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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January, 2005

In This Issue


Tuesday, January 25, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden 10901 Old Cutler Road.  The meeting is free and open to the public.

"Propagation: Not Just Seeds" – Rob Campbell, native plant grower.

The plant world is full of surprises.  Among them is the surprising variety of ways that plants can be propagated.  Rob Campbell, grower for Plant Creations Nursery, will discuss how the adaptations of plants can be used to our advantage when propagating.  The very adaptations that help plants survive can be used to encourage greater vigor.  Alternative ways of producing plants asexually, both common and uncommon, will be shown.  Rob has been a grower of native plants for 28 years and a member of FNPS from the beginning of the chapter.

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors: Tom Brown (drinks and ice) and Bob and Massy Mihm, Carrie Cleland, Barbara McAdam, Marge Brown (snacks).  We welcome additions to the refreshment table and raffle plant donations (please check your plants for lobate lac scale).

Feb. 22: Roger Hammer -- South Florida Morning-Glories and Their Relatives. 

Mar. 22: Marguerite Beckford -- Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program, Florida Friendly Landscaping.

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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 printed newsletter mailed each month to members. Collecting is not permitted. Please join today so that you can enjoy all the benefits of membership!

Saturday, January 29: Dove Creek and Snake Creek Hammocks, Florida Keys Wildlife Management Area. 

In an effort to purchase the remaining natural areas in the Keys, the State of Florida under the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has purchased lands from Key Largo to Sugarloaf Key, collectively referred to as the Florida Keys Wildlife Management Area.  Although the FFWCC lands are usually for hunting, it is not allowed in these areas.  At Dove Creek we will walk on a short trail as well as off-trail in rockland hammocks, buttonwood hammocks and tidal swamp fringe.  We will see tropical natives, some rare in the wild, including princewood, pearl berry and prickly apple cactus.  Steve Woodmansee will be our leader. 

Print a plant list in advance from The Institute for Regional Conservation's Web site, http://www.regionalconservation.org/. Register to get a password.

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Monthly meetings are on third Wednesdays, November through April (location varies). Field trips are on the Saturday following most meetings.  To receive email reminders of Keys Group activities, send your request to douville@bellsouth.net.

NEXT KEYS MEETING: Wednesday, January 19.

Kim Gable of the Monroe County Extension Service will present "Proper Pruning Techniques and Environmentally Friendly Landscape Maintenance."

Time: 7 p.m. -- plant identification workshop (bring cuttings of interesting/mystery plants); 7:30 -- meeting.

Location: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Visitor Center in Key Largo (US Highway 1, MM 102.5).  Because this is after park hours, you must enter the main gate between 7 and 7:30 p.m..  The gate will be locked before and after that time. 

For more information: call Jim Duquesnel at 305-522-8487.

NEXT KEYS FIELD TRIP: Saturday, January 22. Lignumvitae Key State Botanical Site.  Reservation required. Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and their invited guests. Collecting is not permitted.  Please join so that you can enjoy all the activities!

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FNPS members and their guests are invited to yard visits.  Please join so that you can enjoy all the activities!

Sunday, January 23, 10 a.m. - noon.    

We will be visiting a private home located on the north edge of what was a seasonal slough. Remnants of the slough are evident in the area and especially along the south boundary of this property where several cypress trees still stand.  The terrain slopes upward through a transition zone to what was once part of Dade County's pine rockland.  The change in elevation from south to north is approximately 12 feet!

When the residents moved in, the south portion (transition zone) of the property was a hardwood hammock - live oak, gumbo limbo, wild coffee etc.  They planted many more trees, to diversify the canopy, and smaller under story plants.  Water tolerant plants were added to the area around the course of the old slough, which remains wetter than the rest of the property.  The north side of the property has undergone a massive planting of Dade County pine, saw palmetto and other pineland plants in an attempt to reproduce a small pineland environment.  A circular driveway on the east was removed and replaced with many native specimens in a more formal landscape setting. 

This is a great opportunity to see hammock, pineland and wet tolerant plants both in a natural and more formal setting.  We will learn about the experience of planting and maintaining this wonderful variety of native plants.

This visit is part of an ongoing opportunity for those who wish to know the natives in a hands-on manner and to see them in various settings, formal and informal, and to learn the property owner's successes and failures at growing them.  These visits are being offered approximately once every two or three months.  For information call Gwlady Scott at 305-238-8901.

