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!

| past newsletters |

MARCH, 2004

In This Issue


Tuesday, March 23, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  (4th Tuesday, not the last!)

"Carnivorous Plants of Florida and Beyond" -- Clyde Bramblett.

Carnivorous plants are common in North Florida but since they are acid-loving, we see only a few species in our immediate area.  Going out of Miami-Dade County, we see sundews almost as far south as Tamiami Trail, pitcher plants as far south as the north end of Lake Okeechobee, and Venus flytraps which were transplanted beyond their historic range from southeastern N.C.. Clyde will introduce us to this fascinating group of plants including species throughout the U.S., focusing mostly on Florida species, some of which we will see on our field trip to Jonathan Dickinson State Park in April. Clyde's initial plant interest was in orchids, but a desire to learn more about a group of plants that fewer people were involved in led him to the carnivorous plants more than 30 years ago.

Upcoming meetings:

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Gail Romero and Tom Brown (drinks and ice); Chris Migliaccio, Barbara McAdam, Patty Harris (snacks).  Additional refreshments and plants for the raffle table are always welcome.  Please examine your plants for lobate lac scale before bringing them

| To top of Page |


Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members (Dade and Keys) and their invited guests. Details are contained in the regular mailed each month to members. Collecting is not permitted. Please join today so that you can enjoy all the benefits of membership!

Saturday, April 3: Jonathan Dickinson State Park (Martin County).  As a follow up to the March program on carnivorous plants, we will visit a place that has some – plus a lot of other interesting plants. "JD" has over 11000 acres of a botanists's paradise straddling the scenic Loxahatchee River.  Northern species meet tropical species in the high sand pine scrub, sandy pine flatwoods and other plant communities.  

| To top of Page |


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: Tuesday, March 16, 7 p.m. at the Marathon Garden Club (just south of Crane Point Hammock and Museum). Rebekah Stewart of the Florida Division of Forestry will speak about the Champion Tree program and champion trees of the Keys.

Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and their invited guests.  Please join so that you can enjoy all the chapter’s activities!

| To top of Page |


A program has been added at 2:15: "Involving your Child with the Environment: A Parent's Guide" – Joy Klein, Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management.  We hope to see you all there – with friends, family and co-workers.  You can print fliers and posters from www.fnps.org/chapters/dade/NativePlantDay/It's not too late to volunteer to help (contact Matthew), donate items for the raffles or plant sale (plants, books, garden items, native plant art or crafts, etc. -- contact Mary), or provide some items for the butterfly larvae display (larvae, hosts plants, chrysalises -- contact Patty).  Contact Steve for everything else!

Steve Woodmansee (305-666-8727, smwood@bellsouth.net)
Matthew St. Aubin (305-234-9239, matthew@strictlynatives.com)
Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com)
Mary Rose (305-378-0382, jdrose6@bellsouth.net)

| To top of Page |


Everglades National Park chapter workday, Coe Visitor Center Landscaping Project, Saturday, April 10, 9:00-noon. Weed, prune, spread mulch and enjoy the outdoors and company of fellow native plant lovers.  New volunteers and friends welcome!  Tools, gloves and snacks provided or bring your own. Call Patty (305-255-6404) for more information.

Chapter board elections will be in May, but start thinking now about potentially joining the board or contributing in some substantial way to the running of the chapter.  Please contact Steve Woodmansee (see box on back) to find out more. People with special skills are always needed on the board, but so are members who are just interested in making the chapter vibrant and effective and are willing to spend some time helping however they can.

No projects were selected for our chapter's George N. Avery Science Fair awards this year.  Judges Allyn Golub, Lynka Woodbury and Rita Woodbury found very few that referenced native plants at all.  Thanks to our judges for their sincere efforts.  Please try to think of more suggestions that we can forward to the schools, and encourage junior and senior high students and teachers (public and private) to consider native plant related projects for the next school year.  In fact, it isn't too soon for a student with a long-term research idea to start!

