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 2001

In This Issue

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY
UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS (DADE)
ACTIVITIES IN THE KEYS
ACTIVITIES-AT-A-GLANCE
DADE CHAPTER EVERGLADES NAT'L PARK PROJECT WORKDAY: SATURDAY, MAY 19.
CHAPTER NEWS AND NEEDS
PEOPLE AND PLANTS NEEDED
OTHER EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
IS THAT PLANT NATIVE OF ANYWHERE?
PARKS ABOUND
MINI-WILDLIFE REFUGES: SANCTUARIES IN THE URBAN LANDSCAPE
2001 FNPS ANNUAL CONFERENCE
KEY CONTACTS FOR DCFNPS

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY

Tuesday, May 22, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road (4th -- not last -- Tuesday).

Invasive Exotic Organisms and the Ecology of Invasion. Dr. Robert Doren, Everglades Restoration Program.

Congress established the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task force to coordinate the restoration efforts for the ecosystem, including addressing the threats to restoration such as invasive exotic plants. Dr. Robert Doren will be speaking to us about his work on the Noxious Exotic Weed Task Team (NEWTT). Invasive plants cause substantial losses, reductions in agricultural production, and significant control costs. Billions of dollars are lost each year in the U.S. Millions of hectares of natural areas are infested with exotic plants with a concomitant loss of native species. Hundreds of rare and endangered species and rare habitats are in jeopardy from them.

June26 meeting: Summer Solstice Evening Garden Tour and Social. Our annual evening "yard visit" this year will be at the University of Miami’s Gifford Arboretum. This is in lieu of a program at Fairchild.

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UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS (DADE)

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. Please join today so that you can enjoy all the benefits of membership!

Saturday, May 26: Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area in northwest Broward County. This 44-acre-site in Coconut Creek represents some of the last remaining pineland in Broward County. It also includes small wetland and hammock components. Tarflower occurs on some of the higher pineland. One portion of the property features eroded limestone, a remnant of the time when the site was a spillway leading from the Everglades to the Atlantic. The property was bought by Broward County as part of an Environmentally Sensitive Lands bond issue. The pinelands were highly degraded and overgrown with exotics. Some of the exotics were removed manually and 10 acres of the site was cleared with a prescribed burn in April of 2000. We will have a chance to see how that area is regenerating.

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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.

Next meeting: Wednesday, May 30, in Marathon at the High School cafeteria. Roland Fisch, instructor at Florida Keys Community College, will give a program on water gardening in the Keys. Plant Identification Workshop at 7 PM. Bring cuttings from your mystery plant to discuss. The program begins at 7:30, with refreshments and plant raffle after the program. Please bring native plants to donate to the raffle if you can!

Backyard ponds can easily mimic the fresh water pools of Big Pine Key. Many Keys residents are unaware that Big Pine's numerous water holes support a large population of alligators, native fishes, and fresh water plants.

Especially useful in attracting songbirds to the yard, a backyard pond may also attract bring a few wading birds to your otherwise dry neighborhood, especially the small Green Heron. These birds quickly discover ponds that are stocked with fish. Native fishes which can tolerate fresh water and produce enough offspring to keep up with raiding herons include Sailfin Mollies, Mosquito Fish and several Killifishes. Adding these fish to your pond will also eliminate most of the mosquito larvae.

Roland will discuss appropriate wetland plants, as well as pond design, construction, and maintenance.

Field trip: Saturday, May 19: Tying into this month's program on backyard ponds, a special effort will be made to visit some of the fresh water ponds on Big Pine Key.

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ACTIVITIES-AT-A-GLANCE

Please see details elsewhere in this newsletter.

May

June

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DADE CHAPTER EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK VISITORS CENTER LANDSCAPING PROJECT WORKDAY: SATURDAY, MAY 19.

At the 3rd workday of our chapter’s project, we will continue work on the pineland areas where we previously planted and mulched and also start addressing the wetland and upland areas near the building. We will install some 1-gallon plants, relocate plants which were put in inappropriate places by the original contractor, spread more pine needle mulch, and remove exotics and unwanted volunteers (plants, not people). NO rock detail! Please call Carrie (305-661-9023) as soon as possible if you can help. New members — we need you, too! Helpful family members and friends of all ages are welcome. Bring tools, gloves, wheelbarrows and sun/bug protection. Refreshments are provided. Free park admission.

