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!

| past newsletters |

November 2001

In This Issue



Tuesday, November 27, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.

Tree Snails of North Key Largo Hammocks -- Dr. Deborah Shaw, Director of Environmental Affairs for the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative.

What could go with trees in Key Largo more than Liguus tree snails? If you have ever been on a field trip to Key Largo, you have certainly admired this colorful wildlife. Dr. Shaw will present the natural history and distribution of the tree snail (Liguus fasciatus) in North Key Largo hammocks. She will also discuss the impacts of electric utility right-of-way maintenance on tree snails and management practices undertaken by FKEC to minimize negative impacts on tree snail populations.

This is our last meeting of the year and the month of Thanksgiving — please show your thanks to the other members who have fed you time and again by adding to the refreshment table -- and signing up to bring something next time.

December activities: NO meeting in Dade, but we have a bike trip, field trip, and workday (see details in this newsletter).

Next Dade meeting: January 22. Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson will talk about "green issues" in Dade County.

| To top of Page |


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, December 1: Shark Valley botanize by bike and full moon ride. A leisurely ride out in daylight, stopping to botanize with Tony Koop. We will await the 6:30 moonrise at the observation tower before returning.

Sunday, December 9: Deering Estate at Cutler. Since our last field trip here two years after Hurricane Andrew, a remarkable example of nature's resilience has occurred. Today the hardwood hammock is lush, rich and full. The 20,000 pine seedlings planted on the north end are reaching 10' - 12'.

[If you prefer an easier walk at the Deering Estate, Rick will also lead a public walk for Tropical Audubon on November 18. Please make reservations at 305-666-5111.

| To top of Page |


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.

Nov. meeting: Thursday, November 8, 7 PM. FNPS Keys group will meet jointly with the Key Deer Protection Alliance on Big Pine Key. This is also the KDPA annual business meeting, so there will be a half hour of business before the program.

Florida Park Service Biologist Jim Duquesnel will present a slide show on maintaining a "wildlife friendly" landscape. Like people, plants and animals from across the world find the Florida Keys a very attractive place to settle. Many new plant "immigrants" have become established here and may shoulder aside natives rather easily, usually because their natural controls (predators and pathogens) were left behind in their own place of origin. Jim will discuss how you can help preserve native species diversity by using certain gardening practices at home.

December meeting: The Keys group will again meet jointly with the Audubon Society at Indigenous Park at 5:30PM on a Monday (date TBA). You are invited to bring a dish or dessert to add to the bountiful pot luck dinner at this holiday meeting. Contact Jim or Lisa for the date and details (see below).

| To top of Page |


Everglades National Park Visitors Center landscaping project, Saturday, December 8, 9:00-noon. Please contact Carrie (305-661-9023) or Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com if you can come. We will spread some mulch, plant a few plants, pull a few weeds. This time of year, it's actually fun, so come enjoy the mild weather and good company. Bring shovels, digging tools, pruning tools, gloves, sun protection. Snacks provided.

Native Plant Day — our chapter's annual public event will be at Castellow Hammock Park on March 9, 2002. The planning will begin on December 2 at the chapter Board meeting.

| To top of Page |


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.

Next year's FNPS conference is early! The 22nd annual conference hosted by the Magnolia Chapter in Tallahassee will be March 21-24. ** Registration forms will be mailed in December. Early registration deadline is February 15. ** Please contact Science Committee Chair Shirley Denton at sdenton@biologicalresearch.com to submit papers in the ecology of native plants, focusing on native plants in their natural communities, and propagation and restoration issues. ** The application deadline for the 2002 DESIGN WITH NATIVES LANDSCAPE AWARDS PROGRAM is January 14, so take pictures now! The form is available on www.fnps.org and in your next issue of The Palmetto. Applying is easy and this is a great way to promote sustainable landscaping through the use of native plants.

