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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In This Issue



Tuesday, October 22, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road. [Fourth Tuesday, not last]

"Conservation of South Florida’s Rare and Endangered Species", Joyce Maschinski, Conservation Ecologist, Fairchild Tropical Garden.

Joyce Maschinski comes to Fairchild from her position as Director of Research of The Arboretum at Flagstaff, Arizona. She will describe conservation science research at botanic gardens and give a general overview of Fairchild’s conservation program. She will also highlight some of the species in the current research program at Fairchild and her work elsewhere.

Before the main program, Juan Fernandez, biologist for the City of Miami’s Parks Department, will give a short presentation on the restoration of the hammock on Virginia Key. Don’t be late!

November 26 meeting: "Geologic perspectives of tree islands of the Everglades" -- Dr. Kevin Cunningham, geologist with the US Geological Survey. Gwladys Scott will give a brief introduction to South Florida geology.

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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, October 27: Turner River Road, Collier County. Hike through dry or wet prairie and pine flatwoods, cypress domes and other habitats. We should see wildflowers, especially the fall-blooming composites in the aster family.

Saturday, November 23: Torchwood Hammock Preserve on Little Torch Key and pine rocklands and freshwater wetlands on Big Pine Key.

Saturday/Sunday, December 7/ 8: Botanical and Geologic tour of tree islands in Everglades Wildlife Management Area (WCA-3A) in NW Dade County.

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Note: All Dade Chapter members are welcome at all chapter activities. Information was unavailable in time for this posting, 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.

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DCFNPS landscaping project, Everglades National Park Coe Visitor Center: October 19 and December 14.

On Saturday, October 19 and December 14, 9 a.m. - noon, we will do a little of everything -- planting, weeding. Please come help and enjoy the camaraderie. Bring sun protection, mosquito repellant, gloves and tools (shovels and pruning tools). We’ll supply drinks and snacks (volunteers to bring refreshments are welcome -- DCFNPS can reimburse). Gloves, spray and trowels are available for those who need them. Please contact Carrie or Patty if you expect to come.

Miami-Dade Park & Recreation Dept. NAM workdays.

Natural Areas Management (NAM) workdays are held on numerous Saturdays between September and May, 9:00-noon. Assist in the restoration of a natural area by removing exotic plants, planting seedlings, or picking up trash. Wear closed toe shoes and long pants. Call 305-257-0904 for more information and instructions for students desiring service hours. The chapter will try to form a team for the December 7 at Castellow Hammock Park.

Oct.12: Little George Hammock (Country Walk Drive at approximately SW 150 Ave.); Nov.2: Hattie Bauer Hammock, formerly Orchid Jungle (SW 185 Ave & 267 St.)

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DADE NATIVE PLANT WORKSHOP. 3rd Tuesdays at Bill Sadowski Park, 1.5 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). October 15 topic: genus aster (in the Asteraceae).

BROWARD NATIVE PLANT WORKSHOP. 3rd Wednesdays at 7:30 on the Davie campus main building of Florida Atlantic University, botany lab, room 317. Address: 2912 College Avenue. Contact Jack Lange, (954) 583-0283 or johnp914@aol.com. October 16 topic: fall-blooming composites in the aster family.

Tropical Audubon Society ( 5530 Sunset Drive, 305-666-5111):

THE DEERING ESTATE AT CUTLER, SW 168 Street, just west of Old Cutler Road:

The Miami-Dade Adopt-A-Tree program. Free trees (native, fruit, flowering)! Get more information at www.co.miami-dade.fl.us/adoptatree, phone number 305-372-6555, or e-mail adoptatree@miamidade.gov. Oct. 26, South Miami-Dade. DCFNPS members are encouraged to assist.

GIFFORD ARBORETUM AND UF EXTENSION "WORKSHOPS IN HORTICULTURE". Oct. 12, Nov. 16, Dec. 14, Jan. 11 programs on a variety of topics at UM’s Gifford Arboretum. Fees apply. Call the Extension Service at 305-248-3311 x 227. Free public Plant Diagnostic Clinics the same day.

Fairchild Tropical Garden tours and programs:

... and more. Call 305-667-1651 ext. 3322.

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by Roger L. Hammer

Lignumvitae (Guajacum sanctum) gets my vote as the signature flowering tree of South Florida. If you’ve not seen one in flower then you need to drop whatever you’re doing and go to either Fairchild Tropical Garden, Castellow Hammock, or some other public area where this tree is grown. It usually doesn’t do you any good to visit trees in the wild because the canopy is usually too tall to see the flowers. At Fairchild Tropical Garden there is a fine specimen immediately to your left inside the former main gate (now the "south gate"), and at Castellow Hammock there are four mature trees in the arboretum as you walk toward the nature center.

The 1/2" flowers are blue and a mature tree can be literally covered with blossoms. These are followed by green fruit that ripen yellow then split open to reveal seeds with a bright red coating. Mockingbirds and Catbirds are especially fond of the fruit so the tree is a good bird attractor. Butterflies, especially skippers and hairstreaks, visit the flowers.

This is a small genus composed of six species indigenous to the New World but only two species are very well known. The Florida native species, Guajacum sanctum, ranges from the Florida Keys through the West Indies (including the Bahamas) and into continental tropical America. The common name, is from the Latin, lignum, or "wood", and vita, meaning "life", but is often translated as "Tree of Life". Because of its use to treat syphilis, the tree was once called "Sailor’s Cure". Guajacum is an aboriginal name from tropical America, and sanctum means "sacred". The beautiful wood is extremely dense and is the hardest commercial timber, with a specific gravity of 1.333. The resin, called guaiac, has been effective in treating syphilis and, in the Bahamas, to "use against a scal’d head". Because of the resins in the wood, it has been used as self-lubricating bushings on propeller shafts.

Lignumvitae is notoriously slow growing but it is also a long lived tree. A relative, Guajacum officinale, has been documented to live more than 1,000 years. It is available commercially and you can have your choice of small, comparatively inexpensive, potted specimens or you can spend several hundred dollars (or more) for a field grown tree. If you’re a teenager with a long life ahead of you, go for the cheaper potted tree. If you’re on in years then I’d suggest springing for a larger specimen so you’ll be able to enjoy the flowers. Regardless, you’ll be in possession of one of Florida’s most revered trees. And, like they say, you can either drive a Yugo, or you can drive a Lexus.

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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/chapters/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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