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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November-December 2000

In This Issue

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY
ACTIVITIES-AT-A-GLANCE
UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS AND YARD VISITS (DADE)
ACTIVITIES IN THE KEYS
NATIVE PLANT DAY 2001
BUTTERFLY ASSOCIATION TAKES FLIGHT
OTHER EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
INVASIVE SPECIES COUNCIL INVITES INPUT
NATIVE OR NOT? THE GREAT DEBATE by Roger L. Hammer
    (Part 1 of a series)
2001 FNPS ANNUAL CONFERENCE
KENWOODS RECOGNIZES NEIGHBORHOOD HOMES
NURSERY NEWS
KEY CONTACTS FOR DCFNPS

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY

Tuesday, November 28, 7:30 p.m., at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.

Martin County Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program. Sandra Vardaman of the Martin County Environmentally Sensitive Lands program will give an overview of the program and the natural resources it is overseeing. She will have pictures of some of the sites managed by the program representing several different types of plant communities. She will also discuss some of the management issues involved in preservation of these sites as well as future plans (wish list) for the program. Some of the plant communities and species will be seen on our December field trip to Jonathan Dickinson State Park, so consider this your field trip "homework". Sandra is a member of FNPS and was formerly with Miami-Dade Park’s Natural Areas Management.

Thanks to all of you who bring refreshments, raffle and auction plants, and anything else to share (pots, seeds, information). Your involvement and generosity add an important dimension to our meetings.

December: No meeting or newsletter, but we do have a field trip to Jonathan Dickinson State Park (details in this newsletter).

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ACTIVITIES-AT-A-GLANCE

Please see details elsewhere in this newsletter.

November

December

March, 2001

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UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS AND YARD VISITS (DADE)

Call Patty (305-255-6404) or Gwen (305-372-6569) for more information or carpooling (from Dade). If the weather is very bad, call to confirm before leaving home. Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members (Dade and Keys) and their invited guests. Collecting is not permitted.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park (Martin County)
Dec. 2 (Sat.): day trip.
Dec. 1-3 (Fri.-Sun.): weekend trip (either or both nights).
"JD" includes over 11000 acres of botanist’s paradise straddling the scenic Loxahatchee River. Northern species meet tropical species in the high sand pine scrub, sandy pine flatwoods and other plant communities. After a hike, you can enjoy the Loxahatchee River by canoe or tour boat concession.

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ACTIVITIES IN THE KEYS

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.

MONTHLY MEETINGS (unless noted, meetings begin at 7:30 p.m., with a plant ID workshop at 7 p.m. and plant raffle following the program).

November 29 (Wed.): Joan Borel will speak on "Cultural Ties: Indigenous Plants of Cuba and Florida" in Islamorada. Please call for location if you are not on the email distribution list. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m., with a plant ID workshop at 7 p.m. and plant raffle following the program.

December 11 (Mon.): Joint meeting with the Audubon Society in Key West at 5:30 p.m.: Dan Otte will speak about insects in the Keys. Location: Indigenous Park, intersection of White Street and Atlantic Blvd., caddy-corner from the White Street pier.

FIELD TRIPS. Janice Duquesnel will lead the following walks.

October 21 (Sat.): Windley Key. Browse at the Visitor Center, then walk the trails to learn about the hardwood hammock species and spend time in the quarry. The $1.50 trail fee is payable at the office.

November 18 (Sat.): Bahia Honda. At Sandspur Beach we will see Jacquemontia havanensis and sea lavender. Then we will walk the nature trail and learn about the coastal berm and dune communities, looking at several rare plant species including dune lily thorn, satinwood, and silver palm. Due to Hurricane Georges, trails to the inter-dunal swale are potentially too fragile to walk, but Janice will discuss this unique habitat. Janice Duquesnel will lead the walk.

