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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February 2002

In This Issue



Tuesday, February 26, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.

Joyce and Don Gann will discuss questions they encountered over the years as growers and sellers of native plants — and hopefully provide helpful answers. Write down and bring your own questions about native plant choice, horticulture, care, propagation -- anything. The Ganns are natives of Homestead where Don was a tomato farmer and Joyce a naturalist at Castellow Hammock Park before they started Gann’s Native Tropical Greenery Nursery in 1975, retiring 2 years ago.

We also welcome Ray Miller, the current state president of FNPS, who is coming from Palm Beach County especially to talk about the activities and goals of the state organization and how you can contribute. Bring your questions and suggestions.

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Manny Pomares (drinks and ice); and Susan Walcutt, Alice Lingswiler and Marge Brown (snacks). Additions to the refreshment or plant raffle table are always appreciated.

Upcoming meeting: March 26. Dr. Evelyn Gaiser of FIU will speak about periphyton in the Everglades.

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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!

Sunday, February 24: Snake Bight Trail and the Flamingo area, Everglades National Park. Last winter we walked the Coastal Prairie Trail. This year we’ll check out some of the other trails in the area and the stunning improvement from Brazilian pepper removal work in the Flamingo area.

Saturday, March 30: Tamiami Pineland Preserve in SW Miami-Dade.

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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, or Lisa Gordon (email ledzep@keysconnection.com).

Tuesday, February 12: Monthly meeting at the Islamorada Library with the Florida Keys Audubon Society. Florida Park Service Biologist Janice Duquesnel will present "Saving the Mahogany Mistletoe and Other Keys Rarities". 7:00: Plant ID; 7:30: announcements and program; followed by refreshments and native plant raffle. Bring a plant or snack and receive free raffle tickets.

Most of our state parks in the Keys hold rare plants: Semaphore cactus, Cuban clustervine, mahogany mistletoe and tree cactus ... to name a few. Janice will tell us about the Park Service's efforts to preserve Florida's plant diversity, and of the assistance provided by partners such as Fairchild Tropical Gardens and the Institute for Regional Conservation. Satellite-assisted morning-glory inventories, match-making for lonely female satinwoods, climbing mahoganies to act as seed-disperser for vanishing mistletoes, and monitoring the pedigrees of cactus will all be featured.

Saturday, February 16: Field trip to Key Largo Hammocks State Park. We will carpool to other locations to see Keys specialties in one of the oldest and most mature hammock parcels remaining. [For members and their guests.]

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Mark your calendars now to volunteer for, attend, or send your neighbors to Native Plant Day on March 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. This is our chapter’s annual public event where plant enthusiasts can learn about natives for their own gardens and in natural areas, while enjoying a day in the park -- for free. The event is will again be at Castellow Hammock Park, 22301 SW 162 Avenue, and is cosponsored by Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department. Please start spreading the word to your workplace and neighborhood.

Visit the Native Plant Day website for more details: http://www.fnps.org/dade/NativePlantDay/

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Saturday, February 9, 9 AM-noon: Everglades National Park Visitors Center landscaping project. Please contact Carrie (305-661-9023) or Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com) if you can come. We will plant a little, weeding (as usual!), place more rocks, and start preparing the area to plant new hammock trees and shrubs in the spring. Bring shovels, digging tools, pruning tools, gloves, sun protection. Snacks provided. It’s a great time of year to be in the park, so please come help -- and see how nicely our project is progressing.

Saturday, April 6, 9 AM-noon: Bear Cut Preserve on Key Biscayne. More details in the March Tillandsia.

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The FNPS State conference will be help in Tallahassee, March 21-24. Four days of fields trips, programs, workshops, new places, new friends — and as different as you can get from Miami in Florida. If you have not received a registration packet, please call the state FNPS or visit the FNPS web site.

Fairchild Tropical Garden classes. Feb 15: Truly Natives — Back to the Natural (instr. Gwladys Scott). Walk in FTG’s natural areas to learn about natives, ecology and landscape use. Feb. 20-Mar 13: Tropical Garden Design (instr. Mary Ruden). Call 305-667-1651, ext. 3322 with credit card ready.

2002 Gifford Arboretum Lecture, March 7: "Zamias and chiguas in Columbia: a tale of exploration, the forest, the people and the war" by Alvaro Calonje. 7 PM at the Cox Science Center, University of Miami. Phone 305-284-5364 or visit http://fig.cox.miami.edu/Arboretum/gifford.html

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr. 305-666-5111. February 19 meeting: George Marks of the Florida Bat Center will speak about Florida’s bats. Program at 8pm, social at 7:30. Free and open to the public. Sunday, Feb. 17 and March 17, 9 a.m. to noon - Free tour of the Botanical Garden at the Tropical Audubon Society. Call 305 666-8074 for more information. www.tropicalaudubon.org Sunday, Feb. 17 — Fakahatchee Strand Field Trip. Call 305-666-5111 for reservations. March 23-24: Native plant sale, 9 AM-5 PM.

