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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June 2002

In This Issue



Tuesday, June 25, Annual Summer Solstice Evening Yard Visit and Social. NOT AT FAIRCHILD.

This meeting is for FNPS members and their guests only. Please join so that you can enjoy all the activities offered by the chapter!

What: A yard visit to a home in South Miami to see a large collection of natives, both common and uncommon, and a stroll to other native plant gardens in this shady neighborhood.

July 23 meeting: "Combining Fruit Trees and Natives in the Home Landscape" – Richard Campbell, Senior Curator of Tropical Fruit and Head of the Tropical Fruit Program, Fairchild Tropical Garden.

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

Sunday, June 23: Canoeing in North Dade. Reservations by June 20 required: Paddle the Oleta River to "East East" Greynolds to botanize and examine Tequesta artifacts in an island hammock, plus birding in the mangroves. Noisy boat traffic may pass by, but this is one of the last places in Dade county to canoe in a scenic, flowing river, and one of few natural areas in North Dade. Cost: $20 per person plus $4 parking.

Saturday, July 20: Bear Cut Preserve, Crandon Park. Botanize the dunes and hammock on north Key Biscayne.

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Note: All Dade Chapter members are welcome at all chapter activities. To receive personal notification of Keys activities or for more information, please contact Lisa Gordon (ledzep@keysconnection.com) or Jim Duquesnel (305-451-1202 or jandj.Duquesnel@mindspring.com). Leave your name, phone/fax number, or email address.

Next meeting: Monday, June 10, 7 p.m.. Alana Edwards of the North American Butterfly Association will discuss the plight of the Miami Blue and other South Florida endemic butterfly species. Location: Methodist Church, Big Pine Key, across Key Deer Boulevard from Winn Dixie.

See more about butterflies in the article below.

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Everglades National Park Coe Visitor Center landscaping project. The heat and absence of a number of our regular volunteers did not stop a hardy (and apparently sun-crazed) group of 15 from installing about 70 native plants and spreading nearly 150 bags of melaleuca mulch on June 1. It's beautiful, and the Assistant Park Superintendent said, "This was done by volunteers?", according to Ranger Alan Scott. On August 10 (slightly tentative), we will plant another crop of 100 pine tublings (which we affectionately call "pinettes"). Please save the date!

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Dade 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). June 18 topic: Polygalaceae (milkwort family).

Broward Native Plant Workshop. 3rd Wednesdays at 7:30 on the Davie campus main building of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), in the botany lab, room 317. Address: 2912 College Avenue.

Tropical Audubon Society native plant sale, June 8-9, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr. 305-666-5111, on the Web at www.tropicalaudubon.org.

The Miami-Dade Adopt-A-Tree program allows any private Miami-Dade residential landowner to "adopt" two trees from a variety of non-invasive fruit and shade trees. Information (including the species to be distributed) is available at www.co.miami-dade.fl.us/adoptatree or via a trilingual event phone number (305-372-6555), or e-mail adoptatree@miamidade.gov.

Events are 9 to noon or until trees run out. June 8, North Miami Stadium, 2155 NE 151 St.; July 6, tentatively Coral Gables Youth Center; July 27, tentatively Miami Springs Recr. Center; Aug. 17, tentatively N. Dade Library; Sept. 14, Central-West Miami-Dade; Oct. 5, Northeastern Miami-Dade; Oct. 26, South Miami-Dade.

DCFNPS members are invited to assist with the tree questions booth, passing out trees, etc. DERM also offers community service hours for students. Please contact Joy Klein at (305-372-6586) or email kleinj@miamidade.gov or adoptatree@miamidade.gov

The North American Butterfly Association's Coral Gables butterfly count will be in July. Call Bob Kelley at 305-666-9246 or e-mail Rkelley@math.miami.edu for more information.

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[Editor's note: although the Memorial Day count is past, the full text of this announcement is included. You can participate in the other surveys or anticipate next year's Memorial Day count. If possible, attend the June 10 FNPS meeting in Big Pine Key to learn more.]

Few sights are more delightful than that of a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. But, sadly, butterflies have become all too rare in the rapidly changing environment of South Florida. As a result of increased habitat fragmentation, more and more species of butterflies are becoming less and less common.

