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, 2004

In This Issue


Tuesday, June 22, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.

"Interactions between herbivory and pollination in the butterfly pea, Centrosema virginiana." –  Dr. Yuria Cardel

Dr. Cardel will describe her studies of interactions between herbivory and pollination in one of our most beautiful native flowering plants, the butterfly pea (Centrosema virginianum).  The large showy flowers are eaten by various insects, affecting the their appearance and attractiveness to pollinators.  The leaves of these pine rockland perennial vines are also eaten by a variety of insects, which remove substantial amounts of leaf tissue.  Leaf area and floral tissue lost to herbivory can indirectly or directly affect pollination.  Yuria conducted field and greenhouse experiments to determine the effects of herbivory on various floral characters.  How do these different kinds of herbivory affect the butterfly pea and its pollination?  Come find out!

Yuria received her PhD in April, 2004, from FIU.  She is a native of Mexico and received her B.S. from Universidad de Puebla, where her senior thesis work on the ponytail tree (Beaucarnea) resulted in a publication in Conservation Biology.  She came to the US to work with Suzanne Koptur.

Chapter meetings are free and open to the public.

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Vivian Waddell (drinks and ice); Jan Kolb, Bob Mihm,  Patty Harris (snacks),  Additional refreshments and plants for the raffle table are always welcome.  Please examine your raffle plants for lobate lac scale before bringing them.

July 27 -- Annual evening yard visit and social at the home of Ralph and Jo Woodmansee in South Miami.  This is in place of our meeting at Fairchild. Details next month. (For FNPS members and their guests only.)

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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. 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, June 12: Tall Cypress Natural Area.  This 66.4-acre preserve is owned jointly by the city of Coral Springs and Broward County.  Formerly called the Turtle Run Environmentally Sensitive Land site, it is home to several habitats, including a cypress basin swamp, pinewoods, depression marsh and palm hammock.  The understory contains a variety of ferns and other native plants.  It has a fully accessible .4-mile boardwalk and restrooms.  Pat Howell of the Broward County Parks Environmental Section will lead us off-trail if we want.

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Keys and Dade members – you 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, June 22.  Plant identification at 7 p.m. – bring cuttings of your mystery (or interesting) plants.  Announcements and program: 7:30 p.m.  Location: Islamorada library, MM 81.5 Bayside.

Roger Hammer will introduce his new book, Florida Keys Wildflowers, and present a slide-lecture on the wildflowers, trees, shrubs and woody vines of the Keys.  His talk will feature some highlights of the book, including many attractive species appropriate for landscape use, and interesting facts about many of the plants.  Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.  The program will be followed by refreshments and the native plant raffle.

Roger is a Senior Interpretive Naturalist for Miami-Dade Parks Department, Director of Castellow Hammock Nature Center, part-time instructor at Fairchild Tropical Garden, lecturer and walk leader all over South Florida, board member of Tropical Audubon Society,  member of FNPS, contributor to Tillandsia and The Palmetto, and author of Everglades Wildflowers.

Field trip: Saturday, June 26. The group will visit several sites, beginning with the wild cotton patch behind the newly-remodeled Coral Shores High School.  Field trips are for members and their guests.  Please join so you can enjoy all the activities!

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Results of the Annual Meeting, May 25, 2004.

Amendments to the bylaws were passed.  As printed in the April Tillandsia, the amendments provide for board members to serve 2-year terms with half the board elected in alternating years and for vacancies to be filled by the board until the next Annual Meeting.  A correction was made, so that the second sentence of Section I, Article VI reads: " The Board shall be comprised of up to ten(10) people who must be current members of FNPS in good standing."  (Not "at least 10".)

The new chapter board was elected.

  Steve Woodmansee – President
  Amy Leonard – Vice-President
  Patty Harris – Director-at-Large (new board member)
  John Lawson – Director-at-Large (new board member)
  Jonathan Taylor – Director-at-Large
  Jennifer Possley – Treasurer (new board member)
  Lynka Woodbury – Secretary
  Bob Kelley – Director-at-Large
  Phillip Pearcy – Director-at-Large
  Mary Ann Bolla – Director-at-Large

Pond apple trees are needed for Dade Chapter planting project at ENP.  If you have any in your backyard nursery that you could donate this summer, please call Patty, 305-255-6404.

Yard Visit for New Learners:  July 31.  Includes light brunch, opportunity to buy native plants, and tours of two native plantings.  Details in the July TillandsiaYard visits are for members and their invited guests.  Please join so you can enjoy all the chapter activities!

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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).  June 15: Wild edible natives.

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 16: Bring up to 5 flowering specimens of native or naturalized plant species.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  Several activities are planned for summer (some for experienced butterfly counters, some for everyone).  Check www.miamiblue.org for details.  Send inquiries about NABA-Miami-Blue membership to MiamiBlue@bellsouth.net.

Adopt-a-Tree, monthly, May-October, 9 a.m. - noon, at sites throughout the county.  Miami-Dade homeowners may select two from the selection of  native and non-invasive fruit and shade treesJune 19, Miami-Dade College Kendall campus, Garage L (green buttonwood, mamey sapote, sapodilla, white geiger).  See miamidade.gov or call 305-468-5900.  Email for questions and volunteering is adoptatree@miamidade.gov.

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What's the point of staying in Miami all summer if you don't help something grow?  There is always light work for those who don't want to dig and plenty of nearby shade. 

Tropical Audubon Society (5530 Sunset Drive).  Call 305-667-7337 or see www.tropicalaudubon.orgJune 26: workday, 8:30 - noon.  Help restore native pineland at the historical TAS Doc Thomas House.  In addition to contributing to the restoration of this historic plant community, you will learn about native plants and meet like-minded people.

