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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May 2002

In This Issue

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY
UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS (DADE)
ACTIVITIES-AT-A-GLANCE
ACTIVITIES IN THE KEYS
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK WORKDAY
CHAPTER NEWS
FNPS WORKSHOPS — FOR EVERYONE
OTHER EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
BROWARD NATIVE PLANT WORKSHOP DEBUTS
FNPS DESIGN WITH NATIVES AWARDS
THE DEERING ESTATE AT CUTLER ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION
BEAR CUT PRESERVE, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS BISCAYNE NATURE CENTER
MIAMI-DADE "ADOPT A TREE" PROGRAM
NATIVE PLANT QUIZ by Don Keller
KEY CONTACTS FOR DCFNPS

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY

Tuesday, May 28, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.

Rare Plants of South Florida — Keith Bradley, Institute for Regional Conservation.

Keith will be discussing species that The Institute for Regional Conservation, after seven years of research, have found to be the most critically imperiled plant species south of Lake Okeechobee. Photographs of many of the species will be shown, and the history and conservation status of each species will be discussed.

Keith grew up in Dade County, has worked with IRC since 1996, and has been botanizing here for over ten years. He served as chapter president for three years and was co-chair of the 2000 FNPS state conference.

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Carol Farber (drinks and ice); and Donna Rich and Robin Just (snacks). Additions to the refreshment or plant raffle table are always appreciated.

At this meeting we plan to sell some donated plants that will not hold until the next sale (too many to put in the raffle). Bring your wallet! (Many thanks to Gwen Burzycki and John Tomczak.)

Upcoming meetings. June 25: Annual Summer Solstice Evening Yard Visit and Social. Instead of a formal meeting, we will gather at the homes of chapter members (most likely in South Miami) to tour their gardens and visit with each other. Details in the June Tillandsia. (Note: The June meeting is for FNPS members and their invited guests only.) July 23: "Combining Fruit Trees and Natives in the Home Landscape" — Richard Campbell, Senior Curator of Tropical Fruit and Head of the Tropical Fruit Program at Fairchild Gardens.

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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! Call Patty for more information or carpooling (from Dade). If the weather is very bad, call to confirm before leaving home.

Saturday, May 18: Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (Broward Co.). We’ll explore a coastal hardwood hammock and look for rare beach plants including beach jacquemontia, which we helped survey in 1990.

Sunday, June 23: Canoeing in North Dade. We will paddle the Oleta River to East East Greynolds (yes, two "Easts") to botanize and examine Tequesta artifacts in an island hammock. An easy paddle along mangroves also offers good birding. This is in an urban area with possible noisy boat traffic nearby, but it is also scenic, one of the last places in Dade county to canoe in a flowing river, and one of the few natural areas in North Dade.

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ACTIVITIES-AT-A-GLANCE

May

June

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ACTIVITIES IN THE KEYS

Note: All Dade Chapter members are welcome at all chapter activities. For more information, please contact Lisa Gordon (email ledzep@keysconnection.com or Jim Duquesnel (305-451-1202 at John Pennekamp State Park or email jandj.Duquesnel@mindspring.com). Leave your name, phone/fax number, or email address.

Next meeting: Thursday, May 16 in Key West. Rob Campbell, Grower for Plant Creations Nursery an Landscaping in Homestead, will speak on "Propagating native plants in the Florida Keys". The meeting will be at the Holiday Inn Beachside, with a pre-meeting tour at the KW Botanical Garden. You can stay overnight at the hotel with a special rate. Details below.

6 p.m.: Tour of KW Botanical Garden on Stock Island. Directions to the garden: (going south): At MM 4.1 (after Boca Chica bridge), look for a golf course on right. At light: Jr. College Road, make right hand turn. You will see county buildings on right. Go about 500 yards and look for Aguero Circle. Make right on Aguero Circle and follow road to the rear. Garden entrance is clearly marked. There are also signs on US1 and at Aguero Circle.

7 p.m.: Plant Identification session. Bring a cutting of your "mystery" plants, preferably with several leaves and with fruits and or flowers.

