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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APRIL, 2003

In This Issue


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


Tuesday, April 22, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road. [4th not last Tuesday!]

Biological Control of the Mexican Bromeliad Weevil -- Dr. Ron Cave, University of Florida Indian River Research and Education Center.

The Mexican bromeliad weevil, Metamasius callizona, has now been in Florida for 14 years, devastating populations of native Tillandias in many South Florida natural areas. Seven of Florida's 16 native bromeliad species are currently threatened by this pest. The weevil is known to be in 17 counties, is fast approaching the Everglades and Big Cypress areas, and has already been seen in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. Dr. Cave will discuss his research to find biological controls for this weevil and for other pests that threaten native flora.

Dr. Cave is Assistant Professor of Entomology at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Ft. Pierce, where he researches the classical biological control of invasive arthropods in Florida and teaches entomology and pest management. He worked at the Panamerican School of Agriculture in Honduras for 15 years and received his doctoral degree from Auburn University in 1987.

Visit Save Florida's Native Bromeliads for photos and more information.

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Toby Davidow, Patty Harris, Susan Walcutt, Ivan Felton (snacks), Lauren McFarland (drinks and ice). New volunteers to bring refreshments, additions to the refreshments and raffle table are also appreciated.

Upcoming meetings: May 27: Steve Woodmansee, Common South Florida native lawn weeds. June 24: Annual summer solstice evening yard visit and social. (Is your yard available? Call Patty, 305-255-6404.)

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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, April 27: Corbett Wildlife Refuge (Palm Beach County). Hungryland Slough boardwalk through pine/saw palmetto, wetland pond, cypress slough.

Sunday, May 18: North Key Largo.

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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 meeting: April 22, 6-8 p.m. Tour of Key West Salt Ponds. The Nature Conservancy and the FNPS will co-host this tour, led by Land Steward Chris Bergh, Conservation Program Manager for TNC of the Florida Keys, and Russ Draper, ranger for the Salt Ponds. They will discuss the history of the Salt Ponds, recent invasive species control efforts, plans for restoring the natives, and special species found in the area. Meet: at the cleared area inside Little Hamaca Park at 6 p.m. Directions: From outside KW, turn left onto South Roosevelt Blvd., then right at the first stoplight onto Flagler Avenue. Turn south (left) onto Government Road at the sign for "The Clinic", then proceed past the stop sign and through the park gate. For more information, call Chris or Beth Bergh at 305-872-5787.

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Please help with the spring gardening at our re-landscaping project at the Coe Visitor Center! We will remove some plants to prepare for a big planting day (May 31), plus the usual weeding and mulching. New volunteers are encouraged — there is a job for every level of strength. Bring tools if you can (for digging, cutting), family, friends. Gloves and some hand tools are available. Refreshments provided. You can also enter the park free after the workday. Please call Carrie (305-523-5730) or Patty (305-255-6404) for more information or if you plan to come so we know how many to expect.

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Report on the chapter's Annual Meeting, March 25. The new board of directors elected is: Steve Woodmansee, President; Bob Kelley, Vice-President; Gail Romero, Secretary; Jonathan Taylor, Treasurer; and Directors-at-Large Amy Leonard, Diane Otis, Phillip Pearcy, Gwladys Scott, Lynka Woodbury. Carrie Cleland continues on the board as Past-President. Welcome to the new board members (Amy, Gwladys and Phillip). Many thanks to the retiring board members Sam Dawson (former treasurer-for-life), Karsten Rist, and Jerry Russo (vice-president). And, of course, special thanks to Carrie Cleland for the past two years as President and several years on other positions before that!

The chapter also voted to amend the bylaws to hold the annual Meeting in May rather than March. This change will make planning Native Plant Day and recruiting new board members fall in different months.

Spring plant sale, Fairchild Tropical Garden: Saturday, April 26, 9:00-4:30 (9:00-9:30 for FTG members only, 9:30-4:30 public admitted). The chapter will participate as usual with members bringing plants from commercial and back yard nurseries. Members are also needed to help shoppers find the plants they need and answer questions about native plants. If you would like to volunteer, sell your own plants, or donate plants for the chapter to sell, please call Carol (305-233-7476).

Chapter shirts and totes. The chapter has a fresh supply of FNPS shirts ($13) in all the popular sizes and a canvas tote bag ($10) with the wonderful design by Wes Jurgens featuring Tillandsias and a red start on cypress branches. "Ladies' cut" shirts and regular t-shirts come in natural as well as white. Available, as always, at chapter meetings.