TREEmendous Miami has monthly projects, including planting native (and other) trees.  To volunteer or learn more about TREEmendous Miami visit www.treemendousmiami.org or call 305-378-1863.  These upcoming plantings need you!

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Pine Tree Yellowing and Death.  If you have planted South Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa) in Miami-Dade County within the last 20 years and some of your trees have turned yellow and died, The Institute for Regional Conservation is interested in hearing from you.  Information on when and where you planted, how many trees, container sizes, height of tree when turned yellow, soil and light conditions, etc. could help us to better understand how to restore pine rocklands in Miami-Dade County.  IRC is also interested in the largest trees and the longest-lived trees planted at homes or schools.  Please contact George Gann at gann@regionalconservation.org or send a note to IRC, 22601 SW 152 Avenue, Miami, FL 33170.

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FNPS awards received by two chapter members were announced at the Annual Conference in May.  Congratulations to both! 

Brian J. Sidoti, M.S. graduate student at FIU,  Department of Biological Studies, was awarded an Endowment Grant to further his research.

Richard Brown of Brown and Crebbin Design Studio in Tavernier was recognized in the Design with Natives Landscape Awards Program.

Next month we will feature Richard Brown's landscape project.  In this issue we spotlight Brian's research project.  The following is a portion of Brian's application for the grant:

Morphological and Molecular Systematics of the Tillandsia fasciculata (Bromeliaceae) Complex: Biogeographical and Evolutionary Implications

Research Purpose

The purpose of this project is to gain greater insight into the speciation and radiation of species within the Tillandsia fasciculata (Bromeliaceae) complex that occur in Florida and Cuba. Specifically, anatomical, morphological, and molecular studies will be used to examine the T. fasciculata complex in order to support taxonomic decisions and species boundaries. Baseline data can then be used to construct and solidify conservation measures.

Research Goals

The pineapple family (Bromeliaceae) is almost exclusively distributed in the Neotropics...  The group I propose to study, the Tillandsia fasciculata complex, occurs in and around the Caribbean Basin.  In 1788, Swartz described T. fasciculata based on a plant collected in Jamaica, the exact locality unknown...  The T. fasciculata complex consists of eight subspecific varieties and ten related species...

Three subspecific varieties occur in Florida..., where this species is listed as a state endangered plant... In 1986, Carl Mez, a German botanist... described the type specimen of T. fasciculata var. densispica from a plant collected by Curtis near Merritt's Island, Indian River in Brevard County, Florida.  Distribution of this bromeliad is from central to south Florida, but it also occurs in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies.  Almost half a century later, Mulford Foster, one of the co-founders of the Bromeliad Society International... described  T. fasciculata var. densispica forma alba from Big Cypress in Collier County, Florida.  Unlike  T. fasciculata var. densispicaT. fasciculata var. densispica forma alba has whitish-green floral bracts and white petals.  Both  T. fasciculata var. clavispica and  T. fasciculata var. fasciculata occur in southern Florida and their distribution is rare.   T. fasciculata var. clavispica generally has "a laxer, more ample inflorescence with clavate branches, each with a long, slender bracteate sterile base" (Luther 1993).  Tillandsia  fasciculata var. fasciculata rosette tends to be more spreading with dark grey green leaves and longer floral bracts (40-48 mm) than  T. fasciculata var. densispica which has grey or silver leaves and 20-30 mm long floral bracts (Luther 1993).

Subspecific and related varieties of the  T. fasciculata complex have a perceived affinity to one another based on morphological characters... Due to poor herbarium material, close morphology, and unclear taxonomic boundaries, the T. fasciculata complex is an enigma and needs revision...

Significance of the Study

The product of my research will be a complete taxonomic account of the Tillandsia fasciculata complex... the first taxonomic account of a bromeliad complex based on morphological and genetic markers... My work will provide keys, illustrations, maps and species descriptions that will allow workers from all fields of biology and forestry to identify plants with confidence.  Again, the conservation significance is noteworthy, as we must understand what we have before investing precious conservation dollars.  Resource managers in the Caribbean are eager to have solid taxonomic studies of difficult groups.

Brian's research is under the advisement of Dr. Javier Francisco Ortega (FIU) and Dr. Scott Zona (Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden).  He will travel in Florida and in Cuba to visit local herbaria and to observe plants in the wild.  In Cuba he will travel with his Cuban counterpart, a graduate student doing her doctoral work on Tillandsia.

For more information about the Endowment Grant program and other awardees, see DCFNPS members, usually FIU graduate students, have received grants almost every year.   Please consider donating to the Endowment Fund when you renew your membership! 

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TALKING NATIVE:The Satinleaf Fruit * Chrysopyllus oliviforme

 "The Satinleaf tree grows wild in the West Indies as it does in southern Florida and, in the Bahamas, is known as the Saffron tree. Closely related to the Star Apple, it is similar though more slender and the undersides of its leaves are satiny and a coppery reddish-brown.

 "The Satinleaf fruit, called also Olive Plum, Bui and Caimitillo, diminutive of Caimito, the Spanish name for the star apple, is dark purple, nearly black of skin, and has light purple pulp containing a white milky sap.  The pulp, which has a mild sweet flavor, much like that of the Blueberry, is soft and melts in the mouth, but the skin is objectionably rubbery, so much so that it appeals to the native children as a pseudo 'chewing gum.'   The fruit is accordingly gathered and eaten out-of-hand, as a fresh raw fruit... The fruits make an excellent jelly of fine texture and beautiful color  ...  It deserves cultivation in gardens for the beauty of its foliage, with its jelly-yielding fruits as a by-product."

[Excerpted from Fifty Tropical Fruits of Nassau by Kendal and Julia Morton, Text House, Coral Gables, FL., 1946.  Previously in the January, 2000, Tillandsia.]

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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: 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.

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