7:30 p.m.: Announcements and program. Refreshments and native plant raffle follow the program. Bring a native plant for the raffle and get a free raffle ticket.

A life spent growing South Florida plants makes Rob Campbell more than qualified to speak on the subject. His February 2001 FNPS presentation in Key Largo was deemed one of the best we have ever had, so it's about time we got him down to the lower Keys. Whether your questions are about seed preparation and germination, or fertilization and irrigation, Rob is sure to have tried, or at least seen, almost every imaginable approach.

Directions to Holiday Inn: Go south on US1 until the first intersection in KW, continue right and the Holiday Inn is on that corner, entrance right around bend, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd. Overnight accommodations: call the hotel at 305-294-2571 and ask for the $80 rate for the Florida Native Plant Society meeting. A certified arborist class will be held the next day in Key West with a test on Saturday. Call Cynthia Snell (305-292-8157).

Field trip: Saturday, May 18, Long Key State Park canoeing. Take a "mostly pretty easy" paddle to Long Key Point. See Middle Keys oceanfront /coastal strand vegetation, including buccaneer palms in a native plant habitat conservation project. Explore and eat lunch on a sandy beach before the paddle home. Note: Field trips are for FNPS members and their guests.

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EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK WORKDAY

SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 9 to NOON — ALL HANDS NEEDED

We will kick off the rainy season with a major planting at our Everglades National Park Coe Visitors Center landscaping project. Please contact Carrie (305-661-9023) or Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com) if you can come. This date is slightly tentative, so be sure to reconfirm before you come.

We will be planting trees and shrubs and spreading mulch in the "hammock" areas near the Visitor Center. Bring shovels, picks or other digging tools, wheel barrows, gloves, sun protection. Snacks and drinks provided. The digging is easier than at home (not on rock), but we hope to have a lot to plant, so bring tools and sturdy friends. Volunteers of lesser strength will be needed for watering, spreading mulch and weeding -- we need everyone.

By the way, the landscaping looks great after a full year of work and a very productive workday in April. The pond margin is bright with flowers and the baby pines planted last summer are robust and ready to take off. Thanks to all who have helped!

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CHAPTER NEWS

March and April were a busy time for the chapter. Besides monthly meetings and field trips in both Dade and the Keys, we hosted Native Plant Day, held a workday at Everglades National Park, participated in Earth Day at MetroZoo and Books and Books, sold plants in the Fairchild spring plant sale, and assisted at a workday at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Nature Center. Several members also attended the FNPS state conference (including two speakers). John Tomczak of Envirodesign brought a whole truck-load of plants for the MetroZoo display and donated all to the chapter. Thanks to all the volunteers and plant vendors who made these events happen or represented our chapter. We could have done even more (there is hardly a day without environmental events in the spring), but the volunteer pool was tired.

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FNPS WORKSHOPS — FOR EVERYONE

FNPS Education Committee, under the guidance of Chairwoman Maria Minno, is organizing two great workshops -- opportunities to learn about natural Florida or enhancing the organization’s effectiveness, to meet fellow FNPS members from all over the state, and to get away from it all for a weekend. Contact Maria (352-375-3028 or minno@gator.net) with questions and suggestions.

July 26-28: A retreat for all chapter and state officers and officer wanna-be's. "Untying the Not's" will feature speakers on environmental advocacy and mini-workshops on maximizing our talent & resources. We are still looking for a facility with natural area for hiking during breaks, inexpensive onsite/nearby sleeping accommodations (tent/cabin), kitchen for cooking delicious meals to feed you with, and meeting space of course.

November 8-10: natural history workshop at Welaka State Forest. See swamp forest, pine flatwoods, and sandhill habitats. Three days/two nights of nature immersion with some of Florida's best naturalists. Meals & bunks provided. More info later.

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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. Study of plant ID and taxonomy. Call Steve Woodmansee (305-247-6547) or Roger Hammer (305-242-7688). May 21 topic: the Cyperaceae (Sedges). You can prepare in advance since sedges preserve well when pressed (or even just placed in newspapers). If you can, please bring in fertile specimens (that is with mature seeds). Some sedges have vegetative characteristics that enable identification, but many can't be identified without achenes. This should be an exciting workshop. Also, see the announcement below about the formation of Broward Native Plant Workshop. This may be more convenient for North Dade residents.

