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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September, 2004

In This Issue


Tuesday, September 28, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road. The meeting is free and open to the public.

"Those Wacky Orchids ... And How Our Native Species Fit In" -- Chuck McCartney.

The orchid family, with more than 25,000 species, is the most diverse of the plant families, with representatives found in every terrestrial environmental niche except Arctic/Antarctic ice and absolute deserts. The plants and flowers come in a dizzying array of sizes, shapes and colors. Native orchid enthusiast Chuck McCartney will give us an overview of this fascinating plant family, then show how some of our 60 or so native species in South Florida fit in with the rest of the family. Chuck, a South Florida native species himself, is former editor of the American Orchid Society's publications and writes and lectures frequently on native orchid and wildflower topics.

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Susan Walcutt and Larry Whipple (drinks and ice) and Allyn Golub, Lynka Woodbury, Barbara McAdam, Chris Migliaccio (snacks). We welcome additions to the refreshment table and raffle plant donations (please check your plants for lobate lac scale).

October 26: "Natives for Your Neighborhood" – George Gann, Institute for Regional Conservation.

November 23: Skip Snow of Everglades National Park will discuss exotic animal species.

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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!

September 25 – Martinez Pineland in South Dade. Wildflowers in this recently-acquired preserve should be in full bloom. (See a complete description of the site on the next page.) This field trip is a rare opportunity to visit a preserve without open access.

October 9: Tradewinds Park (Broward County). Most of this 599-acre park is devoted to recreation. However, the southwest portion is an environmental gem, giving a tantalizing hint of how botanically rich Broward County once was. The easy Cypress Trail boardwalk will take us through a mature cypress forest to a Pond Apple swamp that looks like it could have been displaced from the Big Cypress of Southwest Florida.

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The Planning Committee for the Keys activities met in August and is currently planning this year's schedule of events. There will be monthly meetings, the third Wednesday of each month, from November through April. Meeting places will rotate between three locations in Key Largo, Marathon, and Key West. There will be a field trip on the following Saturday. Watch for details of the next meeting and field trip (November 17 and 20) in the next Tillandsia.

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Upcoming activities — save the date! Details next month.

Welcome New Members!

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Dade Native Plant Workshop. 3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Bill Sadowski Park, ˝ mile west of Old Cutler Road on SW 176 St. Study of plant ID and taxonomy. Call Steve Woodmansee (305-247-6547) or Roger Hammer (305-242-7688). September 21: Identifying butterfly larval host 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. September 15: Topic TBA.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc. See www.miamiblue.org for a host of activities, including local "butterflying" field trips on September 18 and 25.

Adopt-a-Tree. Miami-Dade homeowners may select 2 free trees per year. September 25 at Miami-Dade College, North Campus (11380 NW 27 Ave.). This month: wild tamarind, paradise tree, inkwood (native) and lancepod, avocado (non-invasive fruit and shade trees). Event hotline, 305-372-6555 or www.miamidade.gov/derm/adoptatree. Personal assistance and volunteering: 305-468-5900 or adoptatree@miamidade.gov.

Tropical Audubon Society. 5530 Sunset Drive. 305-667-7337or www.tropicalaudubon.org, for details and more events. Sept 11: workday, 8:30 - noon. Restore native pineland at the Doc Thomas House. Sept. 22: Conservation meeting. Miami-Dade Growth Management 101: Intro to the Comprehensive Development Master Plan and Land Use Policies. Sept 25-26: NATIVE PLANT SALE. Oct. 10: Beginning Botany walk at Matheson Hammock (reservation and fee apply for walks.)

Miami-Dade College Environmental Center, Kendall Campus. Activities for children and adults at its 8.5 acre nature preserve with pristine lake, pine rockland, hammock, butterfly garden, native plantings, organic garden, animals. 9/18: Landscaping with Fl. Natives. 9/20-11/8: Arborist Certification. 10/23: Enjoying Wild South Florida. 9/16 and 10/16: Science and Nature Camp. And more!  305-237-2600 or http://www.mdc.edu/kendall/ce/ for more info and registration.

TREEmendous Miami needs volunteers to plant trees in community projects and Adopt-A-Tree for senior/disabled homeowners. 305-378-1863 or www.treemendousmiami.org.

The Nature Conservancy, Florida Keys. Volunteer workdays begin Nov. 6 at Sea Oats Beach in Islamorada. In October enjoy the Fl. Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival, Tropical Crane Point Hammock, Marathon (Oct 1-3, www.keysbirdingfestival.com) and National Wildlife Refuge Week (Oct 10-16, refuges.fws.gov).

Gifford Arboretum, University of Miami. Workshops and lectures. Free! 305-284-5364 or Sept. 25: The Life of Unusual Tropical Trees, Dr. Guillermo Goldstein. Oct. 9: Container Palms, De Armand Hull. More later!

