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, 2003

In This Issue




Tuesday, June  24: Annual summer solstice evening yard visit and social (not at Fairchild).

This year we will enjoy a native plant garden in South Miami.  This meeting is for FNPS members and their guests only.  It's a good reason to join!

Upcoming meeting.July 22: Ecology and flora of Everglades tree islands, Tiffany Troxler Gann, FIU.

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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, June 28: City of Miami parks -- Virginia Key Beach and other (City of Miami parks).  City of Miami Parks naturalist (and DCFNPS member) Juan Fernandez will show us the restoration on Virginia Key, newly created Coastal Hammock Trail and rare species such as Biscayne prickly ash. Later we will enjoy the shade of another City of Miami park.

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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: June 9. Florida Park Service Biologist, Jim Duquesnel, will speak on Monroe County's worst invasive exotic landscape plants.  Jim will provide a list of pest plants compiled by managers of natural areas through the Keys and describe the impact of each.  He will also discuss which plants are still being sold in the county, what you can do about it and recommended native alternatives.

The plant ID workshop will begin at 7 pm, followed by the program at 7:30, refreshments and native plant raffle.  For the workshop, try to bring a stem with several leaves, and flowers and fruit if possible. 

Location: First Baptist Church, MM 81.2 in Islamorada, just south of the Green Turtle (ocean side).

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Dade County was well-represented at the recent state FNPS conference in Ft. Myers.  Dr. Suzanne Koptur, John Geiger and Hong Liu of FIU; Roger Hammer and Keith Bradley gave well-received presentations.  Congratulations to Roger Hammer, who received a Green Palmetto Award for his many contributions (see following article).  Chuck McCartney (Broward and Dade member) won the plant ID contest (are we surprised?). Lynka Woodbury joined the state FNPS board as a Director-at-Large.  Our chapter t-shirt received many compliments and had brisk sales.  The City of Coral Gables received a Design with Native Award (article in a future Tillandsia).  Plan now to attend next year's conference hosted by the Tarflower Chapter (Orlando).

Landscape photo ops wanted.  Do you have a photogenic piece of native landscape?  A little corner of your native garden or a mix of natives and non-natives that looks inviting, or 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.

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Does your "natural" landscape have a code enforcement tale to tell?  If you would like to share your story for potential inclusion in a Miami Herald article, please contact Gwen Burzycki at 305-372-6569 or cosmicbotanist@hotmail.com.

The North American Butterfly Association's summer butterfly counts are tentatively on Saturday, July 19 in Homestead/ENP and on July 26 in Coral Gables.  If you are interested in participating, contact Bob Kelley, 305-666-9246 (h), 305-284-4747 (w), or RKelley@math.miami.edu.

Environmental Science and Nature Camp at MDCC Kendall Campus Environmental Center for kids ages 5-11.  Mornings are spent at the Center in hands-on activities and afternoons involve arts and crafts, swimming, theater, computers and more.  Field trips, too!  Themes for different sessions include reptiles and amphibians, native American folklore, crawling critters, the Everglades, and gardening.  Each week is $125. Start dates: June 16 to August  11.  Register at room 3129, Building 3, or download a form at http://sis.mdcc.edu and fax to 305-237-0520.  Call 305-237-2538 for more information.

The Broward Chapter of the FNPS now has a website, the nice product of much hard work by Ginger Metraux.  Check it out at http://www.browardnps.org.

Dade Native Plant Workshop.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Bill Sadowski Park, ½ 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).  June 17 topic: Onagraceae (Evening primrose family).

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. June 18 topic: the sometimes-confusing members of the spurge genus Chamaesyse.

Miami-Dade DERM's Adopt-A-Tree program for the 2003 season is in full swing.  Please call the information line at 305-468-5990.  After 5 pm and for elderly/handicapper planting, call 305-372-6555.  Distributions on June 7 (M-D Fair & Expo), July 26 (Coconut Grove Convention Center) and August 23 (M-D Fair &Expo) and later dates.  Most dates include some native trees.  Volunteers who can help should contact Joy Klein, kleinj@miamidade.gov.

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.orgAssist in planting trees for elderly and disabled Adopt-A-Tree recipients as well as other projects.

Miami-Dade Park & Recreation. Dept. Natural Areas Management (NAM) pine rockland t-shirts are in!  You can purchase one of these beautiful shirts for by mailing a $15 check (payable to Miami-Dade County) to NAM, attn Magaly, 22200 SW 137 Ave, Goulds, FL 33170.  Include your address and size (M, L, XL). Your shirt and a receipt will be mailed to you.

The Marathon Wild Bird Center has begun an e-mail newsletter.  The publication will pass along information about how you can help sick or injured birds, updates on local bird migrations, reports of sightings of new birds to the area, news about what's happening at the Center, and more.  If you would like to receive this free newsletter, just send a note to wildbirdcenter@hotmail.com indicating that you'd like to subscribe and director Kelly Grinter will put you on the list.

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[The following presentation was made by Maria Minno at the FNPS Conference,  May 10, 2003, in Ft. Myers.]

Roger Hammer's nickname, "Father Nature", is well-deserved as he is widely known as one of the most knowledgeable and gregarious naturalists in subtropical Florida.