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Saturday, February 5,  9a.m. -- noon.   Join chapter volunteers in light maintenance on our project at the Coe Visitors Center.  Gloves, tools and some drinks are provided, but you may want to bring your own as well as a water bottle and refreshments to share.  Bring family and friends!  Your whole car gets in free to the park the rest of the day.  What better season to do a little work, chat with friends and then visit the park?  Call Patty (305-255-6404) for more information.

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Native Plant Day, our annual public event, will be at the Crandon Park Visitors and Nature (Key Biscayne).  It's a full day of learning for adults and children, plant sales and an all-around good time. Plan to attend and/or volunteer and start telling your friends and neighbors!  Program topics and speakers will include coastal trees (Roger Hammer), landscaping on canal banks and lakes (Ron Mossman), restoration of imperiled plants at Crandon Park beach (Sam Wright), alternatives to St. Augustine grass (Steve Woodmansee), landscape design (Wendy Saltzburg), and more.  Also, outdoor programs on tree care/selection, pruning, getting started with your landscaping; nature walks; displays; activities by Biscayne Nature Center.  Complete details will be in the February newsletter and on the chapter web site in late January.

Please contact Steve Woodmansee (305-595-5541, smwood@bellsouth.net) if you can help, have suggestions, can post announcements in another group's newsletter, or would like to participate as a vendor of plants or plant-related items.

Plants to donate to the raffles or chapter sale?  Now is the time to start grooming them.  Most desired are wildflowers or other herbaceous plants (4" to 1gallon) and less-common trees and shrubs (1 to 3 gallon).  The abundance of donations in the past has been very appreciated, but this year please pick just a few of your best to keep the raffles shorter and minimize the number of unsold plants we have to take home.  If the pots are broken, plants are too small or recently potted up, unwieldy, root-bound, etc., please give them some TLC and save them for a later occasion.  Please contact Mary Rose at 305-378-0382 or jdrose6@bellsouth.net to donate plants.

Seeds needed: Amy Leonard will be providing some of the children's activities with her high school biology students.  If you can provide wild cotton or coreopsis seeds (or a good supply of other easy-to-sprout seeds) please contact Amy (305-668-5993, 305-458-0969 cell, aleonar74@yahoo.com

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The DCFNPS member surveys have been returned in impressive numbers.  Thank you!  It's not too late to send it in (see the November/December Tillandsia). The board soon will be considering your thoughtful and helpful comments.  Remember that all members can enhance the chapter's effectiveness.  Volunteer or donate when you can, greet your fellow plant-lovers at meetings, try to attend an activity if you haven't been doing so, and continue to give the board your input and support.

Thanks to chapter's volunteers and vendors at the Ramble in November – too many to name, but all appreciated.  Many visitors participated in our educational display activities, and 297 plants were sold (including 39 donated by members) for a grand total of $3094, with $232 going to the chapter.

FNPS Annual Fund.  FNPS members statewide have generously contributed $4300 to the 2004 Annual Fund Appeal thus far.  FNPS Administrative Services sends its deepest appreciation to all Dade Chapter donors.

The Palmetto, Fall 2004, issue should have arrived in your mailbox in December.  Don't miss the lowdown on lantanas by chapter member Roger Hammer and book review by Chuck McCartney, as well as all the other great articles and photos.

Chapter merchandise manager needed -- it's an easy way to help the chapter.  You will keep a few plastic bins and bring some merchandise to meetings, sell the merchandise and keep track of the sales. We'll have a helper or alternate as needed.  Please contact Steve (305-595-5541) to discuss the possibility.

Pots needed.  Several members are asking for 4" pots.  Please bring your extras to a meeting or call Patty at 305-255-6404.

Python hotline.  Skip Snow's program in November on Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park was greatly enjoyed by a large crowd (we aren't just plant geeks!)  If you see a python in the park, please report it to the hotline at 305-242-7827.

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VOLUNTEER!  The Rare Plant SWAT Team spends one Saturday morning per month removing invasive plants that directly threaten rare natives plants.  The next SWAT Team workday will be February 12, 8:45-Noon, at Whispering Pines Hammock (Cutler Ridge area).  We'll work farther in the interior this time, mostly removing Tectaria incisa (plant ID training provided.)  For more information or to join the team, contact Jennifer Possley at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (305-667-1651 ext. 3433, jpossley@fairchildgarden.org) or Cristina Rodriguez at Natural Areas Management (305-257-0933 ext. 230, cristir@miamidade.gov).