Mary Ann Bolla, Ph.D.
Unusual And Out Of Print Books
Botany, Horticulture, Gardening,
Florida History
Data and Book Searches

Call/email for latest  list

191 Lowe St,
Tavernier, FL 33070
Phone/Fax: 305-852-0242
Email: bollam@bellsouth.net

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The Martinez Pineland, which is adjacent to the Army Reserve station and Larry and Penny Thompson Park in South Dade, was acquired by Miami‑Dade County Parks in May 2003 when it was declared surplus by the federal government. Thanks to great supporting efforts by the Tropical Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, the Institute for Regional Conservation, and Florida Natural Areas Inventory, a piece of rare pineland was preserved rather than used for a new school. Natural Areas Management (NAM) manages the property with funding by the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) program.

The site is pine rockland grading into transverse glade, with the marl prairie still existing despite regional drainage. This is the only functioning transverse glade habitat outside Everglades National Park. Most marl prairies were converted into farmland early in the development of Dade County because they had a lot of soil and needed little clearing. Others were dredged for canals.

Portions of Martinez Pineland are sandy, and acid loving blueberries and fetterbush occur in some places. Over 25 rare species are present on the site. At this time of year, wildflowers in all habitats on the site should be nice. Don't miss the September 25 field trip!

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In an effort to protect rare butterfly native host plants along the Keys US1 corridor, the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) requested that FDOT install "No Mow" signs to alert their contractors and crews to not mow or weed-whack butterfly host plants not posing hazard to safety. One sign has already been installed on West Summerland Key.

For the rest of the Keys US1, they would like to receive lists of native host plants with proper names, locations, their butterfly species, and any other pertinent info. With help from NABA's Alana Edwards, Janice Duquesnel (FLDEP biologist), and checking the NABA Miami Chapter website, http://www.miamiblue.org/, this is a list of what we should look for:

  • balloon vine (Cardiospermum corindum), nickerbean (Caesalpinia bonduc, C. major), blackbead and cat claw (Pithecellobium spp.) - Miami blue, Silver-banded hairstreak
  • blackbead (Pithecellobium keyensis) - Large orange sulfur
  • pineland croton (Croton linearis), applies to Big Pine only - FL Leafwing and Bartram's Scrub-Hairstreak
  • bay cedar (Suriana maritima) - Martial Scrub-Hairstreak
  • Galactia spp. - Zestos Skipper
  • crabwood (Gymnanthes lucida) - FL Purplewing
  • native blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) - Tropical buckeye
  • Jamaica caper (Capparis cynophallophora), limber caper (C. flexuosa) - FL white
  • coinvine (Dalbergia ecastaphyllum) - Statira sulphur
  • crimson diclyptera (Dicliptera sexangularis) - Cuban crescent
  • pineland and sweet acacia (Acacia pinetorum, A. farnesiana) - Nickerbean blue
  • torchwood (Amyris elemifera), wild lime (Zanthoxylum fagara) - Schaus and Bahamian, and Giant swallowtails
  • coontie (Zamia pumila) - Atala
  • native Senna (Senna mexicana var. chapmanii) - Cloudless, Orange-barred, and Sleepy-orange sulfurs
  • milkweed vine (Sarcostemma clausum), pepper grass (Lepidium virginicum) - serve some of the above species as well more common ones [Zebra longwing, Gulf fritillary, Julia, Giant swallowtail, Orange sulphur, Florida white, White peacock, Phaon crescentspot, Dotted hairstreak and various skippers]

FDOT also suggested that if you are aware of other particularly robust larger groups of plants which are important as rare butterfly nectar plants, please send those locations as well. Some possible additions: native lantanas (Lantana involucrata, L. depressa), wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), passionflower vines (Passiflora spp.), necklace pod (Sophora tomentosa), sea oxeye daisies (Borrichia spp.), wild poinsettia spp., sea lavender (Argusia gnaphalodes), Bahama strongbark (Bourreria succulenta), bush geiger (Cordia globosa), fire bush (Hamelia patens), white indigo berry (Randia aculeata), goatweed (Capraria biflora), saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia), cheeseweed (Morinda royoc), saffron plum (Sideroxylon celastrinum), fleabane (Pluchea carolinensis, P. odorata), yellow top (Flaveria linearis), bladder mallow (Herissantia crispa)

At the direction of Mr. Kevin Baker, FDOT Marathon, the best way to notify FDOT is to email or fax Mr. John Palenchar, District Environmental Permits Coordinator, john.palenchar@dot.state.fl.us, 305-499-2308.

If you have other questions, please call 305-745-3402, Tina Henize. Also please check naba.org for more information and butterfly survey forms.

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                   by Chuck McCartney

Newcomers to the botanical world of native plants (and some old-timers) have trouble with two basic words that we use all the time in talking about the scientific names of plants: genus and species. It's not so much the concept that they don't understand. Rather, it's the basic grammar of the words themselves

The binomial (two-word) scientific naming system devised by Swede Karl von Linne (Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus) for naturally occurring living organisms (as opposed to manmade hybrids) consists of a genus (the first word in the combination) and a species epithet. The genus aims to define a group of organisms sharing a number of similar characteristics that indicate a close genetic relationship. The species concept, although often debated among scientists, defines a group of organisms that look mostly alike, are genetically similar and readily interbreed. Human beings, for example, belong to the genus Homo (including an historic series of more or less intelligent great apes) and the species sapiens (meaning "wise," although in some members of the group, that's up for debate).

