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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October 2001

In This Issue



Tuesday, October 23, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road. [the 4th, not last, Tuesday]

Florida Keys Natural Areas: Acquisition and Management for Biodiversity. Speaker: Chris Bergh, Land Conservation Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy.

Chris will discuss the history, current status and future of conservation land acquisition in the Keys, including land in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, State Parks, Botanical Sites, Geologic Sites and Buffer Preserves, the Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area, county and local municipality parks and private nature preserves. The discussion of natural resources management will focus on invasive non-native species control efforts, fire management in the lower Keys pine rocklands, hydrologic restoration projects and volunteer activities in support of these strategies. Besides slides of maps, aerial photographs and landscapes, Chris will also show slides some Keys specialty plants and wildlife that we might see during the November field trip.

Everyone is invited to add to the refreshment table or bring a native plant for the raffle or auction.

November 27 program. Dr. Deborah Shaw, Director of Environmental Affairs for the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative will speak about the natural history and protection of the tree snail (Liguus fasciatus) in North Key Largo hammocks.

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Sunday, October 28, at Fairchild Tropical Garden

1 PM — program

2 PM — book sale and signing

3 PM — butterfly walk in the Garden

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask! Butterfly and native plant expert Dr. Marc Minno will examine how butterflies live their lives — what they eat, how they reproduce and protect themselves from predators, and fascinating phenomena such as migration and mimicry. He will also talk about the life cycles of some of our rarest butterflies and some found in our south Florida gardens.

Marc is a biologist with St. Johns River Water Management District, co-author of four books on butterflies, including Florida Butterfly Gardening, Butterflies of the Florida Keys, and Butterflies Through Binoculars, Florida Edition, and former resident of Broward County.

The event is free to the public after admission to the Garden. You may have to park at Matheson Hammock or along the road if the FTG parking lot is full.

Thanks to our cosponsors: Fairchild Tropical Garden for providing the facility; Tropical Audubon Society and Broward Chapter FNPS for financial support; and the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, and Friends of the Gifford Arboretum.

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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!

Friday-Sunday, Nov 2-4 (our annual "overnighter") to Lower Keys natural areas (come to Oct. meeting for details). walks will include Blue Heron Hammock in Marathon, rock pinelands and fresh water wetlands on Big Pine Key, and Torchwood Hammock on Little Torch Key.

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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: October 25, 7:30 p.m., preceded by ID workshop at 7 p.m.. Hosted by the Marathon Garden Club at their garden center building. 5270 Overseas Highway near Mile Marker 50.

Visits by our not so fair weather friends, Hurricanes Georges and Irene, and Tropical Storm Mitch, left many trees throughout the Florida Keys in ragged condition. Shattered limbs, left uncorrected, can turn otherwise salvageable landscape specimens into hollow-hearted hazards.

To the rescue comes this month's program by Lisa Hammer, Horticultural Consultant. Lisa is a native Miamian, and a certified and registered consulting arborist. She formerly served Miami-Dade County as an Agricultural Extension Agent and coordinator of their Master Gardener program. Lisa will discuss proper tree pruning techniques, including how to "train" young trees, and how and when to perform corrective pruning on older trees. She will also cover the impacts that storms can have on trees, repair techniques, and how to properly reset storm-toppled trees. Everyone is invited to attend.

For the ID workshop, please bring a cutting from your "mystery plant" -- a stem with several leaves, and either flowers of fruit, will make this easier. Afterwards there will be refreshments and our usual native plant raffle. Anyone bringing a native plant for the raffle will receive a free raffle ticket. One or two special specimens may even be auctioned off.

Field trip: Saturday, October 27, 9 a.m.. Florida Park Service biologist Janice Duquesnel will guide us on the Layton Nature Trail. Meet on the highway outside the entrance to Long Key State Park This site features both native thatch palms and other low hammock species of the middle Keys.

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Everglades National Park Visitors Center landscaping project. About 15 FNPS members and 8 from the Coral Gables Congregational Church Youth Group did a spectacular job of weeding and mulching on September 15. Because the next few months are full of FNPS activities and holidays, we may not have another big workday soon. However, we plan to continue weeding, spreading pine needles and pruning using small groups of volunteers several times during the fall.

FNPS Eco Action Alert works! Layne Redmond, a Citrus Chapter FNPS member discovered the power of people united when he asked for assistance with a lime rock mining issue near Manatee Springs State Park. Not on the list yet? What are you waiting for? Coast-to-coast concrete?? Sign up by sending a request to info@fnps.org. Ask to be put on the Eco Action Alert list! Cynthia Plockelman, FNPS Government Policy Chair, will be happy to receive and review your requests or ideas for eco action alerts.

Broward Chapter FNPS meetings: 2nd Tuesdays at Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 W State Road 84, just west of I-95. Social time 7PM, program at 7:30PM. Call Ann, 954-523-0288.

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Crane Point Hammock workday, November 3 — help TNC eradicate exotics in one of Marathon's natural gems at The Nature Conservancy's GreenSweep Volunteer Workday. Plant natives, remove exotics at one of Marathon's last remaining natural areas. 9 AM-noon, MM 50 (bay side). Bring tools, water, etc. Contact Chris or Alison at TNC at 1-305-745-8502.

