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

"Geologic perspectives of tree islands of the Everglades" -- Dr. Kevin Cunningham, geologist, US Geological Survey.

"A brief introduction to South Florida geology" — Gwladys Scott.

Dr. Cunningham will present his perspective on the geologic evolution of tree islands in the everglades wetlands and introduce his role in recent geophysical research linked to understanding the origin of ridge and slough landscape in the everglades wetlands.

Kevin received his PhD in Geology from the University of Kansas and did post doctorate research at UM's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and is currently a research hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Miami and a member of DCFNPS.

Gwladys Scott, DCFNPS member and graduate geographer/ geologist (or "geo-person", as she says), will give a brief introduction to South Florida geology. Together, our speakers will set the stage for our upcoming field trip to tree islands of the everglades north of Tamiami Trail (now rescheduled to February; see Upcoming Field Trips).

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Patty Harris, Lauren McFarland and Phillip Peavey (snacks), and George Childs and Gail Romero (drinks and ice). Your additions to the refreshments and raffle table are also appreciated.

December: No newsletter. No Dade meeting but there is a field trip.

January 28 meeting: The Flora of Elliot Key. Keith Bradley, Institute for Regional Conservation (a trip to Elliot Key is planned).

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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.

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

Sunday, December 8: Navy Wells Pineland. We'll check on the pineland's progress in its recovery from Hurricane Andrew and find late fall wildflowers.

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Note: All Dade Chapter members are welcome at all chapter activities.To receive personal notification of Keys Group 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.

November 21 (Thurs.) meeting on Big Pine Key: Joint meeting with the Big Pine Key Botanical Society at Lord of the Seas Lutheran Church, 1250 Key Deer Blvd. (1/2 mile north).

Roger Hammer, well-known Miami-Dade County Parks naturalist, will present a program on "Flowering Plants of the Florida Keys", the topic of his next book (to be published next year). Common and rare plants will be featured, along with comments on medicinal uses, derivations of Latin names in English, uses by wildlife, and other interesting tidbits.

Plant ID workshop at 7 p.m. (bring cuttings of mystery plants — try to include leaves, flower, fruit). Program at 7:30, followed by a plant raffle. Please bring raffle plants to benefit the Botanical Society. Call Hallett Douville for more details (305-872-2055).

November 23 (Sat.): field trip to Jeff Scurlock's Mother Ocean Custom Woodworks and native hammock,

December 9 (Mon.): meeting in Key West with the Florida Keys Audubon Society at Indigenous Park. Potluck dinner at 5 p.m., followed by a program on Florida Keys wildflowers by Roger Hammer (see the Nov. 21 meeting topic). This will be the 4th consecutive joint meeting with Audubon, all great successes. Indigenous Park is at the intersection of White Street and Atlantic Boulevard. Call Chris and Beth Bergh for more information (305-872 5787).

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Saturday, Dec. 14. Volunteer for chapter ENP workday.

9a.m. - noon. DCFNPS Landscaping Project, Everglades National Park Coe Visitor Center. Please come help get the landscaping in shape for our seasonal guests (wintering birds and holiday tourists) and enjoy the camaraderie. Bring sun protection, mosquito repellant, gloves and tools (hand trowels and clippers). 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.

Join the chapter team at December 7 Natural Areas Management workday, Castellow Hammock.

Members of our chapter and the chapter itself have a long history with Castellow Hammock, from the days when the "old" Native Plant Workshop met there to the chapter's Native Plant Day in 2001 and 2002. Come help the chapter support the ongoing maintenance of the hammock at one of Miami-Dade Park's workdays (see announcement in "Other Events").

Native Plant day 2003 will be at The Deering Estate at Cutler on Sunday, March 9.

If you have suggestions for activities and programs, please contact a board member (see information box on back). In our tradition of highlighting a variety of natural areas and reaching out to different neighborhoods, we continue to circulate around the county. Having it on Sunday will be a new and interesting venture. Save the date!

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Gifford Arboretum Picnic, Saturday, December 7, 1 - 4 p.m., celebrates tropical field botany and native plants. There will be a commemoration of Dr. Roy Woodbury, who was famous as a true field botanist in Florida and in Puerto Rico (see article below). Roger Hammer will be on hand for a book sale and signing of his brand new book, Everglades Wildflowers, as well as to tell about the influence of Roy Woodbury on his career and other tales of his own life exploring native habitats. In addition, there will be plants for sale and tours of the various collections in the Arboretum and other areas. Free. San Amaro Drive and Robbia Avenue, University of Miami.

Miami-Dade Park & Recreation. Dept. Natural Areas Management workdays, 9:00-noon. Wear closed toe shoes and long pants. Call 305-257-0904 for more information. Dec. 7, Castellow Hammock 22301 SW 162 Ave. Jan. 12, A.D. Barnes Park (3401 SW 72 Ave.).

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). November 19 topic: Eriocaulaceae (the Pipewort family).

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. November 20 topic: Solanaceae.

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

Nov. 10: The Deering Estate at Cutler Nature Walk with Rick Cohen. Call for reservations. Fee for The Deering Estate entrance.