Tropical Audubon Society.  5530 Sunset Drive. 305-667-7337, www.tropicalaudubon.org for details and more events. Meeting are free and open to the public 

  • Jan. 12 meeting:  Nancy Moreland:  "African Wildlife", slides from Kenya and Tanzania. (Doors open 7:30, program 8 p.m.). Feb. 9 meeting: Earthwatch volunteering and slides of expeditions around the world. (Doors open 7:30, program 8 p.m.)
  • Jan. 15, Feb. 12  workdays, 8:30 - noon.  Help restore and learn about native pineland at the Doc Thomas House.
  • Feb. 13 field trip:  Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.  Reservation required by January 30, fee applies.

Dade Native Plant Workshop.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Bill Sadowski Park, 1/2 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).  January 18: Tidal swamp (mangrove forest plants.)

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See www.miamiblue.org for schedule of activities. Feb. 6, 1 p.m. meeting at Castellow Hammock and lots more opportunities to learn to "butterfly" with knowledgeable members.

VOLUNTEER!  TREEmendous Miami has monthly projects planting native and non-native trees.  To volunteer or learn more, see www.treemendousmiami.org or call 305-378-1863. Upcoming plantings need you!  Saturday, January 22, 9 a.m. – planting trees from DERM's Adopt-A-Tree program for senior/disabled in the Homestead area.  More on Feb. 5, 27, March 6, 19.

VOLUNTEER!  Natural Area Management Volunteer Workdays.  9 a.m.-noon.   Contact 305-257-0933 or http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/natural_areas.asp for more information. 

  • Jan.22: Deering Estate (SW 168 St and 72 Ave.);
  • Feb 5: (Kendall Indian Hammocks, 11345 SW 79 St..)

Citizens for A Better South Florida. January 22, Virrick Park Native Plant Event, West Coconut Grove (3255 Plaza St.).  Help Citizens plant a native butterfly garden to be used as a learning tool for children enrolled in the after school science program and for the enjoyment of all visitors to the park.  Free native plant raffle.  RSVP to Alex at 305-648-0000. 

  • February (date TBA): Morningside / Little Haiti Native Plant Celebration -- an afternoon of education, fun, planting , and sale at affordable prices.  See www.abettersouthflorida.com or call Alex.

Miami-Dade College Environmental Center, Kendall Campus.  The Center offers visits for school groups and birthday parties.  Call 305-237-2600 or 305-237-2538 for additional information on these and other classes, including organic and veganic gardening.

  • Jan. 14 and Feb. 18: Teacher Planning Day Camps (ages 5-11), , nature games, crafts, outdoor activities. 
  • Feb. 19: Landscaping with Florida Natives (instructor Mario Yanez).  The Center offers visits for school groups and birthday parties.  Call 305-237-2600 or  305-237-2538 for additional information on these and other classes, including organic and veganic gardening.

The Marathon Garden Club presents a series of Keys Friendly Gardening classes for the Keys.   Call 743-4971.

  • Jan. 19 Garden gremlins-garden art; 
  • Jan.26 Attracting songbirds & other feathered friends; 
  • Feb. 16 Secrets of a Keys friendly Master Gardener; more on Feb. 23 and March 2.

The Nature Conservancy Greensweep workdays in the Keys.  Contact Chuck Byrd at 745-8402 or chuck_byrd@tnc.org.

How about a trip to north Florida?  The Rally for the Ocklawaha River (Feb 19-20) is a weekend full of great field trips, a big party and beginning of  "The People's Restoration."  It's an opportunity to have fun and make a difference in the ongoing struggle to restore the Ocklawaha.  See www.fladefenders.org or contact Karen Ahlers, Putnam Co. Env. Council, (352) 546-3560 or PCECRiverRally@hotmail.com

Biscayne National Park Discovery Series Lectures at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club.  Jan. 12, Gifts from the Sea (insights into flotsam and jetsam) ; Feb. 9, Blood-feeding Behavior in Mosquitoes.  And more!  See www.nps.gov/bisc or call 305-230-7275, ext 0.

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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Thomas E. Lodge: The Everglades Handbook: Understanding the Ecosystem, Second Edition – a new release from CRC Press ($49.95).

Earlier this year the second edition of The Everglades Handbook was released.  Like the first edition, it has attracted academic attention with classroom orders from FIU, Broward Community College, and Ransom Everglades, and an order for the three main National Park Service bookstores in South Florida.  In total, the first edition was used for courses by at least 14 academic institutions.  The second edition is thoroughly revised and updated and contains additional chapters on the Big Cypress Swamp, Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades headwaters, and "Synthesis" – a chapter devoted to diagrams of plant community succession and food chains.  Appropriate chapters contain expanded lists of characteristic plants.  There is a color insert of satellite images and photographs and a thorough update on invasive species and Everglades restoration.