One of the species that has declined drastically in the last three decades is the beautiful and delicate Miami Blue. The Miami Blue is so rare that, last year, the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) petitioned the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have it listed as a Federally Endangered Species. This butterfly's range used to extend from the southern tip of mainland Florida through the Keys. Today, it is reduced to one small colony in the middle Keys. Other species that have greatly declined are the Florida Leafwing, Bartram's Hairstreak, Zestos Skipper and many more.

You can help NABA to learn more about the range of these rare species while learning more about the natural environment around you. NABA, a non-profit organization that promotes recreational butterflying and butterfly conservation, will launch the 1st Annual Memorial Day Butterfly Count. This new count will give butterfly enthusiasts throughout the continent an opportunity to get out and enjoy butterflies while contributing to our growing knowledge of butterfly distributions, flight times, and abundance.

In contrast to the highly organized NABA 4th of July Butterfly Count, the Memorial Day Count is free-form. All you need to do is to observe butterflies at one or more of your favorite butterflying localities (such as your own backyard) this coming Memorial Day and note what butterflies you've seen. There are no requirements regarding how much time or area you cover. Then go to the NABA web site, www.naba.org, and from there to the "Butterflies I've Seen" web pages and enter your report, filling in the location, date, and butterflies seen. More than 1 million locations are already in the system. For your own backyard, you can create a new location using the information at the site, or, perhaps more easily, you can simply use the name of the town or city in which you live -- these names have already been entered into the system.

Memorial Day Weekend will also be the "Kickoff" for an effort to learn more about the rare Miami Blue. Surveys will continue in the weeks following Memorial Day in hopes of discovering new populations of this spectacular beauty. The Miami Blue Fund has been established to help support research on this and other rare butterfly species in South Florida. If you would like more information about the Miami Blue Fund or if you'd like to participate in Miami Blue surveys, please contact Alana Edwards at 561/706-6732 or send an email to helpthemiamiblue@yahoo.com.

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Another winner of the 2002 FNPS Landscape Awards presented at the FNPS annual conference in Tallahassee in March is the City of South Miami's ecological enhancement at Fuchs Park (SW 80 Street and US1) during 2001. The project was submitted by FNPS member David Goodin, Stormwater Utility Manager for the city.

Through a South Florida Community Urban Resources Partnership (SFCURP) financial assistance grant, the City was able to remove 13 noxious exotic Australian Pine trees which had infested Fuchs Park and plant new trees native to South Florida. This has greatly improved the environmental quality and health of the park. Native wetland birds such the Great Blue Heron and Anhinga now frequent the park, a rare site in urbanized Miami.

In total, 159 native trees and plants of 44 different species were planted, including 10 endangered and threatened species. Not only are these rare trees now protected within the park, but the City was also careful to group the trees with their natural botanical associates, thereby forming recreations of botanical communities native to Miami-Dade County, such as a tropical hardwood hammock, a freshwater wetland, and a transitional maritime woodland. Besides beautifying, this impressive collection of rare and native plants is intended to provide environmental education by way of a nature trail complete with species information placards.

The ultimate goal is to have representations of all of Miami-Dade County's native botanical communities in this urban park. The topography of the park, which includes a lake, makes this achievable. Certain parts of the terrain are several feet higher than water level in the lake, making these drier areas suitable for pineland or hammock species. And, of course, the lakeshore is a perfect place to plant cypress and other wetland species. Utilizing the topography in this manner eliminates the need for supplemental irrigation or maintenance.

Already, many of the new plants have begun to become established. And with the coming rainy season, all of the new landscaping will begin to grow and flower.

Please feel free to email the City with your comments and suggestions for Park.

David K. Goodin
Stormwater Utility Manager, City of South Miami
(305) 668-7355, DGoodin@cityofsouthmiami.net

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[Editors's note: Dr. Taylor Alexander has been a teacher, mentor, colleague or friend to many members of DCFNPS and Florida's environmental community. Taylor is a charter member of DCFNPS, and while we don't see him often, we all offer our congratulations and thanks for his many contributions and inspiration to those who now mentor us in our study and love of native plants. Those who know him (or even know of him) will appreciate recalling their own interaction with him as they read the following nomination for the FNPS Mentor Award by Richard E. Roberts, Dr. Ronald Hofstetter and Dr. Thomas E. Lodge. Dick Roberts of the Florida Park Service paid tribute to Taylor at the FNPS Annual Conference awards presentations in Tallahassee in March.]