Nov. 13: a slide program by Roger Hammer featuring photos in his new book Everglades Wildflowers. 7:30 social time, 8 p.m. program. Free and open to the public.

Nov. 17, Dec. 29: Tours of the Botanical Garden at TAS: Learn about plants for your yard -- or just enjoy. Free. 9 a.m. - noon.

The Deering Estate at Cutler (SW 168 Street, just west of Old Cutler Road):

Nov. 14 , 7:30 - 8:30 — Roger Hammer will present a slide show and sign his new book, Everglades Wildflowers, which is expected to be for sale. ($5 fee).

Nov. 16, 9 - noon — help rejuvenate the Deering West hammock by removing air potatoes and debris that threaten this habitat. Advance registration required. For more information: www.deeringestate.com or 305-235-1668 x 242.

Workshops in Horticulture. Nov. 16, Dec. 14, Jan. 11 programs on a variety of topics at UM's Gifford Arboretum. November: the problem of invasive exotic plants and alternatives to invasive plants in your landscape. Fees apply. Call the University of Florida's Extension Service at 305-248-3311 x 227. Free public Plant Diagnostic Clinics the same day.

Fairchild Tropical Garden tours. Call 305-667-1651 ext. 3322.

Fall Birds and Butterflies (Sat., Nov 16 ), Robert Kelley.

Everglades Wildflower Walk (Sat., Nov. 23), Roger Hammer.

Greensweep Volunteer Workdays in the Keys. First Saturdays, 9 - noon. Call The Nature Conservancy at 305-745-8402. December 7: Big Pine Key, neighborhood fire hazard reduction. Help reduce the threat of wildfires and prepare for helpful prescribed burns by thinning overgrown vegetation. January 4: Saddlebunch Key bike trail — trimming, weeding, cleaning. Access by foot or bike.

Fairchild Tropical Garden tours and programs:

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by Roger L. Hammer

ROY ORLO WOODBURY  1913 - 2002

If you read Roy Woodbury's obituary in the Miami Herald, you learned that he was a "prominent botanist" among many other things during his long, productive life. Before he became a botanist he had a yearning to be a professional baseball player, and later studied chemistry at the University of Miami. Fortunately for those of us who love Florida and Florida native plants, he migrated toward becoming a prominent botanist. He studied botany at the University of Miami under another prominent botanist, Walter Mardin Buswell (1866 -1951), and compiled the first comprehensive botanical survey of Costello [sic] Hammock in 1937. The Buswell Herbarium was kept at the University of Miami until being incorporated into the herbarium at Fairchild Tropical Garden in 1999 (Roy's daughter, Lynka, currently works at the Fairchild herbarium). Roy Woodbury was, at one time, the curator of the Buswell Herbarium as well as a professor of botany at the University of Miami before moving to the University of Puerto Rico in 1957 to teach there.

I first learned of Roy when I began reading my cherished copy of Carlyle Luer's magnificent book, The Native Orchids of Florida, published in 1972. It became a book that I could not stop reading over and over because my love affair with Florida's native orchids was in full swing. In it I learned that in 1947, when I was only 3 years old, Roy Woodbury found, for the first time in Florida, a tropical, terrestrial orchid called Bletia patula. He found the plant growing in a pineland southwest of Miami and it would become the only documented specimen of that species ever found in the state.

But there was another orchid that Roy was involved in discovering a year earlier than Bletia patula. In my quest to photograph as many native orchids as I could find, I had read in Luer's book that a University of Miami student named Karl O. Kramer was credited with discovering an orchid new to the flora of Florida. That orchid was Galeandra beyrichii (now Galeandra bicarinata) and Kramer had found it while on a botanical field trip into Castellow Hammock in November 1946. Professor Roy Woodbury was leading the field trip. It was that orchid that first led me to Castellow Hammock in 1975, and there I met the park director at the time, Sally Black, as well as the park attendant, George N. Avery (1922 -1983). Both, I would learn, were very well versed in South Florida's flora. I found Galeandra in flower in Castellow Hammock the following November, exactly 30 years after its first discovery. As fate would have it, in 1977 I took Avery's place as the park attendant working for Sally Black. When she left in 1979, I was promoted to her position as the park director and have been there now for over 25 years. So it was an orchid discovered during a field trip led by Roy Woodbury in 1946 that would prove to have a most profound influence on my life as a professional naturalist.

Thank you Roy.

Roger L. Hammer

Dr. Roy Woodbury passed away on September 21. He grew up in the Redland, studied and taught botany at the University of Miami and was involved with the first planting of native plants in the Gifford Arboretum at UM. After living in Puerto Rico for many years, he returned to Florida to retire in Martin County. Roy was a favorite member of the Florida Native Plant Society (Martin-Cocoplum Chapter), was recognized statewide for his work in native plant botany, and received several awards from FNPS. Although Roy was not a member of the Dade Chapter, we saw him occasionally at local events and meetings with his daughter, DCFNPS member Lynka Woodbury, and appreciated his company, knowledge and perspective on the history of botany in our area.