Tropical Audubon Society activities. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr. 305-666-5111 on the web at tropicalaudubon.org, May 21: monthly meeting. Chuck McCartney will present a program on wildflowers. June 8-9: Native plant sale, 9a.m.-5 p.m.

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BROWARD NATIVE PLANT WORKSHOP DEBUTS

A monthly workshop for the serious but enjoyable study of native plants debuts on Wednesday May 15 at 7:30 on the Davie campus main building of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), in the botany lab, room 317. We expect to meet every third Wednesday of the month. Address: 2912 College Avenue, Davie. Look for a large brick building on the north side of the Broward Community College (BBC) campus across (south) from the UF- IFAS research center and the Broward County Cooperative Education Division Extension Service building on College Avenue. The FAU building sits back from College Avenue but is easily seen across the parking lots. Park in the lots northwest of the building (except faculty slots) or in the UF-IFAS lot across College Avenue.

The Broward Native Plant Workshop will be patterned after the highly successful Native Plant Workshop in Dade County, which has met for about fifty years. The focus will be on the identification of native plants and will involve the examination and discussion of morphological characters, use of technical botanical keys, published floras and other literature, herbarium specimens, and the assistance of knowledgeable people in attendance.

Meetings will have themes, such as a particular plant family or plants of particular habitat. The first meeting’s theme is plants of the seashore, with Chuck McCartney at the lead. Please bring three plants related to the theme, particularly those found to be vexing or otherwise interesting. More plants, plants outside the evening’s theme, and even mysterious non-native species will be studied, time permitting. Also bring your own reference material, such as Richard Wunderlin’s Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida, etc. Workshops will probably last 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The workshop is free and open to the public.

For more information please contact:

Bob Pemberton bobpem@eemail.com, (954) 475-0541 ext. 106

Chuck McCartney CMcCartney@herald.com, (954) 922-9747

Jack Lange johnp914@aol.com, (954) 583-0283

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FNPS DESIGN WITH NATIVES AWARDS

For the next few months, the winners of the 2002 FNPS Landscape Awards will be featured. Miami-Dade Park’s Natural Areas Management Division won 1st place in ecosystem restoration. Marjory Stoneman Douglas Nature Center was awarded 2nd place for restoration and interpretive trails at Bear Cut Preserve (part of a larger restoration of Bear Cut Preserve by Dade County Parks Natural Areas Management and Dade County DERM). The articles below are from the applications submitted by Linda McDonald for the Deering Estate restoration and Chris Landsea for the MSD Nature Center. Both Linda and Chris are DCFNPS members.

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THE DEERING ESTATE AT CUTLER ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION

The Deering Estate at Cutler is a 458 acre property located on Biscayne Bay managed by the Miami-Dade Park & Recreation Department. This protected natural area park contains a wealth of biological, historical, archaeological and architectural resources unequaled in Dade County and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Deering Estate has six biotic communities including the globally imperiled pine rockland, rockland hammock, bottomland forest, marine tidal swamp and marsh, barrier island with beach dune and submerged benthic communities (soft bottom, hard bottom, and sea grass beds). It is one of the few remaining places in Dade County where such communities have ecotonal connections to each other. In addition to the Federally endangered American crocodile and West Indian Manatee, there are 25 birds, 4 butterflies, 3 fish, 3 snails and 1 snake as well as 62 plants known to occur in the natural areas at Deering that are listed federally or by Florida as endangered, threatened or commercially exploited.

The Estate has undergone major renovation following Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to restore severely damaged historic structures and natural habitats. The Natural Areas Management (NAM) Division is responsible for restoration and management of the native plant communities. After Hurricane Andrew, exotic control efforts in the 142-acre tropical hardwood hammock were intensified. The hurricane sheared off the forest canopy, allowing light and nutrients to reach the forest floor. Aggressive non-native vines responded more rapidly than native plants and quickly enveloped the remaining struggling natives. Air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera) and jasmine vines (J. fluminense, J. dichotomum) were the most problematic. Approximately 3/4 of the hammock had 50-75% coverage of non-natives. Most of the hammock is currently in, or close to, maintenance condition, less than 1% exotic plant coverage.

