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, 2003

In This Issue

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY
UPCOMING FIELD TRIPS (DADE)
ACTIVITIES IN THE KEYS
NATIVE PLANT DAY AT THE DEERING ESTATE
VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION PICNIC (and light workday)
OTHER EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
PUPAE PUPILS by Jim Duquesnel
EVERGLADES WILDFLOWERS Reviewed by Chuck McCartney
KEY CONTACTS FOR DCFNPS

The Legislature is right at your fingertips www.leg.state.fl.us

UPCOMING MEETING IN DADE COUNTY

Tuesday, February 25, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.

"Miami-Dade Pine Rocklands" — Joe Maguire, Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Department.

(...or "Snags R Us". ) Joe Maguire, supervisor of the Natural Areas Management Division, will present historical information on pine rocklands and discuss their condition after 12 years of restoration efforts. He will show some 1938 aerials, photos of old growth pine rocklands and pre-restoration photos from the 1980s and discuss pine biology, forest structure, fire and reforestation progress.

On our March 29 field trip, we will visit one of our pine rocklands with Joe to see some of what he has described as well as some interesting plants. This will be an easy walk, so please join us!

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Sharon Dyer, Jerry Russo, Patty Harris, Philip Pearcy (snacks), Gwladys Scott (drinks and ice). Your additions to the refreshments and raffle table are also appreciated.

Upcoming meetings. March 25: South Florida's Wetlands — Dr. Martin Roessler. April 22: Biological control of the Mexican Bromeliad weevil ("Evil weevil") — Dr. Ronald Cave, UF/IFAS.

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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, March 29: Seminole Wayside Park pineland. This 28 acre pineland managed by Miami-Dade Parks is somewhat different from other pinelands in Dade County, and the walk should be easy.

Sunday, April 27: Corbett Wildlife Refuge (wetland, including wetland boardwalk, Palm Beach County).

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ACTIVITIES IN THE KEYS

All chapter members are invited to 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.

Next Keys meeting: Tuesday, February 25th, at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park's Visitor Center. The park gate is open to attendees starting at 6:45PM. Plant Identification Workshop at 7 p.m., program at 7:30. Refreshments and native plant raffle follow — donate a plant to receive a free raffle ticket.

Park Biologist Jim Duquesnel will speak on "Selecting The Right Plant For The Job." Learn the questions you should ask before you plant to avoid problems like cracked driveways, stained sidewalks, roots in the plumbing, fermenting fruit on the patio and too much shade. Jim will also discuss some recommended references you can use to learn even more.

Keys Field trip: Saturday, March 1. Jim and Janice Duquesnel will lead members and theri guests on a walk through some of north Key Largo's deepest hammock.

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NATIVE PLANT DAY at The Deering Estate

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS FOR NATIVE PLANT DAY — SUNDAY, MARCH 9

You can see from the enclosed flier and schedule that another great Native Plant Day has been planned by DCFNPS. As you know, this is our chapter's annual public event and most important public outreach. Please encourage your neighbors and coworkers to come (and bring the kids), and post a copy of the flier anywhere you can.

You will certainly want to enjoy some programs and walks, but we also need you to contribute some time as a volunteer. Many of the jobs do not require knowledge of native plants or any special skill.

Please sign up at the February meeting or call Patty Phares (305-255-6404) or Carrie Cleland (305-661-9023) ASAP to tell us how you will help.

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VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION PICNIC (and light workday)

Saturday, February 22, Everglades National Park

All past (and new) volunteers for the DCFNPS Landscaping Project and their families are invited. Free park admission and lunch! Please try to RSVP for the picnic by Feb. 19.

9a.m. - noon: Workday -- light maintenance and prep for new planting. Join the steering committee in a tour and discussion of the successes, problems and future plans for the project.

Noon-2 p.m.: Picnic provided by ENP and nature walk (good month to see the seasonal wildlife). We'll have burgers, hotdogs, veggie-burgers and side dishes, grilling courtesy of volunteers from the interpretive ranger staff. Please arrive at the Visitor Center by noon so you will know where to go for the picnic (probably Long Pine Key).