There will be a commemoration of Dr. Woodbury at the Gifford Arboretum Picnic on December 7 (see announcement under "Other Events") and a memorial event on November 30 at the Dr. Roy Woodbury Trail in Timer Powers Park, 14100 SW Citrus Blvd., Indiantown.

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by Jim Duquesnel

Autumn color does come to the Florida Keys. Wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa), Bahama and mullein nightshades (Solanum bahamense and S. donianum), redberry stopper (Eugenia confusa) and blolly (Guapira discolor) are among the plants putting on a show right now. Throughout the Keys, each of these plants puts out its produce at this time of year, each in its own variation of red.

Bahama nightshade's little tomatoes are a bright orangey red when ripe. Coffee berries darken to blood red. Blolly's drupes range from dark red to a hot magenta. Redberry stopper, for which I have waited almost twenty years to find fruits in the wild, has finally revealed its bounty in fire engine red. Everglades velvetseed's (Guettarda elliptica) downy fruits finally turn black when ripe, but are showy red for quite some time before that.

Lignum vitae (Guiajacum sanctum) has replaced its blue blossoms with seed capsules opening to display seeds in a bright red aril. Similarly, the seeds of the limber caper (Capparis flexuosa) and Jamaica caper (C. cynophallophora) are also displayed this month, the former starkly white against the bright red aril of the split-open seedpods. Limber caper even gets the name "false teeth" because the combination resembles a crooked array of teeth against red gums. On a short drive north along the stretch between Key Largo and Florida City, splashes of bright red reveal stands of dahoon holly (Ilex cassine) lining the highway.

Other native fruits can be found ripening now, too. White indigo berry (Randia aculeata) and snowberry (Chiococca alba) have many ripe white fruits already on display, but with more to come. Beautyberry stands unique with clusters of fruit glowing in royal purple.

But all of these displays of brightly colored fruits, as beautiful as we may find them, are not intended for our aesthetic pleasure. It is primarily the eyes and attention of birds that are being sought, migrating birds most of all. Within each colorful fruit are seeds, one in each drupe and two or more in berries, with each seed protected by a hard coat to resist the digestive process and permit long range dispersal. Wind dispersed seeds may land almost anywhere, and many fall on barren soils, pavement, in deep water, or in other inhospitable sites where they cannot grow. Birds are a more selective dispersal method, and more likely to deposit seeds in fertile the humus under the trees and shrubs where they perch.

Many of South Florida's gardeners know that most of our native trees and shrubs come from the West Indies rather than temperate North America; and that a large percentage of these rely on birds for seed dispersal. But some find it surprising that so many of these plants, having originated in the tropics, should be fruiting in autumn rather than springtime, and during a season when migrating birds are traveling south rather than north. Part of the answer is that these plants don't only disperse northward, but in all directions, and toward any suitable habitat.

Another part of the answer is that, unlike most temperate plants, tropical trees and shrubs commonly bear more than one crop each year, and some produce fruit year round or nearly so. This is especially true in the warmest parts of their ranges, where warmer winters and less variation in day length can permit an extending growing season and, in some cases, continuous or nearly continuous flowering and fruiting. Our two native fig trees (Ficus aurea and F. citrifolia) fruit throughout most of the year, and fire bush (Hamelia patens) is an example of a plant that can flower and fruit year round.

When the autumn migration brings them to the Keys, many songbirds fuel their trip using this bounty of fruits. Tanagers, catbirds, and vireos are especially particular to soft fruits, but warblers are also seen picking at them. In addition, the ripening crop attracts many insects, and songbirds are as attracted to this bonus as they are to the fruits. This month, blue gray gnatcatchers and American redstarts are conspicuously flitting about the tree canopy of my yard, inspecting foliage and ripening fruits carefully in their search for flies and other bugs.

That so many of the plants fruiting during the migration of birds wrap their seed in the color red speak volumes about the color's attractiveness to birds. The lesson for the backyard naturalist is that year round, native plants, and the seeds and fruits they provide, are unsurpassed as a healthy way to lure birds into your yard and within range of your eyes, binoculars, and camera lenses. And that the autumn crop of red fruits will do the most to bring the southbound migrants into your yard for more than just a moment.

For the gardeners and birders who want to learn more about native plants, their fruits and seasons of production, there is probably no better source than P.B. Thomlinson's recently republished Biology of Trees Native to Tropical Florida. In particular, the book's large introduction describes many facets of general botany as applied to our native plants. Indispensable to anyone landscaping with wildlife in mind are the pages and charts describing the type and timing of fruit production and the methods of seed dispersal for many species.

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Monroe County Extension, information on nature and the environment: monroe.ifas.ufl.edu/fyn.htm

Miami-Dade County Parks Eco-Adventures for nature walks, volunteer workdays, nature get-aways, canoe trips, birding, van trips, bike trips, programs (never a dull moment). Call 305-365-3018 or visit www.co.miami-dade.fl.us/parks.

Plant Creations nursery, for photos, descriptions and information about natives in your landscape: www.plantcreations.com.

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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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