Get your copy of "Weeds Won't Wait". The report of the Noxious Exotic Weed Task Team of the Everglades Restoration Program (topic of the May program and September Tillandsia article by Dr. Robert Doren) will be available soon. Send an email with you name and postal address (remember to include your zip code!) to rmonchek@sfrestore.org with "Weeds Report Request" in the subject line. If you can't email, call Rafaela Monchek at 305-348-6722; fax (305) 348-1667; or mail Rafaela Monchek, South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, F.I.U, OE Bldg. Room 148, Miami, FL 33199.

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr. 305-666-5111. October 16 meeting: "Everglades Restoration and the Future of Florida Conservation", Stuart Strahl, President and CEO of Audubon of Florida, at 8pm, social at 7:30. Plant walks led by Rock Cohen (please make reservation at 305-666-5111): Oct.21, Beginning Botany at Matheson Hammock. Nov. 18, Deering Estate at Cutler. Botanical Garden at Tropical Audubon: tour this native plant garden, 9 a.m. to noon on Oct 21, Nov. 18, Dec. 30. FREE.

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management workdays, 9AM-noon. Call 305-257-0904. 10/27, Hattie Bauer Hammock (SW 157 Ave and 267 St.); 11/3, Castellow Hammock (22301 SW 162 Ave.)

Native trees are needed for a World War II veterans memorial planting at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum (next to MetroZoo) on Nov.10. The Telephone Pioneers, a community service organization of 90000 members throughout the U.S., needs over 300 native plants for this project, especially ones that attract birds and butterflies. Some of the plants desired are paradise tree, wild coffee, buttonwood, stoppers, Jamaica caper, wild lime, dahoon holly in 3-gallons and smaller plants such as yellowtop, passionvine and coreopsis. If you can donate plants or would like a complete list, please call Bobette Mauck (the group's environmental chairperson), 305-260-8140(w), 305-255-7205(h).

Native Plant Workshop. 3rd Tuesdays at Bill Sadowski Park, 1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Road on SW 176 Street, 7 PM. Study of South Florida plant ID and taxonomy. Call Steve Woodmansee (305-247-6547) or Roger Hammer (305-242-7688). Upcoming topics: Oct. 16 -- the Rubiaceae (Madder family); Nov. 20 — Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family).

Fairchild Tropical Garden classes: Planting from A to Xeriscape (Jeff Wasielewski, Oct. 17); Xeriscaping with Palms (Chris Migliaccio, Oct. 18); Container Palms (Chris Migliaccio, Oct. 25); Everglades Wildflower Walk (Roger Hammer, Oct. 27); Introduction to Native Plants of S. Florida (Gwladys Scott, Oct. 10). 305-667-1651 ext. 3322.

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by Roger L. Hammer

Of the thirteen species of bromeliads in the genus Tillandsia native to Florida, the one we call Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, is probably the most well known. It is the most non-bromeliad-looking bromeliad in the world but it has the distinction of having the widest global range of any species in its family. All bromeliads, except a single species in Africa, are indigenous to the New World, and T. usneoides is found from the southern United States through the West Indies and Mexico to Argentina and Chile in South America. It was first noted in the writings of Hernando d'Escalante Fontenada who, at the age of 13, was sailing from Colombia to Spain to be educated. The ship wrecked in 1545 on a Florida reef and young Fontenada was taken captive by Calusa Indians in southwest Florida. He noted that "These Indians have no gold, less silver and less clothing. They go naked, except only some breech cloths woven of palms, with which the men cover themselves; the women do the like with a certain grass that grows on trees. This grass looks like wool, although it is different from it."

The genus Tillandsia honors the Swedish botanist, Elias Tillands (1640-1693), who cataloged the plants of Abo, Finland in 1673. The name usneoides refers to the similarity of Spanish moss to the lichen genus, Usnea. It is less common in southern Florida than it is in the rest of the state but it can occasionally be found draping from tree limbs in the Florida Keys. It flowers in early summer and the small, seldom-noticed, 3-petaled, green flowers emit a delightful fragrance. Anyone seeing a photo of a Spanish moss-laden live oak knows immediately that the scene depicts the southeastern United States.

Aside from its early use as clothing by modest Calusa women, it has been used for bedding, as a packing material, and to toss wet onto fires to keep mosquitoes at bay with the copious smoke. The soft, pliable, silvery stems are also a popular item used by birds in nest building. Although it is seldom though of as a landscape plant, it is highly decorative and adds a bit of authenticity to any Florida landscape.

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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: 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

The Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the understanding and preservation of Florida’s native flora and natural areas, and promoting native plants in landscapes.

The chapter includes residents of Miami-Dade County and the Keys. Meetings in Miami-Dade County are on the 4th Tuesday of each month except June, August and December at Fairchild Tropical Garden and are free and open to the public. In June, members and their guests are invited to an evening garden tour on the 4th Tuesday. Meetings in the Keys are held on a varying schedule of dates and locations from Key Largo to Key West. The basic FNPS membership (state and chapter) is $25 per year. Please contact DCFNPS for a membership application.

Please send articles, announcements of local activities and news of interest to the Dade Chapter PO Box or email to the editor (above) by the 15th of each month to be considered for publication the following month.

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

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