A future issue of The Palmetto will have an article on biomimicry, a science that studies nature's best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. Cammie Donaldson is looking for specific examples of Florida native plant species that exhibit characteristics or behaviors that could/would/did serve as models for solutions to human problems. Example: Caesarweed (Urena lobata) demonstrates how the seeds travel by sticking to animal fur -- an excellent model for the Velcro product (the nativity of Caesar weed is disputed, but this is used to illustrate the concept). Ideally, you will send Cammie the name of a Florida native plant species, a brief description (one paragraph) of its special characteristic or behavior and how this could/would/did serve as a solution model to a human problem, and a picture of the plant. Deadline: December 15, 2001. Please do not send animal or non-native plant examples. Cameron Donaldson, Editor, The Palmetto, FNPS. Ph: 321-951-2210, fax: 321-951-1941; email: cammiedonaldson@earthlink.net

| To top of Page |


Gifford Arboretum Annual Picnic and Plant Sale, Sunday, November 18, 11:30 AM — 4 PM. Horticultural tips for growing palms (with De Hull), palm auction, free barbeque picnic by the International Palm Society of South Florida. Refreshments, arboretum tours and plant sale by the Friends of the Gifford Arboretum. (See and buy some natives!) For more information, call Carol Horvitz, 305-284-5364.

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr. 305-666-5111. Nov 20 meeting: Larry Manfredi speaks on the exotic birds of South Florida at 8pm, social at 7:30. Free and open to the public. Plant walk led by Rick Cohen (please make reservations at 305-666-5111): Nov. 18, Deering Estate at Cutler, emphasizing the botanical and geological features. Botanical Garden at Tropical Audubon: tour this native plant garden, 9 a.m. to noon on Nov. 18 and Dec. 30. FREE. Call 305-666-8074.

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management workdays, 9AM-noon. Call 305-257-0904. Dec. 1: Big George Hammock, SW 141 St at approximately 149 Ave.; Dec 8: Little George Hammock, Country Walk Drive at approximately SW 150 Ave. (and see the article about these hammocks in this newsletter!).

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: Nov. 20 — Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family); Dec. 18 -- the festive Gymnosperms, Poinsettias, and Ilex (hollies).

The Nature Conservancy of the Florida Keys Cleansweep workdays: North Key Largo, Dec. 1. Help us "Get The Lead Out!" — Lead tree, the invasive exotic pest, that is. Join Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, FAVOR, and other Nature Conservancy volunteers for Right-Of-Way Day on Card Sound Road/905! Curry Hammock State Park, January 5. Curry Hammock State Park is the largest uninhabited natural habitat between Key Largo and Big Pine Key, and home to the Keys Raptor Migration Project. Pitch in to pitch out Brazilian pepper and Lead tree, then play at the exotics free beach! Contact Alison Higgins (305-745-8402 ext.111 or ahiggins@tnc.org)

Joewood needs a new home. Chris Migliaccio has a twenty five year old joewood (Jacquinia keyensis) that must be moved. Make a donation of $100 to the Dade Chapter of FNPS and it's yours! Tree is growing vigorously in full sun in deep marl and is 6' wide by 3' tall with a 4" trunk diameter at the base. It was "sculpted" by Hurricane Andrew into an interesting shape. Root prune over 6 weeks and move it into a large tub or sunny spot in your garden. First come, first served. Contact Chris at 305-237-3269 or cmigliac@mdcc.edu to arrange a "viewing".

Support for Street Tree Resolution. A Comprehensive Street Tree Master Plan resolution was passed on June 5 by the County Commission. The intent of the resolution is to encourage the use of a greater number and variety of native trees as street trees in addition to the large number of non-natives which have been used for many years. If you agree with this resolution, please let your county commissioner know how you feel -- public support is vital even after passage of any resolution. Contact information for the commissioners is in the phone book or at http://www.co.miami-dade.fl.us/commiss/ Read the resolution at http://www.co.miami-dade.fl.us/govaction/matter.asp?matter=011403

| To top of Page |


by George Gann

[Editor's note: The following article was contributed at my request by George Gann. What better voice to tell us our history than that of a participant? Please let me know if you have interesting information or a story about our local natural history or native plant pioneers from "the old days".]

In early 1979, while visiting a hammock located near one of my father's tomato fields in west Kendall, I noticed a handsome terrestrial orchid in bloom. The flowers were dark red, while the basal leaves were dark green, thick, and wide. I realized that I did not recognize this species. At the time, my parents and I attended the Dade County Native Plant Workshop, then held at Castellow Hammock Environmental Education Center in Redland. I contacted George Avery and Roger Hammer, co-chairs of the Workshop, to see if they wanted to take a look at the orchid and botanize in the hammock.