For the workday, bring sun protection, gloves and small hand tools. We'll supply drinks. Gloves, bug spray and trowels are available for those who need them. Please contact Carrie (305-661-9023 ) or Patty (305-255-6404) if you expect to come to the workday or picnic.

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OTHER EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

NATURAL AREAS MANAGEMENT WORKDAYS, Miami-Dade Park & Recreation. Dept. 9:00-noon. Wear closed toe shoes and long pants. Call 305-257-0904 for more information. Feb.15: Florida City Pineland (SW 344 St. and 185 Ave.); Mar. 8: Kendall Indian Hammock (11345 SW 79 St.); and others later.

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). February 18 topic: Plants with cordate (heart-shaped) leaves and beach plants.

BROWARD NATIVE PLANT WORKSHOP. 3rd Wednesdays at 7:30. Contact Jack Lange, (954) 583-0283 or johnp914@aol.com New temporary location: UF's Agric. Research and Ed. Cntr, 3205 College Ave, Davie, room 204B. February 19 topic: wildflowers in the Scrophulariaceae.

TROPICAL AUDUBON SOCIETY ( 5530 Sunset Drive, 305-666-5111): Mar. 12: Monthly meeting: Everglades restoration and the Inportance of Waterflow", Dr. Tom Lodge. 7:30 social time, 8 p.m. program. Free and open to the public.

GREENSWEEP VOLUNTEER WORKDAYS IN THE KEYS. First Saturdays, 9 - noon. Call The Nature Conservancy at 305-745-8402. March 1: Reduce flammable fuel build-up in pine forests on Big Pine Key.

MDCC ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER Kendall Campus. Call 305-237-2538 or visit www.mdcc.edu/kendall/env/home.htm Diane Otis will teach "Easy Gardening with Florida Natives" (Apr. 26). See the January Tillandsia for additional classes and activities

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PUPAE PUPILS by Jim Duquesnel

(continued from the January Tillandsia)  

[In the January Tillandsia, Jim Duquesnel described a student butterfly garden competition at the Montessori Island Charter School in Tavernier. Here he reviews the books the gardeners relied upon the most. The first four titles listed proved to be so useful that one of the judges, FNPS member Patricia Mull, graciously donated new copies to the school's library.]

A NOTE ABOUT EXOTIC PLANTS AND BUTTERFLY GARDENS:

Though some gardening authorities tout certain exotic plants for attracting butterflies, they apparently forget that Florida's butterflies (and other native pollinators) were far more abundant before these plants were introduced, and that invasive exotic species, though they may provide nectar, often displace native host plants (many of which are also excellent nectar sources) that are needed by larval butterflies. Invasive exotic plants are a major cause of habitat loss in Florida, and one of the most important factors in the decline of many of Florida's butterflies.

While some exotic species can sometimes offer benefits without serious drawbacks, butterfly gardeners (and authors) who wish to "do no harm" in the pursuit of their hobby are urged to check the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's website (www.fleppc.org), or the UF Extension in your county (Monroe County Agricultural Extension, 305-852-1469 ext. 4501; Miami-Dade Extension 305-248-3311) for the most recently revised list of invasive plants to avoid using or promoting. — Jim Duquesnel

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EVERGLADES WILDFLOWERS Reviewed by Chuck McCartney

Color-illustrated regional wildflower guides were once too expensive to publish. But now, with color printing technology less costly, South Florida nature lovers at long last have a wildflower guide that does justice to our unique subtropical region.

Roger L. Hammer's eagerly anticipated Everglades Wildflowers ($24.95), the latest in the increasingly fine Falcon series of regional nature guides, is finally in the bookstores. It was worth the wait.

Hammer, a professional naturalist and director of the Castellow Hammock Nature Center in southern Miami-Dade County, introduces wildflower enthusiasts, amateur botanists, hikers, and general nature lovers to more than 300 species in his beautiful photographs and carefully researched text.

