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 2001

In This Issue

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY
UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS (DADE)
ACTIVITIES IN THE KEYS
CHAPTER NEWS AND NEEDS
OTHER EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
BURROWING FOUR-O'CLOCK
SOUTH FLORIDA PLANTS AND THEIR BENEFICIAL SOIL FUNGI (MYCORRHIZAE)
KEY CONTACTS FOR DCFNPS

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY

Tuesday, June 26: Annual summer solstice evening garden tour and social (not at Fairchild).

Location: Gifford Arboretum, University of Miami
Time: 6:45 - 9 PM. Come early to take advantage of the light.
Activities: Tours, refreshments, socializing, plant raffle.
Bring: Refreshments, raffle donations, lawn chair.
Rain plans: Bring an umbrella. Call 305-255-6404 for info if the weather is very bad.

Instead of our annual "June yard visit" we will see the Gifford Arboretum’s large collection of tropical and sub-tropical trees, many native to Florida, and the Keys satellite planting. The arboretum was founded in 1947 and later named for Dr. John C. Gifford, the first graduate forester in the United States, an expert on tropical woods and professor of tropical forestry at UM. In 1950, the Gifford Society of Tropical Botany was formed to promote the study of tropical plants, and the arboretum grew to more than 500 plants. The arboretum survived a near-miss with the paving crews in the 1980s, and in 1992 the University gave full support to its renovation and enhancement.

Tours of the arboretum will begin at 6:45 and 7:30, and a tour of the Keys satellite planting will leave from the arboretum at 7:15. Gather for refreshments and native plant raffle at about 8 PM (under shelter if it is raining). Everyone is encouraged to contribute snacks to the pot-luck refreshment table. (Thanks in advance to George Childs, Bob Kelley and Vivian Waddell for bringing drinks and ice.) Lawn chairs might be nice to have. Directions: Take Miller Road east until it ends. Turn left on San Amaro and enter the 3rd parking lot on the right opposite Robbia (NW corner of campus).

July 24 meeting: "Good and Bad Beasties in the Native Plant Garden" -- Adrian Hunsberger, Urban Horticulture Agent and Entomologist, UF/Miami-Dade Extension office.

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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, June 30: Key Largo Hammocks State Botanical Site. We will join the Keys group for this trip led by Jim Duquesnel, biologist for the site

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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.

Summer activities in the Keys are being planned but details were incomplete at the time of printing this newsletter. Please watch the media and/or contact Jim Duquesnel. Leave your name, phone or fax number, or e-mail address.

June meeting in Key West: Slide program on Key Largo Hammocks State Botanical Site presented by Jim Duquesnel. The date and location will be announced soon (see above contacts to get the final info!)

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CHAPTER NEWS AND NEEDS

The FNPS Conference in May was attended by about a dozen Dade members and numerous residents of the Keys. The Pinellas Chapter provided a stimulating lineup of programs and field trips as well as the largest collection of vendors (much more than books and plants) ever seen at a state conference. For a sample of what you missed, look up an article by keynote speaker Andy Wasowski in the June issue of Audubon magazine. "Dawn of a New Lawn" describes the history of the conventional land-centered landscape and the move toward more environmentally friendly native landscapes.

Local area members, residents and agencies were honored. Two Endowment Grant recipients from Dade County were graduate students Elena Pinto-Torres (Pollination and conservation of an endangered coastal endemic plant: Jacquemontia reclinata) and Hannah Thornton (Investigating molecular and quantitative variation within populations of an endangered endemic plant: application for conservation). Each received $500 to support their research at Florida International University and Fairchild Tropical Garden. The Design with Natives Awards included Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management for restorations at Matheson Hammock and Richmond Pinelands, and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park for its restorations at the park. Keys resident Patricia Mull was honored for the native landscaping of her residence. Next year’s conference will be March 21-24 in Tallahassee. It’s not too soon to plan to enjoy spring in the "North"!

Everglades National Park visitors center landscaping project: At the May 19 workday, 26 volunteers (thank you!) planted or relocated about 100 plants, spread pine straw, weeded, pruned, and admired the progress. Two weeks earlier, deer were seen nibbling weeds in the planting — the first seen so close to the buildings in the memory of all present at the administration building that day. Special thanks to Kristi and Dan Doyne-Bailey for their donation of many of the plants installed. Thanks also to Metro-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management for donating pine needles (for mulch); to Gwen Burzycki for making a special trip to haul the bags in her truck; and to Jeff Blakely for pre-workday weed control.

