year, GreenSweep will continue to build momentum by training more volunteers to tackle the pest plant problem throughout the Keys. "The hard work of these volunteers who pitch in the first Saturday of every month, is putting a major dent in the Key’s exotic species problem," said Bill Seese of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Residents who would like to volunteer or learn more about GreenSweep can call The Nature Conservancy at (305) 289-9060.

Chris Bergh, The Nature Conservancy

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There were several local recipients of awards at the FNPS 20th Annual Conference in May. Congratulations to all!

Service Awards

Dade Chapter members Don and Joyce Gann received a Mentor Award for their many years of helping and teaching others about all aspects of native plants, from identification to propagation and landscape use. They were the initial instigators in the founding of the Dade Chapter, long-time native nursery owners, speakers, and have been active in many local efforts to preserve and promote the use of native plants.

A Green Palmetto Award for Service was presented to Patty Phares, who has held almost all board positions in the Dade Chapter and has been the newsletter editor for many years (and declines to say anything more about herself!).

Design with Natives Landscape Awards Program

Miami-Dade DERM received a 2nd place award in the Upland Restoration category for the Andrew Dodge New Pine Preserve at SW 127 Avenue and 248 Street. This 5-acre Natural Forest Community was donated to DERM in lieu of fines after the owner was sited for illegal clearing. Prior to 1996, it was totally overgrown with exotics. Through the efforts of DERM volunteers, Eagle Scouts, American Forests, and DOF to remove exotics and plant "tubling" pines, this forest has become a healthy forest with pines of mixed ages and less that 5 percent exotics.

Miami-Dade Public Schools received a 2nd place award in the Schoolyard category. The award was granted for the Kenwood Elementary School Annex Project which was completed earlier this year. The new facility adjoins the award-winning Kenwood Learning Center, an outdoor classroom on the campus of the school, which has been a favorite project of our chapter since 1986.

The Project was nominated by the Kenwood PTA through its "Hammock Committee" because it was clear that the Project Manager (Mario Gonzalez Pola), the General Contractor (Betancourt, Castellon Assoc.), and Landscape Installer (Mix'd Greens) understood that a primarily native plant treatment was needed outside the new facility in order to achieve a logical transition to the native planting project to the east. Also the access road was routed around the Learning Center so that there would be a minimum impact on the existing trees. Even green vinyl coated fencing was used to reduce the visual impact along the sidewalk.

Learning Center volunteers were pleased to note that the impact of 13 years of encouraging native plants at this school site had positively influenced decision making for the new Annex project. The Kenwood Learning Center is at 9300 SW 79th Avenue and is open to the public.

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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 and Dade 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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