This amazing number of species includes everything from common roadside plants such as Spanish Needles and yard weeds such as Creeping Charlie and Beggar Ticks to large, showy wildflowers such as Pine Lily, Scarlet Rosemallow and String-Lily and rare and seldom-illustrated species such as Poeppig's Rosemallow, Wild Sweet Basil and Pineland Spurge. Also included are such common naturalized non-native species as Caesar Weed, Rosary Pea, Water-Hyacinth and Madagascar Periwinkle.

Hammer's special interest is the native orchids of Florida, and his book's alluring cover displays an excellent photograph of Florida's fabled Ghost Orchid. Inside, Hammer illustrates 31 wild orchid species (plus one variety and one color form) in photographs far superior to those found in the recent Wild Orchids of Florida.

Subtitled A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Historic Everglades, Including Big Cypress, Corkscrew, and Fakahatchee Swamps, Hammer's book also covers species of the pine rocklands and coastal areas in Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier and mainland Monroe counties, along with portions of Lee and Hendry counties. The only part of South Florida missing is the Keys, which will be covered in a separate, upcoming field guide.

Hammer re-invented himself as a photographer to shoot the flowers in this book, and the beauty of the results speaks for itself. Besides showing the flowers themselves in excellent detail, many of the pictures also include plant structures and habitat.

The text accompanying each picture includes a lot of helpful information condensed into a very compact space. Each entry begins with the flower's common name (although some are distinctly not very "common"), followed by the botanical name and its author and the name of the plant family to which it belongs. For some species, there's also a limited synonymy, showing other botanical names applied to these species in the past.

In most instances, Hammer has wisely opted for a conservative approach to nomenclature because current plant taxonomy is in a state of flux unmatched since the mid-1700s when Linnaeus devised the modern binomial system for naming organisms.

There's a brief description of the plant and flower, a listing of the season when it blooms, a discussion of the habitat in which it grows (pineland, marsh, swamp, etc.), and details on its distribution.

Each listing also includes interesting tidbits about the plant, the most interesting of which is a discussion of the origin of the botanical name, translating it from the Latin or Greek. This is a most helpful feature because when an amateur wildflower enthusiast understands the meaning of a plant's "foreign-looking" — and, therefore, intimidating -- botanical name, he may be more inclined to use it rather than the often-imprecise common name.

Some experts might quibble with a few of Hammer's translations. For instance, he translates the species epithet for the Jamaica Caper, Capparis cynophallophora, as "like a dog's phallus'' (referring to the shape of the seed pods), whereas the -phora suffix in Greek means "bearing," not "like."

Typical of many modern field guides for amateurs, the species in Everglades Wildflowers are grouped by flower color. Each section is identified by a broad band of that color at the top of the page. This supposedly makes for quick reference for casual observers in the field. The drawback to this color-key approach is twofold. First, it sometimes requires an arbitrary assignment of a flower to a color group. Second, it sometimes widely separates closely related species, which might benefit from closer placement for comparison.

The compact size (6 inches by 9 inches) and rounded corners of this book make it perfect to fit comfortably into a backpack. You don't want to get the book's clay-based paper wet or the pages will stick together. But the use of this kind of glossy paper is a necessity to get maximum quality in photographic reproduction.

The book also has helpful introductory material, with background information on the historical ecology, climate, and habits/plant communities of South Florida. There's also a discussion of how to use the field guide and line drawings showing anatomical features of plants described in layman's terms.

At the back is a glossary, a brief directory of places to see native wildflowers and groups that offer information about natives, a bibliography, and an easy-to-read index.

Unlike some recent field guides from other parts of the country, the species depicted in Everglades Wildflowers seem to be accurately identified (with the exception of one St. John's-Wort and possibly one Poinsettia). There are also one or two other small errors scattered through the book (such as a plant in the Acanthaceae being listed in the Madder Family). But these are minor concerns in a book that has been sorely needed in South Florida for a long, long time.

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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/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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