Burma reed (Neyraudia reynaudiana) was overwhelming the 105 acre pine rockland forest. This shaded and crowded out sun loving pine rockland natives and added increased wildfire risk. Hurricane Andrew and the subsequent pine bark beetle infestation decimated 95% of the slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa) canopy. Intervention was critical to the rare habitat’s continued existence. Since 1995, exotics have been painstakingly removed and over 21,000 pine seedlings have been planted. The pineland is now considered to be in "maintenance" condition. A regimen of prescribed fire is being implemented to ensure the health of the pineland and coastal marsh communities.

The Estate’s mangrove forest and salt marsh became overrun with seaside mahoe (Thespesia populnea), Australian pine (Casaurina sp.), latherleaf (Colubrina asiatica) and Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthefolius). Exotic plant coverage was 10-50% but was reduced to 5% by initial treatment. Chicken Key, a seven acre bird rookery and mangrove island is one of only six naturally-occurring quartz sand islands in Biscayne Bay. During the 1930s and 1940s dredged material was pumped onto the key, destroying native plant communities and changing the topography. Invasive exotic plants colonized the island. Restoration was undertaken by Parks and Dade County’s DERM. Excess fill was removed, the dune was restored, and desirable native vegetation was planted. Miami-Dade Parks now maintains and manages the island as a preserve and bird rookery as part of the Estate.

All of this restoration was achieved through systematic labor intensive physical, manual and chemical means of exotic removal. By eliminating competition from exotics, natural areas have been able to recover naturally. Aside from portions of the pine rocklands, the intact native seed bank allowed regeneration , and planting was not necessary.

In addition to functioning as a preserve for Miami-Dade County’s natural treasures, the Deering Estate is foremost an educational facility. Historic structures were restored and a brand new Environmental Education Center and outdoor laboratory classrooms were constructed. Parks staff have partnered with other agencies and organizations to create educational and recreational programs, including an Internet-based middle school curriculum that emphasizes technology and field experience (see http://www.deeringestate.org).

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BEAR CUT PRESERVE, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS BISCAYNE NATURE CENTER

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center has helped to restore the disturbed Bear Cut Preserve (at the north end of Crandon Park in Key Biscayne) and has also implemented a limited interpretive trail system to provide access and information on natural resources to the citizens of and visitors to Miami-Dade County. This project was made possible by a $75,000 grant from the Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation Department for capital improvements and is part of a larger restoration of Bear Cut Preserve by Dade County Parks Natural Areas Management and Dade County DERM.

The Bear Cut Preserve has been degraded by human-caused fires, invasive exotic plants, and hurricanes that damaged an already weakened ecosystem. The areas of Bear Cut Preserve targeted for restoration and interpretation included the Coastal Maritime Hammock and the Back Dune/Coastal Shrub Zone. One entirely new trail, the Tequesta Hammock Trail, was created to provide a short introductory loop through the hammock, designed for visitors who desire a brief and easy walk. Three other pre-existing trails were improved and interpreted. These are the Fossil Reef Bike Trail (leading to a unique geological feature), the Bear Cut Nature Trail (through the Coastal Maritime Hammock), and the Osprey Beach Trail (which provides a walk parallel with the dunes and shoreline). Brochures have been developed for each of the trails that focus upon the differing ecology that is present throughout the Bear Cut Preserve.

Exciting changes are clear in the Preserve. Wild Lime, one of the plants historically in the Preserve, but absent of late until this restoration, is a plant food of the magnificent Giant Swallowtail butterfly. These butterflies are currently uncommon in the Preserve. Restoration volunteers and naturalists were able to observe one of these butterflies fluttering around and laying eggs on a Wild Lime that had been planted only minutes before!