On March 15, 1979, a few days after my 18th birthday, George, Roger, and I visited the hammock with Greg Webster, a friend and native plant enthusiast. Avery compiled a plant list that included the unknown orchid, which was identified as leafy beaked ladys-tresses (Spiranthes lanceolata var. paludicola). To our knowledge, this was the first time that this South Florida endemic had been observed outside of the Fakahatchee Strand. After conducting historical research, Avery concluded that this hammock was unnamed, and named the hammock Little George Gann Hammock, because I was the first person known to botanize there. This followed in the historical tradition when hammocks were named for Liguus tree snail collectors, botanists, and others who discovered or frequented hammocks throughout South Florida.

The year before, I had discovered another rare orchid in a hammock nearby called White Lightning Hammock. This orchid was tall neottia (Spiranthes elata), which had previously been collected in Florida only two times before (Luer, 1972). Avery identified the orchid, and collected a herbarium specimen that was deposited at Fairchild Tropical Garden. The last time this species had been collected was in 1961 in a hammock near Cutler. Unfortunately, tall neottia was observed at White Lightning Hammock only during the years 1978 through 1980, and it now appears to be extirpated in South Florida. Both hammocks are interesting in that they are more akin to the prairie hammocks that grow on the edges of the Everglades, rather than to the rockland hammocks typical of the Miami Rock Ridge. Live oak (Quercus virginiana) and strangler fig (Ficus aurea) dominate the canopy, and temperate species such as sugarberry (Celtis laevigata) and red mulberry (Morus rubra) are also present.

In subsequent years, the two hammocks were considered for acquisition by the Florida Conservation and Recreational Lands (CARL) fund. Avery, one of the most important botanists to work in South Florida, had passed away in 1983. Lisbeth Britt, a biologist with the Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management, suggested naming the CARL project Big and Little George Hammocks, and renamed Little George Gann Hammock as Little George Hammock and White Lighting Hammock as Big George Hammock, the latter in honor of George Avery. While the hammock sizes match this new description, Avery had named Little George Gann Hammock little because I was young, not because I was smaller than he was. He had no way of knowing that one of these hammocks later would be named in his honor.

In retrospect, this story highlights how important a mentor George Avery was to so many of us in South Florida. Humble, knowledgeable, hard working, and meticulous, Avery embodied all that is good in South Florida botany. I think that the simple act of his recognizing the contribution of a high school student (me) was one of the significant moments in my life, and helped propel me toward a career dedicated to the conservation and restoration of native plants and native plant communities in South Florida. I only hope that I will do as well for others as George Avery did for me.

George D. Gann, Executive Director, The Institute for Regional Conservation

References: Luer, C.A. 1972. The native orchids of Florida. The New York Botanical Garden. New York.

| To top of Page |


The Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association (FNGA), in cooperation with the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC), is urging Florida's nursery and landscape industry professionals to phase out production, sale and use of 34 plants that are invasive in natural areas (in addition to the voluntary ban on 11 plants announced in 1999).

The 34 species agreed upon are:

Adenanthera pavonina

red sandalwood

Agave sisalana

sisal hemp

Aleurites fordii

tung oil tree

Alstonia macrophylla


Alternanthera philoxeroides

alligator weed (Prohibited by DEP)

Anredera leptostachya

Madeira vine

Aristolochia littoralis

calico flower

Broussonetia papyrifera

paper mulberry

Callisia fragrans

inch plant

Casuarina cunninghamiana

Australian pine (Prohibited by DEP)

Cereus undatus

night-blooming Cereus

Dalbergia sissoo

Indian rosewood

Enterolobium contortisliquum

ear-pod tree

Flacourtia indica

governor's plum

Flueggea virosa

Chinese waterberry

Hiptage benghalensis


Leucaena leucocephala

lead tree

Melinis minutiflora

molasses grass

Merremia tuberosa


Myriophyllum spicatum

Eurasian watermilfoil (Prohibited by DEP)

Ochrosia parviflora


Oeceoclades maculata

lawn orchid

Passiflora foetida

stinking passion vine

Pteris vittata

Chinese brake fern

Rhynchelytrum repens

Natal grass

Ricinus communis

castor bean

Sesbania punicea

purple sesban

Solanum diphyllum

2-leaf nightshade

Solanum jamaicense

Jamaica nightshade

Syszygium jambos


Terminalia catappa

Tropical almond

Tribulus cistoides


Triphasia trifoliata


Urena lobata

Caesar's weed

The 11 plants originally agreed upon by the group as invasive are:

Albizia lebbeck

Woman's tongue

Bauhinia variegata

Orchid tree

Bischofia javanica


Cupaniopsis anacardioides

Carrotwood (Prohibited by FDACS)

Macfadyena unguis-cati

Cat's claw vine

Melia azedarach


Nephrolepis cordifolia

Sword fern

Psidium guajava


Rhoeo spathacea

Oyster plant large variety

Syzgium cumini

Java plum; jambolan

Thespesia populnea

Seaside mahoe

| To top of Page |


Evidence of native plant gardening from Key West somewhere between 1838-1853, as seen on a herbarium specimen of gumbo limbo, Bursera simaruba, collected by John Loomis Blodgett now deposited at the New York Botanical Garden: "Large tree with a spreading open top - smooth reddish bark and resinous juice - very tenacious of life - the trunks of full grown trees when planted in the ground at any season of the year are sure to take root - nor is it of much consequence which end of the trunk is inserted in the ground - On account of this property it is in general use in Key West for fencing post becoming a tree. Dioecious - leaves deciduous in the winter. All places. (Gum elemi). Key West."

-- Keith Bradley, Research Biologist. Institute for Regional Conservation

| To top of Page |

ANIMALS FEAST ON POISON IVY: What is Poisonous to Humans Makes a Delicious Meal for 61 Birds and Mammals

by Kay Packard, Habitat Volunteer

Reprinted with permission from the Georgia Wildlife Federation, and National Wildlife Federation (www.nwf.org)

What's for dinner? How about some poison ivy? Really! Did you know that 61 (SIXTY-ONE!) species of birds and mammals find this plant a delicacy? For some creatures, such as the flicker and the pocket mouse, it forms up to 25% of their diet, primarily in winter.

An interesting fact is that flickers and other members of the woodpecker family who love to eat ants also love to eat poison ivy seeds. Perhaps the formic acid in ants is similar to the poison in these plants.

Game birds such as grouse, pheasant, bobwhite quail and especially our own wild turkey use poison ivy seeds a part of their diet. Bluebirds, catbirds, chickadees, finches, mockingbirds, towhees and Carolina wrens join a long list of songbirds who take delight in feasting on these seeds.

Black bear, muskrats and some rabbits feed on the leaves, stems and seeds, as does the wood rat. Out west, the mule deer forage poison ivy's foliage and twigs. Down home on the farm, horses and cattle graze on poison ivy -- and of course the goat, but we know he'll eat anything!

It would be nice to know what makes these creatures immune to something that is such a scourge to us humans. Until we know the answer, it gives us consolation to know that poison ivy is beneficial to so many others.

| To top of Page |


A pair of articles on the flora of Collier County appeared earlier this year in Florida Scientist, the communications journal of our own Florida Academy of Sciences. The journal is published quarterly and presents information on many scientific fields including botany and conservation. If you are interested in supporting science in Florida, membership and the journal are available from the Executive Secretary, Florida Academy of Sciences, Orlando Science Center, 777 East Princeton St., Orlando, FL 32803 for an annual membership fee of $45.00.

Two articles by Martin B. Main and Michael J Barry report on studies in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge adjacent to SR 29 in the Big Cypress Basin of Collier County. In the first, they prepared a list with 186 species of herbs, 74 species of graminoids and 34 species of shrubs in pine flatwoods and wet prairie habitats and report on the per cent cover and the frequency of occurrence of plants prior to and after prescribed burns. The second article comments on the 122 species of exotics found in the preserve. Most of the exotics are associated with disturbance areas such as old houses, roads, canals and spoil areas. Most are graminoids followed by legumes. Unfortunately 18% are highly invasive species requiring costly control efforts to keep them in check.

— Marty Roessler

| To top of Page |


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/

FNPS Eco Action Alert List: send email request to info@fnps.org

FNPS (state) phone: 561-462-0000

Tillandsia editors:

Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com

Co-editor: VACANT — please apply

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. Advertising rates from $10/month.

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

| To top of Page |

Past Online Newsletters