Native plant landscaping photos needed.  Diane Otis is collecting photos (digital or prints preferred, slides ok, too) for potential use in future programs or chapter displays.  Please send images of your favorite scenes to Diane (queenmab@netrox.net or call her at 305-247-9913).

Writers (Dade AND Monroe members) wanted for this newsletter– can you write an interesting or informative story about a native plant or South Florida nature?  Or landscaping advice, a helpful gardening or plant identification tip?  A tale of adventure in the Florida wilds?  Could you interview and write a short article about a chapter member?  If so, please email or call one of the Tillandsia editors (see the info box on the back) -- we need your experience and input!

News from the State FNPS

All FNPS services have been consolidated. New phone number: 312-271-6702.  Email for all official business: info@fnps.org or fnpsinfo@earthlink.net  Postal address: FNPS, P.O. Box 278, Melbourne FL 32902-0278. The new phone is a mobile phone, and since wireless voicemail sometimes gets hung up in cyberspace, please try again if your call is not returned within 24 hours (M-F).

The 24th Annual FNPS Conference (May 12-16, Lake Buena Vista): you should have received your registration brochure by now (info also at www.fnps.org).  Register as soon as possible to get your pick of field trips.  The FNPS Design With Natives Landscape Awards Program deadline is March 22.  See the entry form in the recent Palmetto or the Web site.

The wildflower garden series in The Palmetto needs illustrators and photographers.  Please contact Cammie Donaldson, editor, at cammiedonaldson@earthlink.net or 321-951-2210 if you might be able to contribute now or in the future.  Immediate needs are photos (numerous formats) and black and white line drawings of Clematis baldwinii and drawings of Solanum americanum and Piriqueta caroliniana.

| To top of Page |


Gifford Arboretum Lecture and Art Opening, Thursday, April 1, 7 - 9:30 p.m. Cox Science Center, University of Miami.  Peter Vitousek, Sanford University, and Member of the National Academy of Science (named "Best of 2001" by Time Magazine) will speak on "Moving species too fast and too far: Hawaii and the global issue of biological invasions".  Tour of the arboretum at 6:15. Reception and art exhibit "Displacement, homogenization and loss". Free and open to the public.  Directions: Take Red Road to Miller Road, then east to UM; turn left and look for sign on the right.  For info: 305-284-5364.

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).  March 16: Plants with root storage organs.

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. March 17: the acanthus family (Acanthaceae).

Miami-Dade Park & Recreation Dept. Natural Areas Management (NAM) workdays, 9a.m. - noon.  Wear close-toes shoes and long pants.  Call 305-257-0904 for more information.  Mar. 13: Deering Estate at Cutler (SW 168 St and 72 Ave.).  Mar. 20, Apr. 3, Apr. 10: Kendall Indian Hammocks Park (11345 SW 79 St.).  Apr. 10: Oak Grove Park (NE 159 St. and 6 Ave.). Apr 17: Baynanza – call for info or check www.miamidade.gov/derm/baynanza/ for a huge list of fun, helpful or educational Baynanza events (March through April).

Tropical Audubon Society activities (5530 Sunset Drive).  Call 305-667-7337 or see www.tropicalaudubon.org. Meetings are free and open to the public (7:30 p.m., program at 8 p.m.).  Mar. 10 meeting: Stuart McIver, "Death in the Everglades: the Murder of Audubon Warden Guy Bradley".

  • Apr. 14 meeting: Ron Nuehring, "Birds, marine mammals and terrain of the Antarctic peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands". 
  • Mar. 13,  Apr. 17 workdays: 8:30 - noon.  Help restore pineland at TAS. 
  • Mar. 14: Florida Trail, Big Cypress nature walk.  Reservation and fee required. 
  • Mar. 21: Spring Wildflower walk with Roger Hammer. Reservation and fee required. Fee includes autographed copy of Roger's book, Everglades Wildflowers.

The Nature Conservancy workdays in the Keys, Saturdays, 9 a.m. - noon.  Call 305/745-8402.  April 3: Boot Key, Marathon. Help increase habitat for native wildlife.

