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/August 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
STRONGBACK
KEY CONTACTS FOR DCFNPS

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY

Tuesday, July 24, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road (4th -- not last -- Tuesday).

Good and Bad Beasties in the Native Plant Garden. Speaker: Adrian Hunsberger, University of Florida/Miami-Dade Extension office.

We usually think of birds, butterflies and small mammals as the wildlife associated with native plants. But what about all the other insects? Adrian will discuss both harmful and beneficial insects associated with native plants in South Florida as well as ways of dealing with pest insects. Adrian is the Urban Horticulture Agent and Entomologist at the UF/Miami-Dade Extension, a DCFNSP member, and writer of the column "Plant Clinic" in the Sunday edition of The Miami Herald.

We need refreshment donors for the July meeting. Please call Lynka (305-667-1651 ext. 3427 or ftgherb@fiu.edu).

There is no meeting or newsletter in August, but check the calendar and announcements below for field trips, yard visits and other activities. September 25 meeting: Chuck McCartney will present a slide program on "Stars of the Wildflower World -- a look at the aster family in South Florida."

Questions about summer activities? Please call Carrie (305-661-9023), Sam (305-663-1026) or Patty (305-255-6404).

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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, July 21: Bahia Honda State Park.

Sunday, July 29: South Dade Pinelands -- we will visit two sites in the Goulds. area.

Saturday, August 4: Visit a South Dade garden with an eclectic variety of native and non-native plants, including a hammock and palm collection.

Saturday, August 18: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne. Still changing rapidly after the initial post-Andrew restoration (including change from "Recreation Area" to "Park"), the park features beach dune, mangrove wetlands, maritime hammock, ponds, and no soccer fields.

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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.

There will be no meetings in July and August, but there is a field trip. (see above)

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CHAPTER NEWS AND NEEDS

Everglades National Park Visitors Center landscaping project: The next work day will be on July 21, 9:00 - noon. We will call everyone on the volunteer list. Please call Carrie (305-661-9023) if you plan to attend or if you would like to be added to the master list of volunteers. We will plant, transplant and do light maintenance. The exciting part will be installing "fern grottos" in the alcoves by the Visitor Center’s door, designed and furnished by Don Keller. Please bring shovels, wheelbarrows, pruning tools, gloves, your preferred insect repellant (though we hope the bugs will be dispersed by the time we begin).

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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, 7 PM. Call Steve Woodmansee at 305-247-6547 or Roger Hammer at 305-242-7688. July 17: Myrtle family (Myrtaceae) which includes all the stoppers. August 21: Buckwheat family (Polygonaceae).

Third Annual Tropical Fruit Fiesta. Saturday, July 21, 9 AM- 4 PM at Bayview Park, Key West. Sample fruit, buy fruit trees and native plants. Plant advice, contests, demonstrations, raffle, more.

The Fairchild Tropical Garden Virtual Herbarium (www.virtualherbarium.org) needs volunteers to photograph specimens, scan labels, and work on special projects (some work can even be done at home). For more information contact Lynka Woodbury at 305-667-1651 ext. 3427 or ftgherb@fiu.edu.

The web site you’ve been waiting for! The Miami based non-profit, The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC), has just launched a new web site, created by local botanists George D. Gann, Keith A. Bradley, and Steven W. Woodmansee. Among other things, it features The Floristic Inventory of South Florida Database. Users can obtain information on native and naturalized plants of South Florida, and print plant lists for South Florida parks, counties, and habitats. If you find the site useful, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help IRC maintain and improve the site. Contact George or Keith at irc@regionalconservation.org or (305) 247-6547.

Looking for info on exotic pest plants? Have some interesting info to share? Join The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council List Server: Discussion of exotic pest plants in Florida including: impacts, biology, and management. Here are the instructions:

To SUBSCRIBE, send a message to: imailsrv@fleppc.org and in the BODY of the message, type: subscribe FLEPPC YOUR_FIRST_NAME YOUR_LAST_NAME (Replace with your actual first and last name!)