When he wasn't teaching class at the University of Miami or providing land management advice to National Parks or Florida Park Service personnel, you'd find Dr. Taylor R. Alexander in the field leading trips, working in the university's arboretum or making his yard a botanical showplace.

He's always been a voice of concern for the environment and has published some of the first, detailed descriptions of Florida's plant communities. His South Florida Ecological Study is one of this area's most comprehensive ecological evaluations. This encompassed many of the remaining wild lands south of Lake Okeechobee and concentrated on changes that had occurred from 1940 into the 1970's. This 1,080 page manuscript investigated 100, one square mile quadrants and is a valuable baseline for future research comparisons. Dr. Alexander's authorship of "Ecology", a Golden Science Guide provided many, many people with their first knowledge of the environment.

Born and raised in Arkansas, Dr. Alexander obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He then came to the University of Miami in the early 1940's to head their Botany Department. He also served as President of the Florida Academy of Sciences for 3 years.

A new graduate student was always forewarned about Dr. Alexander's field ecology class! You'd better be able to keep up with him in the field and watch out for his practical jokes. One of his favorites was getting far ahead of his class and then finding his way around some deep mud hole; he would then lure his students, one by one, into the quagmire! You always returned from a day in the field with him in a very wet condition.

We all remark about the natural wonders of Florida. However, it's the memories and knowledge of people like Dr. Alexander that cannot be replaced; he saw the Fakahatchee Strand before it was logged, took classes to the Everglades before it was a National Park and experienced our State Parks before exotic pest plants were such a huge problem.

In Taylor's own words, "The abundance of wildlife stands out in my earliest memories of the Everglades. Along the oil well road embankment (now the site of ENP's Shark River Tower), I recall apple snail shells by the thousands. Sometimes they were piled several deep, attesting to the abundance of living snails. Their predators, limpkins and snail kites, were also common and were probably responsible for most of the empty shells. Crayfish littered the marsh, and I remember how deep dry-season cracks in the muck soil along the Tamiami Trail were once filled with crayfish and hoards of young catfish in the early rainy season. Great flocks of wading birds and grackles came to feast on them. In January of 1945, a colleague and I took a short morning trip from the University across the Miami Canal to look at the Everglades north of Miami Airport in what is now southern Hialeah. There we got a view of wading birds that defied our imagination. They were flying and foraging everywhere, and I took a picture on original Kodachrome with my Argus camera. And several years later, after airboats came into regular use, I recall that abundance of tree frogs in the Everglades was a problem. The inch-long frogs would be clinging to the sawgrass and would jump just as the airboat approached. Traveling at airboat speeds, the passengers were constantly slapped by these small amphibians. Airboaters fitted their rigs with screens to prevent the problem, but by the 1970s and 80s the screens were no longer needed. Another prominent memory is the abundance of marsh hawks (northern harrier) in the Everglades. Marsh rabbits were also common; we saw them everywhere along the roads in the Everglades and assumed that the marsh hawks preyed on young rabbits. Despite my intense work throughout the Everglades in the 1970s, I never saw wildlife resembling the abundance I recall from my early days. Recent comers to South Florida can't imagine what existed then."

Without a doubt, Dr. Taylor Alexander is one of Florida's outstanding and earliest environmentalists. All of our lives have been enriched by his hard work, expertise and willingness to share his knowledge.

Taylor R. Alexander: List of publications.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1938. Carbohydrates of bean plants after treatment with Indole-3-Acetic Acid. Plant Physiology, 13: 845-58.

Alexander, T.R. 1942. Anatomical and physological responses of squash to various levels of Boron supply. Contributions from the Hull Botanical Laboratory 536. The Botanical Gazette, 103(3): 475-91.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1953. Plant succession on Key Largo, Florida, involving Pinus caribaea and Quercus virginiana. Quart. Jour. Fla. Acad. Sci., 16(3): 133-38.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1953. The largest mahogany tree. Everglades Natural History, 1(1).

Alexander, Taylor R. 1954. Paradise Key on fire. Everglades Natural History, 2(4).

Alexander, Taylor R. 1954. Trees against the sea. Everglades Natural History, 2(4).