"Dr. Lodge manages to pack more information on a page than anyone else…."  -- Audubon of the Everglades (Palm Beach County) Everglade Kite newsletter

"[The Everglades Handbook] is far and away the best guide now in print to Everglades issues – authoritative, well illustrated, well indexed and readable."  -- Martha Musgrove, retired journalist and President, Decision Makers Forum.


by Roger L. Hammer

Many of you native-plant aficionados have probably noticed that the botanical names of some plants have undergone nomenclatural changes over the years, causing us to collectively ask that age-old question, "Huh?" This is especially true when the name change involves a plant that we all know and love, and suddenly we find that the name we've been using for decades is deemed to be incorrect, misapplied or even illegitimate.  One Florida native plant that has been through a number of name changes over the past century is a primitive palm-like plant known as "coontie." Coontie belongs to a group of non-flowering, seed-bearing plants called cycads—with fossil records in Florida dating as far back as 40 million years ago. Coontie is placed in the genus Zamia, and there is either 1 species in Florida or as many as 4 species. If you are a taxonomic "lumper" then there is but a single species that ranges from southeastern Georgia through Florida, the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Cayman Islands. If you are a taxonomic "splitter" then this region harbors up to 14 species. Huh? 

Turn to Page 1 (of 1,554 pages!) in John Kunkel Small's  imposing Manual of the Southeastern Flora (University of North Carolina Press, 1933) and the first genus described is Zamia. Read on and you will find that Small described 4 separate species of Zamia in Florida. Using his botanical key you must first determine if the blades of the leaflets are "of a narrow type, 8-20-veined, entire or obscurely toothed at the apex." If so then you have 3 species from which to choose. If the leaflets are "close together on the rachis, mostly less than 11 cm. long," then you have found Zamia integrifolia. If the blades of the leaflets are "rather distant on the rachis, mostly over 12 cm. long," then the plant is Zamia angustifolia. But if the blades of the leaflets are "broadly linear, 14-20-veined, 10 mm. wide or more" then the key refers you to Zamia silvicola. If, however, the blades of the leaflets are "of a broad type, 20­-30-veined" and "evidently callous-toothed at the apex" then the key leads you to Zamia umbrosa. Furthermore, Small described their Florida range and habitats as such:

Zamia integrifolia:  Dry sandy pinelands or rarely coastal dunes, peninsular and North Florida, and occasionally the Florida Keys.

Zamia angustifolia: Humus, wet hammock islands, between Royal Palm Hammock and Cape Sable.

Zamia silvicola: Humus, rich sandy soil, aboriginal village sites, and shell mounds, peninsular Florida.

Zamia umbrosa: Hammocks, sand dunes, and shell mounds, NE Florida—primarily a hammock plant and especially abundant on the kitchen-middens and aboriginal village sites of the upper eastern coast.

Small lists Zamia floridana as a synonym of Zamia integrifolia, and he lists Zamia pumila as a synonym of Zamia umbrosa. If all of this is sounding a bit confusing, fear not because many taxonomists now regard all of these species as nothing more than morphologically diverse forms of Zamia pumila, with a natural range that encompasses coastal southeastern Georgia through Florida, the Bahamas (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, Long Island, and New Providence), the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica), and the small Cayman Islands northwest of Jamaica.

But one thing that taxonomists are profoundly adept at is arguing over the "correct" names of plants. Some taxonomists believe that the Florida (and Georgia) plants should be referred to as Zamia integrifolia. William Aiton first described this species in 1789 from a plant collected near the Halifax River in present-day Volusia County. Others say this name is illegitimate because Aiton referred to Zamia pumila as a synonym of Z. integrifolia when describing the species. This, some taxonomists argue, would mean that the "correct" name should be Zamia floridana, described in 1868 from plants collected north of Tampa by Alphonse de Candolle.  If you follow this train of thought then Zamia floridana is what you would call the plants in Florida with narrow leaflets. The plants with wide leaflets would then be referable to Zamia umbrosa, described by John Kunkel Small in 1921 from specimens collected somewhere near the St. Johns River.

Or you can follow the logic of other taxonomists and just call them all Zamia pumila. Or simply call them Coontie and be done with it!


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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