Miami-Dade College Environmental Center, Kendall Campus. Spring camps for kids ages 5-11: Spring Break Science / Nature Camp, March 29 - April 2;  Teacher Planning Day Camp, March 26. Call 305-237-2600 or 305-237-2538.

| To top of Page |


Please provide your input now to support Miami-Dade's endangered lands!   A General Obligation Bond (GOB) referendum is expected to be presented to voters on the November 2 general election ballot.  Although this bond issue will address needs for all types of capital projects (utilities, roads, public housing, cultural arts and parks), proposed funding will not cover everything on the wish list.  The County depends on public input to set their spending priorities if the bond referendum passes.  

Miami-Dade County's Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program is evaluating whether to accept management of County park natural areas. Some, including The Deering Estate, Navy Wells and Castellow Hammock, have been approved by EEL's Land Acquisition Selection Committee.  In addition, 80 million dollars worth of environmental land is listed to buy but funds are not available. 

The EEL Program is on the list to potentially receive monies from the GOB.  It would be good for people who care about the natural areas to attend the meetings or otherwise express their support to ensure that acquisition and management of natural areas are high on the priority list.  Please note that additional funding for EEL has been grouped in the category of Preserving Our Resources.  Even though the proposed referendum is months away, input is needed now.

More information, including how to submit comments if you can't attend a meeting and a message from County Manager George Burgess are available at the Web site www.miamidade.gov/bond2004 or call 305-375-1900.  Written responses can be sent to Obligation Bond 2004, 111 NW 1st Street, 10th Floor, Miami FL 33128.  

Upcoming public meetings (check Web site for new additions) at 7 p.m.:

            3/9 (Cultural Center)
            3/11 (Miami-Dade Extension)
            3/17 (Hammocks Club House)
            3/24 (Jack Gordon Elementary)
            3/25 (Winston Park Clubhouse)  

More information about the EEL Program is available at www.miamidade.gov/derm/land/eel_program.asp.

| To top of Page |


Many special butterflies are found in association with either Tropical Hardwood Hammocks or Pine Rockland. All have suffered from the catastrophic loss of habitat caused by converting most of South Florida's natural habitat into urban and suburban developments.  In an effort to learn the status of the butterfly fauna in these areas, the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) would like to survey every square mile, if possible! The funding received for the surveys will pay for Web site development and data organization and entry. Volunteers will conduct these surveys.  HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP!  You don't have to be a butterfly expert -- any information gathered will be valuable!

Note: the newly re-formed local Miami Blue NABA chapter will be participating in this survey – stay tuned for more details of this and other upcoming Miami-Dade meetings and walks.  To join NABA, print a copy of the membership form at www.naba.org/membership.html. Local residents will automatically be members of the Miami Blue Chapter.  Learn more about the Miami Blue chapter at their display and program at Native Plant Day on March 20!

| To top of Page |


            by Chuck McCartney

Thirteen carnivorous plant species are reported for 11,500-acre Jonathan Dickinson State Park in southeastern Martin County, representing three genera in two plant families.

The sundews in the family Droseraceae are classic carnivorous plants, and two species are recorded for the park: the larger, more widespread Pink Sundew, Drosera capillaris, and the Dwarf Sundew, D. brevifolia, which has been reported there more recently. Both species grow in the damp sand of the pine flatwoods, producing basal rosettes of small, narrow reddish-green leaves bearing long hairs tipped with a clear, gooey liquid that traps insects and absorbs their nutrients to supplement the plant's diet. A short, slender flower stalk emerges from the center of the leaf rosette in spring and produces tiny white or pinkish-white flowers.  Although these are miniature plants, with Drosera brevifolia being significantly smaller, when the sunlight illuminates them, they glow like rubies scattered on the ground.

To the amateur, the two species look similar, but they supposedly can be distinguished from one another by the flower stalk. In Drosera brevifolia, it is said to be glandular-pubescent for much of its length, while the flower stalk of D. capillaris is smooth, lacking those glandular hairs. However, a hand lens may be necessary to detect these minute details.