Alexander, Taylor R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Q. Jour. Fla. Acad. Sci, 18(1): 21-7.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1958. Ecology of the Pompano Beach Hammock. Q. Journ. Fla. Acad. Sci., 21(4): 299-304.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1958. High hammock vegetation of the southern Florida mainland. Quart. Jour. Fla. Acad. Sci., 21(4): 293-8.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1958. Temperature variance in microclimates of southern Florida. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, 71: 356-8.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1964. Observations on the feeding behavior of Bufo marinus (Linne). Herpetologica, 20(4): 255-9.

Alexander, T.R. 1966. Factors involved in germination of Guaiacum sanctum L. American Society of Plant Physiologists - Southern Section, In: Proceedings - Assoc. of Southern Agricultural Workers, Inc., Plant Physiology Section. 280-1.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1966. Seed germination and seedling growth of Guaiacum sanctum, L. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, 79: 468-70.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1967. A tropical hammock on the Miami (Florida) Limestone - a twenty-five year study. Ecology. 48(5): 863-7.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1967. Effect of Hurricane Betsy on the southeastern Everglades. Quart. Jour. Fla. Acad. Sci., 30(1):10-24.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1968. Acacia choriophylla, a tree new to Florida. Quart. Jour. Fla. Acad. Sci., 31(3): 197-8.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1971. Sawgrass biology related to the future of the Everglades ecosystem. Soil and Crop Science Society of Florida Proceedings, 31: 72-4.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1974. Schizaea germanii rediscovered in Florida. American Fern Journal, 64.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1974. Evidence of recent sea level rise derived from ecological studies on Key Largo, Florida. In P. J. Gleason (editor). Environments of South Florida: Present and Past. Memoir 2, Miami Geological Society, Miami, Florida.

Alexander, Taylor R. 1975. Four alien plants no longer welcome. Museum 7(5): 5-8.

Alexander, Taylor R. and Alan G. Crook. 1973. Recent and long-term vegetation changes and patterns in South Florida. Final Report, Part 1. Mimeo Rep. (EVER-N-51). U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 215 p., NTIS No. PB 231939.

Alexander, Taylor R. and Alan G. Crook. 1974. Recent vegetational changes in southern Florida. In P. J. Gleason (editor). Environments of South Florida: Present and Past. Memoir 2, Miami Geological Society, Miami, Florida.

Alexander, Taylor R. and Alan G. Crook. 1975. Recent and long-term vegetation changes and patterns in South Florida. Final Report, Part 2. Mimeo. Rep., U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service., 865 p. NTIS No. PB 264462.

Alexander, Taylor R. and Alan G. Crook. 1984. Recent vegetational changes in southern Florida. In P. J. Gleason (editor). Environments of South Florida: Present and Past II. Memoir II, Miami Geological Society, Miami, Florida. (reprint of 1974 publication).

Alexander, Taylor R. and John H. Dickson 111. 1970. Vegetational changes in the National Key Deer Refuge. Quart. Jour. Fla. Acad. Sci., 33(2): 81-9.

Alexander, Taylor R. and John D. Dickson III. 1972. Vegetational changes in the National Key Deer Refuge - II. Quart. Jour. Fla. Acad Sci., 35(2): 85-96.

Alexander, Taylor R., R. Will Burnett, and Herbert S. Zim. 1970. Botany, a Golden Science Guide. Golden Press.

Alexander, Taylor R. and George S. Fichter. 1973. Ecology, a Golden Guide. Golden Press.

Dickson, John D. III, Roy O. Woodbury, and Taylor R. Alexander. 1953. Check list of flora of Big Pine Key, Florida and surrounding keys. Quart. Jour. Fla. Acad. Sci., 16(3): 181-97.

Duever, Michael J., John E. Carlson, John F. Meeder, Linda C. Duever, Lance H. Gunderson, Lawrence A. Riopelle, Taylor R. Alexander, Ronald L. Myers, and Daniel P. Spangler. 1986. The Big Cypress National Preserve. National Audubon Society Research Report No. 8, National Audubon Society, New York, New York.

Tabb, Durbin C., Taylor R. Alexander, Terence M. Thomas, and Nancy Maynard. 1967. The physical, biological and geological character of the area south of C-111 canal in extreme southeastern Everglades National Park, Florida. Report to the U.S. National Park Service, ML 67103.

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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: 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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