Landscape photo ops wanted. Do you have a native landscape that you love? A little corner of your native garden that looks inviting to you, the birds or the butterflies? A mix of natives and non-natives that your neighbors admire? Nice specimen plants? Diane Otis would like to take pictures for use in programs and displays. Please call her at 305-247-9913 h or 305-237-5089 w.

The chapter's Native Plant Day at the Deering Estate at Cutler on March 9 was attended by over 700 visitors and dozens of volunteers in spite of the wilting heat of the day. Comments were overwhelmingly favorable, and while we still will visit other parks for Native Plant Day, we hope to return to the Deering Estate again. Thanks to all the speakers, walk leaders, Deering staff (some of whom volunteered their time), Leslie Veber (Veber's Jungle Garden) for selling plants, donors of raffle and sale plants, representatives of other organizations who set up displays, and our own wonderful volunteers who always know what to do. Special thanks also to the many youth volunteers who helped with setup, plant hauling, raffle tickets, entrance table and butterfly display: Boy Scout Troop 457 from Kendall Methodist Church (with leader Robin Just), Miami Coral Park High School Environmental Club (with leader Amy Leonard), Coral Gables Congregational Church youth group (with leader Sandra Cleland), and Brian Picciano.

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Greetings fellow Native Plant Society members. I am honored and privileged to be your new Dade Chapter president. I hope to continue to maintain the Chapter's high standards while leading us toward new possibilities. For those of you who do not know me, I am a biologist for the Institute for Regional Conservation. The Institute is a local non-profit organization dedicated to preserving our native flora. Having been born and raised in Dade County, I feel a sincere attachment to all our natural resources and desire to conserve them. Please feel free to contact me at 305-666-8727 or smwood@bellsouth.net.

My very best regards, Steve Woodmansee

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Please act now to support lobate lac scale biocontrol. As lobate lac scale continues to spread around South Florida, infecting and killing many native trees in our gardens, it holds a greater potential to drastically alter the flora of natural areas. Wax myrtle, a common plant in many wetlands, is incurring high infestation and mortality. Please write to state and US legislators to encourage support for funding research on biological control of the lobate lac scale. They probably know little about this but they could be important to secure funds. Your short, clear and informative letters could help alert, educate and persuade them. The Department of Interior should also be very interested as impacted areas include Everglades National Park and Big Cypress and Loxahatchee Preserves.

Refer to the January Tillandsia (available on the chapter web site) and the web sites listed there for more information. Addresses for all legislators: http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/fgils/government.html, then go to the section "Contact Your Representatives & Government Offices", or look in the phone book (for those elected before the new books came out). Senator Bob Graham is at 524 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington DC 20510 and Bill Nelson is 716 Hart Senate Office Bldg.

Gifford Arboretum Annual Lecture and Art Opening, Thursday, April 10, 7 - 9:30 p.m. Dr. Robin Chazdon will speak on "Tropical Forest Recovery: Legacies of Human Intervention and Natural Disturbances". Followed by reception, book-signing and art opening. Art exhibit: Regrowth, Renewal and Regeneration" (sculptures and drawings by UM students and local artists). Tour of the Gifford Arboretum at 6 p.m. Location: 126 Cox Science Building, Univ. of Miami. Call 305-284-5364. FREE.

Miami-Dade Park & Recreation. Dept. Natural Areas Management workdays, 9:00-noon. Wear closed toe shoes and long pants. Call 305-257-0904. April 12 and May 3: Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11345 SW 79 St.. -- join the "Spud-busters" and get rid of air potatoes. April 26: Hattie Bauer Hammock (formerly Orchid Jungle), SW 157 Ave at 267 Street.

Dade Native Plant Workshop. 3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Bill Sadowski Park, 1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Road on SW 176 Street. Study of plant ID and taxonomy. Call Steve Woodmansee (305-247-6547) or Roger Hammer (305-242-7688). April 15 topic: Carnivorous plants.

Broward Native Plant Workshop. 3rd Wednesdays at 7:30 Address: Room 204B, UF's Agriculture Research and Education Center, 3205 College Ave., Davie. Contact: Chuck McCartney, 954-922-9747. April 16 topic: Hammock plants.

Tropical Audubon Society ( 5530 Sunset Drive, 305-666-5111), http://www.tropicalaudubon.org for more info and activities.

Greensweep Volunteer Workdays in the Keys. First Saturdays, 9 - noon. Call The Nature Conservancy at 305-745-8402. April 5: Tropical Crane Point Hammock, Marathon. Remove exotics and then enjoy the grounds and museum. May 3: Key West Botanical Garden. Enjoy the wonderful plant collection while you weed.