The family Lentibulariaceae is represented in the park by two genera: Pinguicula, the Butterworts, and Utricularia, the Bladderworts.  Half of Florida's six Butterwort species are found there, with the other three in the Panhandle. These are charming plants producing a flat basal rosette of wide, yellow-green leaves that are covered with a sticky substance which gives them their "buttery" appearance and which aids in capturing small insects to add to their diet. The flower stalk emerges from the middle of the leaf rosette and produces five-petaled blossoms, each with a pointed nectar spur hanging down behind it. The plants grow in the same sandy pine flatwoods as the sundews.

The two larger-flowered species, the Yellow Butterwort, Pinguicula lutea, and the Blue Butterwort, P. caerulea, are both near the southern extreme of their range, with the beautiful P. caerulea, with its striking violet-blue flowers, being less common in the park than P. lutea, which produces attractive bright yellow flowers that resemble a sunburst when viewed from the front because of the deep notch in the end of each petal.

The third Butterwort in the park is Pinguicula pumila, aptly named the Dwarf Butterwort. It is a pygmy compared to the other two species, with its leaf rosettes scarcely bigger in diameter than a U.S. quarter. This species with tiny white, pink or rarely yellow flowers is more widespread, growing into Everglades National Park and the Keys.

The Bladderworts, also in the family Lentibulariaceae, are most the numerous carnivorous plants in the park, with eight species reported. Some are aquatic, growing in ditches and along waterways, while others are terrestrial, growing in the sandy soil in and around the shallow seasonal ponds that intersperse the pine flatwoods.  They capture their prey by the means of tiny "vacuum bottles" (the "bladders") on their leaves or roots. These bottles snap open when minuscule animals like amphipods trip a hair trigger on the trapdoor. The creatures are instantly sucked into the bladder and their nutrients are dissolved and absorbed by the plant.

The aquatic species include the large Leafy Bladderwort, Utricularia foliosa, with its long, floating masses of finely dissected leaves, and the Hump-Lipped Bladderwort, U. gibba, a smaller species of shallow areas. Both produce attractive bright yellow flowers that somewhat resemble Snapdragons.

There are also two purple-flowered aquatic species, Utricularia purpurea, the beautiful and relatively common Purple Bladderwort, and the smaller and less frequently encountered  Lavender Bladderwort, U. resupinata, with its very different upward-facing flowers.

Of the terrestrial species, the Horned Bladderwort, Utricularia cornuta, is the most spectacular, with masses of the plants sometimes filling sandy glades with their bright yellow flowers in the spring. The common and botanical names of this species both refer to the long, slender, horn-like nectar spur that hangs from the back of each flower. Utricularia juncea, the so-called Southern Bladderwort, is said to resemble a smaller version of the Horned Bladderwort. This species is near the southern end of its range in the park.

Two tiny yellow-flowered terrestrial bladderworts also occur there, the Zigzag Bladderwort, U. subulata, which often grows among the sundews, and the less frequently encountered Fringed Bladderwort, U. simulans, which has fine-toothed sepals hidden behind the flowers.

| To top of Page |


            by Russell Clusman

It was a perfect January morning. The sky was clear and the air was dry and a perfect 74 degrees. I turned my vehicle off of Janes Scenic Drive onto the white gravel road of the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park's offices. There, I met up with a few members of our group and stretched my muscles, sore after the long ride from Miami. We exchanged greetings and pleasantries and awaited the last member's arrival. Already my pulse was quickening in anticipation of the day's events with our seasoned, fun-loving field companions. A brief discussion of the day's strategy, a few laughs, and last-minute equipment checks and we were on our way.

We entered the swamp, our destination, the heart and arteries of Southwest Florida's Fakahatchee Strand. Our small company, of varied interests and backgrounds, was intent on exploring new areas to observe, document and photograph all the rare flora and fauna, as well as digest the beauty of this swamp wilderness. Although I thoroughly enjoy every moment I have in the Fakahatchee, I hope in some small way we are contributing to the vast body of knowledge of this magnificent cypress strand and continue to offer more reason to preserve this natural wonder. The trek is arduous, but this company was focused only on the rewards. Little did we know what treasure was waiting for us to discover!