To UNSUBSCRIBE send a message (from the same account used to subscribe) to: imailsrv@fleppc.org and in the BODY of the message type: unsubscribe FLEPPC

To post messages, address them to: fleppc@fleppc.org

Street Tree resolution passed by the Miami-Dade Commission. A resolution sponsored by Commissioners Sorenson and Morales was passed by the County Commissioners on June 5. The title sums it up: "Resolution directing the County Manager to formulate a countywide comprehensive Master Plan for street trees to guide all future plantings and to develop maintenance program for existing inventory of landscaping as well as all new plantings." The resolution begins "WHEREAS, a master plan that considers ecological needs, geographical settings, biodiversity, tree canopy coverage to lower ambient temperatures in urban areas, and emphasizes low-maintenance and hardy native species would maximize the investment of street tree funds for the public welfare, ..." The complete text is on the Internet at: http://www.co.miami-dade.fl.us/govaction/matter.asp?matter=011403. Congratulations to David K. Goodin, Stormwater Utility Manager for the City of South Miami and DCFNPS member, who prepared the resolution and pushed it through the system. Call David at (305) 668-7355 for more information.

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STRONGBACK

by Roger Hammer

On Great Abaco, Bahamas, I once spoke to a heavyset, jovial Bahamian woman about several plants in her yard in Marsh Harbor. One was Bourreria succulenta, the tree that we, in Florida, commonly call Bahama "strongbark" but is correctly, "strongback." The common name was explained to me by this woman (who owned a restaurant on the island called "Shut Up And Eat") because I had asked her about Bahamian bush medicine. She explained to me that Bahamian women make a tea from the leaves to give their husbands a "strong back." When I asked if that was for lifting things and doing yard work, she replied with great laughter, "Oh, no no no mon!" With that I switched my attention and the conversation to her Scotch bonnet peppers!

Bourreria succulenta is an endangered tree of southern Florida (Miami-Dade and Monroe counties) and is locally common in the hammocks of the Florida Keys, especially along the edges of the hammocks on North Key Largo. It is especially noticeable when laden with clusters of orange fruit. It has rounded leaves from 2-3" long with a somewhat weeping growth habit. Mature specimens average about 10-18’ tall. Clusters of small, 1/2", fragrant white flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds and are produced year round. Mockingbirds and catbirds are especially fond of the fruit. It is one of my personal favorite native trees.

The leaves of Bahama strongbark are hairy when young, becoming glabrous with age, and the hairy young leaves have led some to mistake it for an even rarer species, Bourreria radula, the "rough strongback." This species has very rough leaves even at maturity but otherwise is very similar to the previous species. Its range encompasses the Greater Antilles and, historically, the Lower Florida Keys. It is virtually unknown in the wild in Florida but a number of trees still exist in and around Key West. A few can be seen in the old Key West cemetery (right near a grave stone that is inscribed with the sentimental words, "I Told You I Was Sick"). I swear I didn’t make that up, go look for yourself! Occasional specimens can also be seen in landscapes around old Key West.

There is also a third representative of this genus in Florida. Little strongback, Bourreria cassinifolia, is shrubby and may reach about 8-10’ tall. Its leaves are coarsely hairy and are typically only about 1/2-3/4" long and half as wide. Its range in Florida is Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. On the mainland it is found in just a few pine rockland preserves of southern Miami-Dade County and the largest population is in Naranja on property that will almost surely be destroyed by the southern expansion of the busway and MetroRail. In the Florida Keys it is most common on Big Pine Key.

The genus Bourreria was named to honor the German apothecary, Johann Ambrosius Beurer (1716-1754) by the Irish physician and naturalist, Patrick Browne (1720-1790), who emigrated to Jamaica. When Browne first published the name in a book on the natural history of Jamaica in 1756, the genus was spelled Beureria in the index. It is easy to understand how the name "strongback" became "strongbark" because if you ever hear a Bahamian say "strongback", it sounds like "strongbock."

Regardless of the name confusion surrounding this group of plants, they all deserve horticultural attention. Also, all three species are listed as endangered in Florida. And, if you make a tea from the leaves, they’ll give you a strong bock mon!

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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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