Roger is a native Floridian, born in Cocoa Beach and a resident of Homestead for over three decades.  He spent his early years exploring Florida's wild places and learning the names and the habits of native plants and animals.  His interest in Florida's flora began with orchids.  In search of the rare tropical beauties in bloom, Roger once slogged the entire length of the deep slough of the Fakahatchee Strand.  He discovered two new species of native orchids in southern Florida and was the opening ceremony speaker at the World Orchid conference when it was held in Miami.

But Roger's interests as a naturalist go well beyond orchids.  Over 25 years ago, Roger was an early member and continues to be an integral participant in a botanical study group called the Native Plant Workshop which still meets monthly in Miami-Dade County to help serious amateur and professional botanists identify native plants.

Since 1977 Roger has been a professional naturalist and director of the Castellow Hammock Nature Center for the Miami-Dade Parks Department.  For many years Roger has also been an instructor and field trip leader for Fairchild Tropical Garden.  Roger has become a naturalist archetype for south Floridians.  His field classes to the Everglades and the Keys are always filled with new and old fans, and his stories of Florida's wild things are legendary.

Roger is an accomplished writer, and has published numerous articles on the flora of southern Florida, often illustrated with his exceptional photographs.  His pieces are easy to read, enlightening, and amusing.  He has had numerous articles published in the Dade Chapter's Tillandsia newsletter, four pieces in the state chapter's Palmetto, has presented slide shows on native plants dozens of times to the Dade Chapter and to other FNPS chapters around the state.

In a 1997 National Geographic article on the Everglades, Roger is pictured next to a spray of native butterfly orchids while his face and neck are speckled with mosquitoes.  As Roger says, after the 1000th bite, you don't feel them anymore.

Roger synthesized his many years of field observations and nature study in his first book, Everglades Wildflowers, published in 2002.  While designed as a handy and information-rich field guide, his stunning photographs of flowers warrant a space for this book on any well-appointed coffee table.  This publication will surely spur ever more interest in learning, appreciating, and preserving the native plants of the greater Everglades.

Locally in south Florida, Roger has been recognized for his service to the knowledge and preservation of native plants.  In 1982, Roger was awarded the first ever Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award by the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society for "outstanding, consistent, and constant service in the areas of education, research, promotion and preservation of native plants".  In 1996, Roger was awarded the second Charles Brookfield Medal by the Tropical Audubon Society for "outstanding service in protection of our natural resources".

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Would you like to learn more about natives --  how natives can be used in your yard, or just what to look for on a walk in the woods?  Or would you like to share your yard with people who want to know more about natives or how to start out with their landscaping?

Here's your opportunity.  The chapter is starting a (more-less) bimonthly "yard visit" where members can share their landscaping experiences and whatever else they know about natives.  We already have occasional weekend yard visits and an evening yard visit in place of our June meeting, but this will be more practical and informal -- and maybe more informative to those of you just beginning.

See what works and what doesn't in shade/sun, wet/dry, small and large areas.  See what works as a ground cover or hedge.  See how to place plants in groups or individually.  See the reality of a plants full growth - what do they look like when they are mature - will your neighbor continue to talk to you?  The yards will not necessarily be fancy showcases or actually landscaped (some might be preserved natural areas), but each will provide ideas and information.

The general template will be a 2 hour period during which members and their guests can visit a yard (or perhaps a commercial property, church, school, or other property with natives).  The owner or other person knowledgeable about the site will be there to show you the property, tell how the landscape evolved and talk about the plants. The exact times and dates will be arranged with each property owner or leader (and you don't have to get your yard primped to perfection).  It would not be expected that a large crowd would attend -- perhaps 10-20 sometime during the period.

If you would like to share your garden or favorite natural area with your fellow plant lovers who are just starting down the native plant path, please call Gwladys Scott at 305-238-8901.

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by Roger Hammer

[Reprinted from the June, 1997, Tillandsia.]

If you have large trees on your property, now is the time to think about having them structurally-pruned (not hatracked!) in the event of a hurricane.  Properly pruned trees will not only mature with a better branching habit, but they will weather tropical storms and hurricanes much better.

Bartram's marsh pink, Sabatia bartramii, flowers throughout the summer months in the Big Cypress National Preserve.  This is one of our showiest wildflowers, with large, rich rosy-pink (rarely white) multi-petalled flowers.  You can easily find this species by exploring the open glades dotted with cypress trees off Tamiami Trail.  The flowers are worth the mosquitoes!

The foul-smelling native fungus called lattice stinkhorn, Clathrus cancellatus, makes its grand appearance in the rainy summer months.  This fungus is round, red in color, and often is seen sprouting from lawns and mulch.  It emits a putrid odor which attracts flies.

Speaking of odors, the mastic tree, Sideroxylon foetidissimum, will flower throughout June and July.  The pungently-fragrant flowers can be detected in hammocks, and these attract multitudes of bees and nectar-seeking wasps.  The flowers are followed by oblong, olive-sized, yellow fruit that fall in mass beneath the tree.  The rotting fruit also give off a pungent odor and are fed upon by raccoons.  Ripe fruit are edible but are gummy and may make your lips sticky.  Green fruit are sold in Guatemalan marketplaces and are given to children in lieu of chewing gum ... or perhaps it is an attempt by Guatemalan mothers to make their children's lips stick together!

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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.

© 1999-2005 Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society, Inc.

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