Come and explore the Bear Cut Preserve and visit the Biscayne Nature Center. To get to the Bear Cut Preserve, take Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne and enter Crandon Park at the North Beach entrance. For more information about programs at the Biscayne Nature Center call 305-361-6767 or visit the website at http://www.biscaynenaturecenter.org/.

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MIAMI-DADE "ADOPT A TREE" PROGRAM

The Adopt a Tree program is an urban tree canopy replacement for private residential properties in Miami-Dade County funded by the State Department of Agriculture and administered by Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM). This program allows private landowners in Miami-Dade to "adopt" two trees from a variety of non-invasive fruit and shade trees to plant in their yards to aid in restoring the canopy of Miami-Dade County. DERM will mail out flyers (in English/ Spanish/ Creole and info for disabled and elderly) to households affected by citrus canker near the event location, but the event is open to any Miami-Dade residential property owner. Information is available at http://www.co.miami-dade.fl.us/adoptatree or via a trilingual event phone number (305-372-6555), or e-mail adoptatree@miamidade.gov.

Participants will register with some form of ID and are required to visit education stations where they will learn how to plant and care for trees. Each household may select two trees from two fruit, one native, and one flowering tree species (as available). DERM is working with a community-based organization to provide planting services for elderly or physically challenged people.

Events are 9 a.m. to noon except as noted but close early if trees run out. The tentative schedule for the major events this year is: May 18 (2-6 pm), A.D. Barnes Park, 3401 SW 72 Ave.; June 8, North Miami Stadium, 2155 NE 151 St.; July 6, tentatively Coral Gables Youth Center; July 27, tentatively Miami Springs Recreation Center; August 17, tentatively North Dade Library; September 14, Central-West Miami-Dade; October 5, Northeastern Miami-Dade; October 26, South Miami-Dade.

DCFNPS members are invited to assist with the tree questions booth. Bilingual help is especially needed as well as any volunteers able to pass out or carry trees, to escort people to education stations, or for crowd control. DERM offers community service hours for students as well.

DERM is also working on other distribution opportunities with businesses, other County agencies and community events. If you have any comments or questions, please contact Joy Klein at (305-372-6586) or email kleinj@miamidade.gov or adoptatree@miamidade.gov.

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NATIVE PLANT QUIZ by Don Keller

Q: What Florida native plant originally provided the flower for sarsaparilla soda pop?
A: The roots of greenbriers (Smilax spp.). The strong fibers of the stems of this plant were used by the Vikings to lash the planks to the frame of their boats — no nails were used.
Q: What group of Florida native plants provides the largest number of species of critters with food?
A: The many species of oak trees in the U.S provide food for 96 animal species from bears and deer to tiny songbirds and mice.
Q: What common south Florida plant has no leaves?
A: Cactus (except Pereskia genus). What appears to be leaves are really cladophylls, flattened stems that function as leaves.
Q: What common green vascular plant has neither roots nor leaves?
A: The wisk fern, Psilotum nudum, consists of stems only — with a few rhizoids to absorb water. It is the oldest known plant on earth today.
Q: What useful commercial product was once obtained from red mangrove trees?
A: Tannin, a substance used to tan leather. The Manetta Company cleared the red mangroves from the Miami River and Miami Beach. They then started to clear them from the Shark River (in ENP) but a series of hurricanes wiped out the enterprise.
Q: Are red mangrove trees really "land builders" as they are often reputed to be?
A: Red mangroves in South Florida are marching inland, not seaward. They are being washed away on the seaward side while marching inland. Three quarters of what is Florida Bay was once mangrove forest. This phenomenon is probably due to the rising seas.
Q: What Florida native tree ranges the farthest north in the U.S.?
A: The red maple grows in the eastern U.S. all the way to Canada.
Q: What Florida native plant has the longest north-south range of any plant on earth?
A: Tillandsia fasiculata ranges from Georgia to southern Argentina.
Q: What south Florida native tree has become as outrageous pest in Australia?
A: The pond apple tree has invaded riverine areas in northern Australia much as the melaleuca has invaded our wetlands.

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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: Jerry Russo

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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