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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 Steve Woodmansee at 305-247-6547 or Roger Hammer at 305-242-7688 or more information. June 19 topic: native palms (Arecaceae).

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 (Eupatorium serotinum), coontie, yellowtop, tickseed and aster spp. (Aster adnatus, A. dumosus). If you can donate any native plants (seedlings to 3 gallon pots), please contact Diane Otis at (305) 237-0692.

Third Annual Tropical Fruit Fiesta. Saturday, July 21, 9 AM- 4 PM at Bayview Park, Key West. A full day of tropical fruity fun! Sample ripe tropical fruit, local tropical food and fruit products, buy fruit trees and native plants, learn how to grow your own fruit, and become familiar with new and lesser-known fruits. Expert plant advice, homegrown fruit contests, demonstrations, raffle, and lots more. Contact: Gail Keeler, monroe@mail.ifas.ufl.edu, 305/292-4501 or Univ. of Florida/ Monroe County Cooperative Extension Service.

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BURROWING FOUR-O'CLOCK

by Roger Hammer

Okenia hypogaea Schltdl. & Chapm.

Nyctaginaceae (Four-O'Clock Family)

The burrowing four-o'clock, or sometimes called beach peanut, is closely related to the well known bougainvillea, Bougainvillea glabra and four-o'clock, Mirabilis jalapa. It is listed as an endangered species in Florida because of its limited natural range from east-central Florida to southwest Florida (it also occurs in Mexico). It colonizes beach dunes but has had a hard time competing with coastal development. Although it is endangered, it can be quite common in some areas and it easily qualifies as one of the prettiest flowering plants on our beaches. The flowers are rose-purple, 3/4-1" wide, with five lobes. The flowers are solitary and appear from the leaf axils, but a large, spreading plant can have dozens of flowers open at one time.

The genus name, Okenia, honors the German botanist and professor, Lorenz Oken (1779-1851). The species name, hypogaea, means underground, in reference to the fruit that develops beneath the sand. Once pollinated, the maturing ovary is pushed into the sand and the fruit matures underground in the same manner as the unrelated peanut, Arachis hypogaea.

A good place to see burrowing four-o'clocks this time of year (it's an annual) is on Key Biscayne. Drive to Crandon Park and park your car in the north parking lot near the new Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center. Walk down to the beach and scan the edge of the dunes as you walk north. Bring your camera ... you will not be disappointed. And oh, by the way, the Atlantic Ocean is right there if you want to take a dip.

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SOUTH FLORIDA PLANTS AND THEIR BENEFICIAL SOIL FUNGI (MYCORRHIZAE)

by Jack B. Fisher, Fairchild Tropical Garden

Most native plants are associated with soil fungi that form a symbiosis with the plant roots. These mycorrhizae are beneficial to the plant. There are two main kinds of mycorrhizae: 1) Ectomycorrhizae which form various kinds of mushrooms and are associated with oaks, pines, Cocoloba and exotic Eucalyptus; and 2) Arbuscular mycorrhizae which never form mushrooms and are associated with almost all other plants from ferns to bald cypress to palms.

At FTG we have been setting up container experiments in the greenhouse to test whether arbuscular mycorrhizae promote native plant growth. Results show that arbuscular mycorrhizae promote uptake of phosphorous from the sandy soils of our local pinelands and coastal dunes. The fungus also increases resistance to root disease and helps the plant survive water stress (drought). Some native plants must form mycorrhizae in order to grow and reproduce under natural conditions (without additional nutrients in the form of mulch or fertilizer). Tiny firebush seedlings were greatly promoted by mycorrhizae. When grown without the fungus, even additional phosphorus fertilizer did not help them grow. However, many other species (native palms, lancewood, bitterbush, crabwood, sumac, wild coffee) responded equally well to either mycorrhizal fungi or additional phosphorus fertilizer when they are grown on soil dug straight from a natural site. Most soil that has plants growing in it (including lawn grass) will have mycorrhizal fungi if the area has not been heavily treated with fungicides. Soil dug from a natural woods will have fungal inoculum that can be added to container plants. Only plants grown from seed in sterilized soil mix or planted in a place totally free of plants (such as after a building site is cleared of concrete cover or when a building lot is covered with fill taken from below the zone of plant roots) are likely to suffer from a lack of mycorrhizae.

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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: Carrie Cleland (305-661-9023)

Vice President: Tony Koop (tkoop@fig.cox.miami.edu)

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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