In native plants, we have, for example, the pretty Florida Butterfly Orchid, known scientifically as Encyclia tampensis. The genus name (the first word) is from Greek and means "encircling" because in the type species for which the genus was created (from Brazil), the side lobes of the labellum (the lip, a modified and usually showy petal) wrap around the column, the orchid's distinctive reproductive structure. The species epithet (the second word in the name) means "from Tampa" because the first plants given this name were sent to English botanist John Lindley from the Tampa Bay area in the mid-1800s.

Amateurs are pretty much OK with this concept. But the word "genus" throws them. "Genus" (pronounced JEEN-us, and not GIN-us) is the singular form of the word. The word for more than one genus is "genera," the plural form of "genus." Thus, you can say: "Encyclia is a genus of tropical American orchids." However, you would say: "Encyclia and Epidendrum are genera of tropical American orchids."

The word "species" also is often misused by amateurs. "Species" is the same as both a singular and plural. Thus, you can have one species or you can have many species. It's like the word "deer," where you have one deer or three deer. Far too often, you will hear the word "specie" used when a novice is referring to a single species. But "specie" means something altogether different. Look it up in the dictionary. You'll be surprised at the definition. It doesn't have anything to do with plants.

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                   by Roger Hammer

[Reprinted from the January, 1993, Tillandsia]

Botanical names are baffling to many people, although those same people seldom realize that their vocabulary already includes the generic (genus) names of many commonly cultivated plants. The word "Bougainvillea" rolls off people's tongues with ease, as does "Hibiscus", Gardenia", "Magnolia", "Poinsettia" and even "Philodendron". All of these commonly used names are generic names of plants that have somehow gained familiarity in the vocabulary of many gardeners. Although they are "botanical names", they are used in the same manner as common names. Without realizing it, people who would not confess to knowing Latin names are, in fact, using them frequently, This, of course, is not to belittle the loathsome reputation that botanical names harbor in people's minds. However, if you truly have a desire to learn plants, then you will have to pay at least some attention to botanical literature. It is usually quite difficult to find information on a plant if all you know is its common name. And let's face it, even common names can be confusing. Broom-sedge is a grass, and saw-grass is a sedge!

Botanical names are usually taken from Greek or Latin and, unlike common names, are international in scope. One reason that many people cower at even the thought of learning scientific names is that many of them look downright intimidating. Take a look at the cumbersome name of a small, native plant that grows on our beach dunes and is commonly known as "seaside spurge". This plant has leaves that superficially resemble a plant in the genus Mesembryanthemum, so this character is reflected in the name Chamaesyce mesembrianthemifolia. Such a name would probably have intimidated Linnaeus himself. So we find ourselves staring at names like Abildgaardia, Accoelorrhaphe, Monanthochloe and Kosteletzkya and then wonder if this is some sort of a communist plot.

Learning scientific names is actually easier than might be expected. First, try to learn plant names one or two at a time. Don't feel overwhelmed or frustrated on FNPS field trips that may bombard you with plant names. Pick a couple of plants that you wish to learn and, after two or three outings seeing these same plants, you will become familiar with them. Look them up in reference books and learn more about them. Perhaps the scientific name means something that will help you remember the plant.

Take for example the well-known sea-grape. The botanical name of sea-grape is Coccoloba uvifera. The generic name Coccoloba is from the Greek kokkos, meaning "berry", and lobos, meaning "lobed" (the fruit, although not true berries, are distinctly lobed at the tip). The specific name uvifera is taken from the Latin uva and means "grape-bearing". Take a look at a fruiting sea-grape and you will see lobed fruit hanging in grape-like clusters. Keep in mind too that even taxonomists and botanists have a sense of humor, and Carolus Linnaeus was no exception. It was Linnaeus who described and named the native plant that we commonly call Jamaica caper. This handsome little tree bears the botanical name Capparis cynophallophora. The name Capparis is the classical name of the common caper, Capparis spinosa, native to the Mediterranean region, the flower buds of which are picked and eaten. The specific name cynophallophora alludes to the shape of the fruit of Jamaica caper and means "bearing a dog's penis". And you thought this botany stuff was boring!

Another of my favorite names involves a poisonous tree native to coastal areas of southern Florida. Manchineel is a tree that produces delicious-looking, apple-like fruits that can be fatal if eaten. The botanical name, Hippomane mancinella, literally translates to "little apple that poisons horses". A fitting botanical warning.

So just try to remember that those dreaded scientific names aren't nearly as scary as they look, and some of them even have an interesting story behind them. Stop saying "that fuzzy-leaved plant with the blue flowers in the Everglades" and start saying "Look! There's Ruellia succulenta!"

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In the July/August, 2004, Tillandsia article about native plant insect pests, some errors were made in the web site addresses listed for more information. Please use the correct addresses at – past newsletters.

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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 ( 305-595-5541, 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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