The first slough we entered looked like it had potential. We split into smaller groups and headed south, interrupting the silence by communicating with an occasional shout of  "hooty-hoo" or the calling out of a threatened or endangered orchid, bromeliad, or fern. An hour had passed and I was not impressed with the area. The slough became shallow and my quest was the deeper limestone troughs that have been dug by Mother Nature throughout the centuries. The slow flow of water has gradually eroded the limestone to form a kind of stream within the strand.  The predominant trees along the edges of these deeper areas are pond apple and pop-ash. It is here that these trees become festooned with rare epiphytes. We altered our search pattern and intercepted a great-looking slough. I broke south, while the rest headed north.

Mike Owen, the park's biologist, and his assistant, Karen Relish, teamed up on their northerly trek. Karen, while slogging, was intently recording the rare flora she encountered up in the tree branches, cypress knees, and snags (fallen dead trees). Something different caught her eye so she called out to Mike for further examination. There on a seven-foot-long prostrate log laden with moss was a group of small plants with their roots embedded in the abundant moss. Several plants were in bloom and after a cursory examination, Mike believed they were orchids, so they carefully removed a specimen for identification.

I returned to Janes Drive about 20 minutes ahead of Mike and Karen. When they emerged out of the water, they told me about their find and proceeded to remove the carefully wrapped plant out of a backpack. Upon seeing it, I immediately identified it as Cranichis muscosa and 1903 flashed in my mind like a blinking neon sign. But could this really be? I called out to Saul Friess, a member of our group, in the hope that he had his copy of The Wild Orchids of Florida by Paul Martin Brown, which he usually carries with him. Intent on confirming its identity, I excitedly turned the pages to the index and then to the photo of the plant. I loudly exclaimed "touchdown," an expression this group uses when we discover something special or unusual. For me, the moment was truly thrilling. I don't think my companions realized the enormity of the find but my zealous enthusiasm eventually caught on. Plans to return the next day for photographs were confirmed and I had a euphoric ride back to Miami. Chuck McCartney and Roger Hammer may attest to my excitement as they were the first persons notified.

The genus of Cranichis is composed of approximately 30 species (Luer, 1972). Cranichis muscosa is a small terrestrial or semi-epiphytic orchid approximately 4 to 10 inches in height when in bloom. It has a peculiar basal rosette of leaves which are petiolate and green to light green in color. The spike has several bracts as it ascends. The flowers are white with greenish speckles. I found it to be similar to Platanthera nivea. Cranichis is derived from the Greek words meaning, "having a helmet" and muscosa from the Latin word meaning "mossy" (Correll, 1950). These words clearly describe this little gem because the lip, which is uppermost, forms a cover over the column and our plants were found embedded in abundant moss.  J.E. Layne first collected a specimen in May of 1903 in Lee County (Correll, 1950), which included the Fakahatchee at the time. In December of the same year, A.A. Eaton vouchered a specimen in Dade County (Correll, 1950). I have since learned that Eaton collected another specimen in 1905 in Dade County (IRC, 2000). In a personal communication, Dr. Carlyle A.  Luer, author of the landmark book The Native Orchids of Florida (1972), advised me that he had seen it once in Florida but there is no formal record to my knowledge of this sighting. The moss orchid's range extends from Mexico to the West Indies then down into Central and South America. And now its presence is re-confirmed for southern Florida.

This colony was made up of 40 individual plants of which seven were in bloom. Three of these plants were growing on a cypress knee a few feet away. The best news is that Mike Owen believes he has seen this plant at three other locations within the strand and we hope to investigate these for confirmation in the next few weeks.

Group members:

Mike Owen, FSSP biologist
Karen Relish, FSSP biologist's assistant
Saul Friess, professional photographer
Robin Drake, Americorp Environmental Sciences
Rick Janiec, outdoor enthusiast
Russell Clusman, orchid enthusiast

| To top of Page |


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: Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com) and Karen Griffin.

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.

| To top of Page |

Past Online Newsletters