STILL AVAILABLE: Abandoned native butterfly plants - but they could disappear any day. Wild lime and hackberry. Need TLC. Call Joyce or Don Gann, 786-423-1881. Call now.

TREEmendous Miami invites new volunteers for tree planting projects. Call Amy Creekmur, 305-378-1863, or Gary Hunt, 305-674-9403, for more details or visit www.treemendousmiami.org. April 22: Earthday planting in Perrine honoring Dr. Perrine, 10 a.m. - noon. May 17: Assist in planting trees for elderly and disabled Adopt-A-Tree recipients. More throughout the summer!

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by Dr. Ron Cave

The Mexican bromeliad weevil, Metamasius callizona, has now been in Florida for 14 years. During this time it has devastated populations of native Tillandias in many South Florida natural areas. Seven of Florida's 16 native bromeliad species are currently threatened by this pest. The weevil is known to be in 17 counties, is fast approaching the Everglades and Big Cypress areas, and has already been seen in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. In the Savannas State Park in St. Lucie Co. and the San Sebastian River Buffer Preserve in Brevard Co. more than 90% of the susceptible Tillandsias have been killed. Monitoring programs in several protected areas are quantifying the extent of weevil damage.

The female weevil lays its eggs in slits in the leaves close to where they feed. The weevil grubs feed on the juicy meristem of the plant, eventually killing it. Before the grub forms a pupa, it constructs a chamber of shredded plant material, inside which it pupates. Adults feed mainly on leaves and are good flyers.

The symptoms of an infested plant are the presence of a gelatinous exudate, browning of leaves, and the middle leaves, whose bases are decomposed, will easily give way when gently tugged. Although insecticides are effective in controlling the weevil in nurseries and landscapes, chemical control is not appropriate in parks and other natural areas, where chemicals would adversely affect other organisms and the economic cost would be too great. Parasites that kill the weevil naturally have not been found in Florida. Thus, the importation of an exotic natural enemy offers the most likely option.

No parasites were found in exploratory trips to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. However, a parasitic fly from Central America, a new species of Lixophaga, will attack it. This fly parasitizes a closely related weevil that occurs in bromeliads in the cloud forests of central Honduras. The female fly deposits very small maggots near the damaged portion of a plant that contains a weevil grub. The tiny fly maggot finds the grub and, upon contact, bores into the grub's body. The fly maggot then spends many days digesting the internal organs of the weevil grub. Before pupating, the weevil grub dies and then emerges the fully grown fly maggot to convert itself to a puparium. Days later the adult fly emerges.

Collaborators at the Panamerican School of Agriculture in Honduras collect parasitized weevil grubs from the forest and raise them to get fly puparia. These puparia are then shipped to University of Florida entomologists working in the quarantine facility in Gainesville. Currently, entomologists there are developing a method to multiply the fly in the laboratory, but this has been very difficult. Once we have a way of producing hundreds of flies in the laboratory, we will test the parasite to see if it will attack the Florida bromeliad weevil, Metamasius mosieri. After obtaining all the necessary permits, the fly will be released in the field and evaluated for its ability to suppress Mexican bromeliad weevil populations.

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[Reprinted from the September, 1999, Tillandsia.]

"Avoid Running Afoul of Local Weed Laws!" was the title of attorney Brett Rappaport's keynote address at the FNPS annual conference in May. Mr. Rappaport, National President of Wild Ones — Natural Landscapes, Ltd., spoke on dealing with legal issues faced by many who plant a "natural" garden. He also gave tips for living with a native plant yard and the neighbors, too:

A border provides a sense of order. This can be an area of mowed lawn or shrubs. The rights of others are very important, and being arrogant won't win over the opposition. Advertise by putting up a small sign. Tell people why you are planting as you are. Start small — there is a lot to learn about your site. "Sneak up" on your neighbors and gradually increase the size of your "natural" beds around trees, turning them into a native landscape with paths of lawn. Humanize by having paths, artifacts, walls — things that give a "tended and intended" look.

For more information on weed laws and a variety of natural landscaping topics and items to order, consult the WildOnes Handbook. It is available on the Web at http://www.for-wild.org. You can also write to Wild Ones - Natural Landscapes, Ltd., PO Box 1274, Appleton, WI 54913-1274. It includes a section on weed laws by Rappaport. Available from the EPA Website is Natural Landscaping for Public Officials - a Source Book.

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General information and memberships: Patty Phares (305-255-6404)

Contact in the Keys: Jim Duquesnel at John Pennekamp

Coral Reef State Park (305-451-1202)

President: Steve Woodmansee ( 305-666-8727, smwood@bellsouth.net)

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: 772-462-0000

Tillandsia editors: (co-editor needed) Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com)

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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