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CHAPTER NEWS AND NEEDS

A recent addition (rejoin, actually) to our list of nurseries with natives is Richard Lyons’ Nursery at 20200 SW 134 Avenue, 305-251-6293. Richard carries a wide variety of exotics, but you will also find natives and special events at the nursery.

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PEOPLE AND PLANTS NEEDED

Plants needed for MDCC environmental education. The Environmental Center at Miami-Dade Community College has received a small grant from The Laurie Otto Seeds for Education Fund to build a native plant demonstration garden at Kendall Campus. The garden will teach the public about the beauty and wildlife value of native plants and how they can be effectively used in a townhome-sized landscape. It will also be used as an outdoor laboratory for children and adult students in environmental center classes. Donation of plants would help stretch the small budget. A wide variety of natives will be used, but needed in quantity are: quailberry, blue porterweed, corky-stemmed passionvine, mistflower, late thoroughwort, coontie, yellowtop, tickseed and Walter's aster. If you can donate any native plants (seedlings to 3 gallon pots), please contact Diane Otis at (305) 237-0692.

The Fairchild Tropical Garden Virtual Herbarium needs volunteers. The Fairchild Tropical Garden is the major regional herbarium for South Florida. A few months ago we accessioned our 100,000th specimen and we now have five active systematists, a collection manager / volunteer coordinator, several research associates and graduate students working in the herbarium. In 1999 we began the world's first and only Virtual Herbarium and we now have 40,000 specimens (with photos of every specimen) on the WWW at www.virtualherbarium.org. There are many resources at our site of interest to South Florida professional and amateur botanists, including photos of living plants, a database of species in the Garden, and many other databases and resources. More volunteers are needed to photograph specimens, scan labels, and work on special projects (some work can even be done at home). We give official volunteer credit for High School and College requirements as well as community service hours. For more information contact Lynka Woodbury at305-667-1651 ext. 3427 or by email at ftgherb@fiu.edu.

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OTHER EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Native Plant Workshop. 3rd Tuesdays at Bill Sadowski Park, _ mile west of Old Cutler Road on SW 176 Street. Call Steve Woodmansee at 305-247-6547 or Roger Hammer at 305-242-7688 or more information. May 15 topic: aquatic ferns; June 19 topic: native palms (Arecaceae).

Tropical Audubon Society meeting: May 15. Jim Duquesnel, Park Biologist at Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park, will talk about the plants and animals in the park and issues facing the park. Social at 7:30 p.m. and program at 8 p.m. The public is invited. 5530 Sunset Dr. 305-665-5111.

Native Plant Sale: June 9-10. Proceeds support conservation efforts of TAS.

Biscayne National Park activities. Enjoy daily boat trips and ranger talks, canoe and kayak tours (Saturdays at 9 AM), Saturday morning and weekday evening programs, and monthly Family Fun Fests. Dante Fascell Visitor Center, 9700 SW 328 Street. Call 305-230-7275. May 13: tour historic Boca Chita Key. May 27: Elliott Key tour. A complete calendar of activities is available online by clicking the "New Activity Calendar" link in the News and Events box at www.nps.gov/bisc.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). Share up to 75% of the cost to install wildlife practices (burning, restoration, planting natives, etc., to benefit wildlife) on private lands in 5-10 year contracts. Minimum 40 acres unless it is already a "critical habitat" (NFC or EEL land in Dade Co.). Call 305-242-1218, ext. 117. May 16 deadline. This is a statewide program, so tell your friends in other counties who may be interested.

The Landscape Restoration Program at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas, will be offering competitive graduate fellowship opportunities to masters and Ph.D. students interested in conducting at least a portion of their research at the Wildflower Center. The Wildflower Center is a non-profit native plant botanic garden with educational and research facilities. The Wildflower Center's purpose is to educate people about the environmental necessity, economic value, and natural beauty of native plants. For details, contact: Steve Windhager, Ph.D. Director, (512) 292-4200 ext. 122, or stevew@wildflower.org.

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IS THAT PLANT NATIVE OF ANYWHERE?

by Don Keller

[Reprinted from the June, 1991, Tillandsia.]

Are you confused by the various terms used to describe the "legal status" of our plants? You are not alone! Anyone who has read more that one book on plants will find that controversy exists regarding the nativity of many local species.