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NATIVE PLANT DAY 2001

Native Plant Day will be held on March 24, 2001 at Castellow Hammock Park in the Redland. This is the chapter’s "almost annual" event, disrupted by Hurricane Andrew for four years and by the state FNPS conference in Miami last May. There will be programs and workshops about native plants in landscaping and in natural areas, displays, nature walks, plant and book sales, raffles and children’s activities. This is a fun event geared to the general public, and it is our main educational event of the year. We will also be celebrating the reopening of Castellow Hammock Park, which was flattened by Hurricane Andrew. Please save the date to volunteer or attend!

We would like to have chapter members join the planning committee, which will start work very soon. This involves selecting speakers and displays and making arrangements for other activities. We also invite suggestions and volunteers for programs, activities, publicity, etc.. Can you plan a children’s nature program or activity? Post an announcement in a local publication? Suggest a food vendor, speaker, or additional activity?

Please call Keith, Carrie or the DCFNPS number (see info box on the back of this newsletter).

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BUTTERFLY ASSOCIATION TAKES FLIGHT

MIAMI BLUE CHAPTER OF THE NORTH AMERICAN BUTTERFLY ASSOCIATION MEETING

Monday, November 27. Social time at 7:30 p.m., program at 8 p.m.. Doc Thomas House 5530 Sunset Drive (Tropical Audubon Society). At this first public meeting of the new NABA chapter, Dr. Walter Gould will present a slide program on "Butterflies and Their Habitats in South Florida". For more information, call Bob Kelley at 305-666-9246 or email: RKelley@math.miami.edu.

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OTHER EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Native Plant Workshop. 3rd Tuesdays at Bill Sadowski Park, 1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Road on SW 176 Street. Call Roger Hammer at 305-242-7688 or Steve Woodmansee at 305-247-6547 for more information. The November topic will be the Mallow (Hibiscus) family, Malvaceae. (Note that Roger’s number is a new new number, not the old new number previously announced.)

Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Dept Natural Areas Management Volunteer Work Days and Walks. 9 a.m. to noon. Please call 305-257-0933 for details. Nov. 18 — Kendall Indian Hammock workday (11345 SW 79 St.); Dec. 2 - Matheson West Hammock (SW 52 Ave /School House Road & SW 92 St.) ; Dec. 19 — Hattie Bauer Hammock (formerly Orchid Jungle, SW 267 St. & 157 Ave.); Dec. 16 — Deering Estate, West Hammock (16701 SW 72 Ave.).

Tropical Audubon Society meeting: Nov. 21 meeting, Sarah Stai speaks on "Wild Muscovy Ducks in the Pantanal of Brazil". 5530 Sunset Dr. Social at 7:30 p.m. and program at 8 p.m. The public is invited. Call 305-665-5111. Nov 19: walk emphasizing botanical and geological features of the Charles Deering Estate. 8:30 a.m.— noon. Meet in the parking lot of the visitor center, just east of Old Cutler Road on SW 168 Street. Leader: Rick Cohen. Park entrance fee required.

Broward County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, November 14 meeting. Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, just west of I-95 in Dania Beach. Call 954-321-5545.

Nursery News. Joyce Gann has announced that Tropical Greenery is officially closed -- really! -- no more "still going out of business" sales. Please look for native plants at various public events and at Veber’s Jungle Garden (305-242-9500) and Plant Creations (305-248-8147, www.plantcreations.com) in the Redland, and Florida Keys Native Nursery (305-852-2636). You can also locate other nurseries carrying natives (most are wholesale but may also sell retail) through the Association of Florida Native Nurseries (www.afnn.org or 1-877-353-2366).

Job Opening: Coordinator for children’s program at the Environmental Center, MDCC, Kendall Campus. The coordinator will determine programs, hire and train staff, oversee grounds maintenance and exhibits, and handle routine administrative tasks. B.A. in environmental studies or a natural science preferred. The candidate should have some experience working with children , enjoy children, have a high level of energy and be able to work a flexible schedule. For more information, call Elizabeth Granados, 305-237-0512.