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management workdays, 9AM-noon. Call 305-257-0904. Feb. 9, Mar. 2 — SPUDBUSTING at Kendall Indian Hammock Park (11345 SW 79 St. — off SW 107 or 117 Ave., north of Kendall ). Mar. 9 — Whispering Pines Hammock (SW 185 Terr. and 88 St.).

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 plant ID and taxonomy. Call Steve Woodmansee (305-247-6547) or Roger Hammer (305-242-7688). Feb. 19 topic: the Moraceae (Mulberry family), plus lawnweeds and "sidewalk plants".

The Nature Conservancy of the Florida Keys Cleansweep workdays: March 2 — Key West Botanical Gardens. Help weed out invasive exotics in this lush garden. Contact Alison Higgins (305-745-8402 ext.111 or ahiggins@tnc.org

Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park 11th Annual Lecture Series: Feb 6, The Care and Repair of Keys Trees — Way Hoyt, arborist; Feb. 13, Beyond the Lure of Shipwrecks: the Archeology of the Florida Keys, Bob Carr, Archeologist; and others through March 6. Call 305-451-1202. 7:30 at John Pennekamp State Park. Arrive by 7 PM to be assured admission.

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Before west Kendall was settled, the natural landscape consisted of marshes, pine forests and hammocks. Snapper Creek, now a canal, was a broad wetland, a "finger glade" that connected the Everglades system to Biscayne Bay. The corner of Sunset Drive and SW 107th Avenue is located in the center of the former glade. The Snapper Creek glade was one of the few in Miami-Dade County that was graced with stands of cypress trees. Pine islands occurred to the south and east of this location. Broadleaf "hammock" forests existed on the edges of the pine islands. The Tequesta Indians used these hammocks for temporary camps during their hunting and fishing excursions into the Everglades.

Kendall Indian Hammocks Park located at 11395 SW 79 St. sits on the edge of the Snapper Creek glade. More than 50 acres of native hammock forest inhabit the park. Live oaks and sabal palms are the dominant trees of the hammock. Red mulberry and hackberry are also present but less common. Interestingly, aerial photographs of the park taken in 1938 show only three small, distinct areas of hammock. The majority of the present-day forest inside the Park has grown since then! Thus Kendall Indian Hammocks is a great example of the process of succession — the change in communities of vegetation.

Unfortunately, not all the changes have been for the good. Kendall Indian Hammocks has also been invaded by non-native ("exotic") plants. Exotic plants pose a serious threat to native hammock forests. They disrupt natural processes of forest growth and storm recovery. Exotic vines are considered the greatest threat to hammocks. Vines choke the native tree seedlings and saplings, making the forest incapable of growing back naturally. Air potato, an aggressive exotic vine, is a tremendous problem at Kendall Indian Hammocks. In addition, exotic trees such as Brazilian pepper and shoebutton ardisia are also crowding native species.

Kendall Indian Hammocks Park needs your help! Community volunteer groups can adopt restoration plots in the hammock. It will take several years of dedicated effort to accomplish the job! Workdays will be scheduled to tackle various restoration goals.

In the first year, we will attack the air potato problem. Timing of treatment is critical. Air potato vines grow furiously during the wet season, producing thousands of "bulbils," seeds that look just like potatoes. In the dry season, the vines dry and the bulbils fall to the ground; each one is capable of producing a new vine in the next wet season. Our first task will be to gather all the fallen bulbils from this growing season. Get ready to crawl on your hands and knees! Many of the bulbils are tiny -- smaller than a dime in size. They can be hard to spot hidden among the leaves. As the wet season approaches, fallen bulbils and underground roots begin to sprout. The bulbils that were missed are easy to find. When the vines are hand pulled, the tiny bulbils come up with them. We use small spades to dig up the underground roots.

We’ll have to repeat this cycle of treatments until all the air potato is under control. But that’s not all — we’ll need to control other exotic trees and shrubs, such as Brazilian pepper, shoebutton ardisia, ear-leaf acacia, Surinam cherry. Some areas may require replanting with native hammock plants as well.

Become a SPUDBUSTER! Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management (NAM) needs groups and concerned citizens to help protect and preserve our natural heritage. Remaining workdays this season are 9 a.m. to noon on February 9 and March 2. Groups can "adopt" a hammock plot and make a long-term commitment to their very own endangered natural area. Call NAM at 305-257-0904 for more information.

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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/

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.

© 1999-2002 Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society, Inc.

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