Let’s review some of the terms used:

Contentions arise in categorizing our species because the above terms, and frequently the methodology used, are subjective. The larger question, is it native or not, can be an enigma. Often there is no clear evidence to prove that an alleged exotic was introduced at a particular time and place. Conversely, several species long considered to be natives are being questioned., e.g. Geiger tree and black olive.

William Bartram, who botanized in north Florida in 1776, was convinced that orange trees were native because they were so widespread and abundant in the totally wild countryside. He didn’t consider that the Spanish had brought citrus to St. Augustine and that the Indians had over 200 years to spread them far and wide.

Any sizeable pine forest in Dade County will have from 200 to 300 plant species, most of which probably originated elsewhere. The natural forces that gave us this abundance are still at work. Migrating birds continue to deposit seeds on us as they travel north and south. Northward moving ocean currents still flow and the wind still blows steadily from the southeast for over 200 days every year. It seems logical that we would, from time to time, find a "new" species growing in the wild. And indeed we do.

If the new plant is of a strictly Asian group we dismiss it as an escaped introduction. For instance, at least three Asian ferns are now well-established in the Cutler Ridge area alone. But what if a typical Caribbean species pops up? A single plant of Adiantum tetraphyllum, described in 1987, grows in Castellow Hammock. This plant is officially a "waif". I have no trouble believing this plant arrived here as a spore carried by the wind or in the feathers of a bird.

All of our thousands of species did not arrive en toto, as in the Garden of Eden. It required 10 to 20 thousand years to build our flora, seed by seed, spore by spore. And it’s not complete yet!

How long will it be, if ever, before this Adiantum is a "native"? How many species have come and gone before anyone saw them? Suppose the now-extirpated endemic fern Tectaria amesiana pops up again — will it be native or waif or what? Why are there more questions than there are answers?

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PARKS ABOUND

A state park by any other name is still a state park. At least, that's what the Florida Park Service has finally decided. After years of having different categories of state facilities based on usage, management, and purpose -- including such mouth-fillers as state historical site, state geologic site, state recreation area, etc. -- the Park Service decided to lump most of them into one easy-to-remember category: state park. It's a logical move because that's what most people called them anyway, no matter what the facility's official designation.

The changes became effective Dec. 15, 2000, although without much fanfare. For Miami-Dade County, this means that Oleta River State Recreation Area in North Miami Beach became Oleta River State Park; Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area on Key Biscayne became Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park; and The Barnacle State Historic Site in Coconut Grove became The Barnacle Historic State Park.

In Broward County, John U. Lloyd Beach State Recreation Area in Hollywood became John U. Lloyd Beach State Park (and, yes, the park is in Hollywood, NOT Dania Beach), and Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreation Area in Fort Lauderdale became Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.

For other name changes or information on state parks, check the

Florida Park Service website at www.dep.state.fl.us/parks/

-- Chuck McCartney

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MINI-WILDLIFE REFUGES: SANCTUARIES IN THE URBAN LANDSCAPE

by Gil MacAdam

[Reprinted from the October, 1997, Tillandsia.]

A mini-wildlife refuge, as defined by the National Wildlife Federation, is as area not more than three acres which provides a sanctuary for wildlife to find food, water, protection and reproductive areas. These may be suburban residences, rural farmyards, parks, office complexes, or almost any conceivable plot that receives landscaping. The concept of attracting wild creatures to urban areas is appealing to many and can certainly enrich the life of an interpreter.

The program of promoting urban wildlife is an attempt to offset the effects of a million acres of wildlife habitat destroyed for development each year in the United States. As residences across a community provide green oases, migrating birds and butterflies can locate the necessities of life.

The basic plan of residential wildlife landscaping is to establish the "edge" concept, where two plant communities meet, all around the property. This is done by planting trees and shrubs at the perimeter which meets grass or mulch beds. Within the "edge of the woods", which can be densely planted, can be interspersed bird feeders, bird baths, ponds and nesting boxes. Native plants should be the basis of your plantings, although colorful exotics can be added if desired.

Results can be dramatic! Moving into a fairly bleak Fort Lauderdale suburban yard in 1974, I began my plantings. To date, 85 bird species have utilized my yard, including Nashville warbler, painting bunting, yellow-breasted chat, sharp-shinned hawk, burrowing owl and great egret. Also 18 species of butterflies have been identified and 30 baby red-bellied woodpeckers have started their life journey from my side yard.

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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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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 editors: Patty Phares (305-255-6404 or pphares@mindspring.com) and Jeff Wasielewski

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

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