Gifford Arboretum picnic, Saturday, December 2, 1- 4 pm. Enjoy a pruning demonstration by Jon Bennett, tropical wood auction, and plant sale (natives included), as well as tours, free light refreshments, and sandwiches (for sale). FREE! Location: NW corner of the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, intersection of San Amaro and Robbia Streets. Call 305-284-5364.

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INVASIVE SPECIES COUNCIL INVITES INPUT

WASHINGTON, DC, October 3, 2000 (ENS) - The National Invasive Species Council is asking for public input on its Draft National Invasive Species Management Plan. "Invasive plant and animal species pose very real threats to America's natural heritage and our economic future," said Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. "This new draft federal plan sets out our efforts to address the environmental, ecological, and human health impact of invasive species. We look forward to public input into this plan during the comment period." Invasive species are non-native species that become established in new habitats and harm the environment, economy and in some cases, human health.

"Invasive species cost the U.S. economy over $100 billion each year," said Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta. "The development of a National Management Plan is the first step in addressing a serious problem affecting both our environment and economy. "Invasive species include weeds that outcompete native grasses and affect agricultural production (especially in the West); aquatic plants that can shut out sunlight in Southeastern waterways; and pathogens like the West Nile virus spread by native mosquitoes in the Northeast. The management plan includes recommendations to improve coordination and leadership; enhance control and management efforts; speed detection and response to recent infestations; enhance international cooperation; support efforts with research; enhance education and outreach programs; improve prevention efforts; and set up a gateway website on invasive species. For more information or to comment online by November 16, visit: http://www.invasivespecies.gov.

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NATIVE OR NOT? THE GREAT DEBATE by Roger L. Hammer

(Part 1 of a series)

GEIGER TREE Cordia sebestena L.

I once jokingly said that "if a plant has large, showy flowers, then it’s probably not native." This, of course, is not exactly true but the point I wanted to make is that most of our native trees and shrubs of tropical origin have small flowers. The principal reason for this is that the majority of them were brought here by birds that migrate across the Straits of Florida with seeds in their bellies. Small flowers produce small fruit or seeds that can be consumed and distributed by birds. Large-fruited plants have a much more difficult time being transported across open ocean unless their fruits or seeds are adapted to ocean travel.

One tropical tree in the flora of Florida that bears fruit too large for migratory birds to eat is the geiger tree, Cordia sebestena. In Florida it is sparingly found in coastal habitats of Dade and Monroe counties and is a prized landscape tree in the southernmost counties of Florida, being too cold sensitive to be grown farther north. Outside of Florida the geiger tree ranges through the West Indies (including the Bahamas) and from the Yucatan Peninsula to Colombia and Venezuela.

The white, pear-shaped, pithy fruit average about 1 1/2" long and 1 1/4" wide. They are buoyant and can remain viable after prolonged exposure to seawater, suggesting a reliance on ocean currents for natural distribution.

The geiger tree’s popularity as a landscape plant in southern Florida is due to its brilliant display of 1 1/2" orange to red-orange flowers produced in showy clusters several times a year. The flowers attract a variety of butterflies and are a favorite of hummingbirds as well. Two horticultural drawbacks are its cold-sensitivity (prolonged hard freezes can kill mature trees) and its seasonal attacks by the larvae of a tortoise beetle that can entirely defoliate mature trees.

Now we must all face the fact that this cherished tree may not be native to Florida after all. Richard Wunderlin, Ph.D, in his Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida (1998) lists it as an exotic species in Florida but, before you start sending him hate mail (Department of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620), you should know the details regarding this tree’s history in Florida. The renowned naturalist John James Audubon is credited with naming the tree in 1832 to honor John Geiger, a ship captain of the early 19th century who resided in Key West. Look at Audubon’s painting of the white-crowned pigeon and you will see that the birds are perched on the boughs of a geiger tree.

In the book, History of Key West (Browne, 1912) it states that "the rough leaved Cordia, or Geiger flower; only two specimens in Key West in 1832, in garden of Dr. Benjamin B. Strobel, but now (1912) abundant in Key West." Botanist James Melvill, who traveled to Key West in 1872 noted that Cordia sebestena is "probably not native," and in the Royal Palm Catalog (1887-1888) its range is given as "native of [the] West Indies, found sparingly on the Lower Keys, much planted out in Key West." Botanist/dendrologist Charles Sprague Sargent, in his Silva of North America, Vol. 6 (1891-1902), states "Mr. Geiger may have introduced this tree to the Keys."

A more recent position on the nativity of Cordia sebestena comes from retired dendrologist Elbert Little, Jr. in his Checklist of United States Trees: Native and Naturalized (USDA Forest Service Handbook No. 541, 1979) in which he gives the Florida range as "S. Fla. incl. Fla. Keys (s. Dade and s. Monroe Cos.), apparently introduced and naturalized." So, with all of that historic documentation, it is easy to see how the geiger tree’s native status in Florida is disputed.

It will be difficult for anyone who cherishes this colorful, tropical tree to look upon it as just another escapee from cultivation. There is always the argument that the Florida Keys had not been very thoroughly explored in the 1800s and early 1900s and that small, native populations of geiger trees could have existed–tucked away undetected in the tangled shoreline vegetation. Geiger tree fruit float in seawater, and it is a coastal species, so it seems probable that favorable ocean currents could have brought them here naturally from the Bahamas, Cuba, or other West Indian islands. But how could such a showy flowering tree go unrecognized and unreported by the parade of botanists who traveled in the Florida Keys long ago? The answer is that it probably could not have. After reviewing the early literature I somewhat reluctantly agree with Wunderlin and others that it is likely an introduced species, but please ... don’t shoot the messengers!

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2001 FNPS ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Diversity and Development: Striking a Balance
The 21st Annual Conference of the
Florida Native Plant Society

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. — Aldo Leopold

Thursday - Sunday, May 10 - 13, 2001
Westin Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbor

Hosted by the Pinellas Chapter of FNPS
727-544-7341 /www.fnps.org /jbuhrman@aol.com

Call for papers, posters. Please respond with title and one-line description by November 14. Abstracts due by January 26. Notification of acceptance by February 15. Please contact Judith Buhrman for more information: jbuhrman@aol.com or (727)-398-3799, or 6123 113 St. #504, Seminole, FL 33772.

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KENWOODS RECOGNIZES NEIGHBORHOOD HOMES

The KENWOODS Learning Center at Kenwood Elementary School has encouraged children and families in the school community to understand the importance of Native Plants since its beginning in 1986. Many of the homes in the neighborhood around the school show the influence of these lessons in their landscaping choices. At KENWOODS’ annual Arbor Day Picnic in April, the project honored three families whose homes are predominately landscaped with Native Plants. Using the guidelines recommended by the Palm Beach FNPS Chapter, colorful "NATIVE FLORIDA NATURESCAPE" yard signs were awarded to the Warren, Singer and Valla families in the Kenwood area.

KLC will continue to identify neighborhood yard plantings that meet the 70% Native criterion and plans to make additional awards at next year’s picnic. The annual Kenwood Arbor Day Picnic is held on the Saturday following National Arbor Day, in April.

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NURSERY NEWS

Joyce Gann has announced that Tropical Greenery is officially closed -- really! -- no more "still going out of business" sales. Please look for native plants at various public events and at Veber’s Jungle Garden (305-242-9500) and Plant Creations (305-248-8147, www.plantcreations.com), in the Redland, and Florida Keys Native Nursery (305-852-2636). You can also locate other nurseries carrying natives (most are wholesale but may also sell retail) through the Association of Florida Native Nurseries (www.afnn.org or 1-877-353-2366).

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KEY CONTACTS FOR DCFNPS:

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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