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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February, 2005

In This Issue


Tuesday, February 22, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  The meeting is free and open to the public.

"South Florida's Morning-Glories and Their Relatives" – Roger Hammer, Senior Interpretive Naturalist, Miami-Dade Parks.

Roger will present a photographic review of the native and naturalized morning glory species with discussion of their historic uses as food, medicines and hallucinogens and in folklore and religious ceremonies, as well as their uses in the home landscape. "Father Nature" is the naturalist for Castellow Hammock Nature Center, author of two books, Everglades Wildflowers and Florida Keys Wildflowers, a frequent lecturer and writer for many publications, and member of FNPS.

We welcome additions to the refreshment table and raffle plant donations (please check your plants for lobate lac scale).

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

Apr. 26: Planting for Pollinators – Suzanne Koptur.

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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. Children are welcome. 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!

Sunday, February 20: Coastal Prairie Trail and Flamingo area, Everglades National Park.  This time of year, we hope to enjoy the interesting array of coastal prairie plants in relative comfort, but if the mosquitoes are bad, we may go to some nearby trails.  We will also botanize in a 25-acre area next to Flamingo with an interesting and unique history.  Previously chocked with Brazilian pepper, the Park wood-chipped the whole area in the summer of 2003.  By December pepper resprouts were widespread.  The area was allowed to dry and grow until May 2004, when it was burned in a hot fire.  Regrowth from this burn is now extensive but is not predominately Brazilian pepper.  As the area includes some wetland, the plants are quite varied.

Print plant lists by conservation area before field trips 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, February 16.  "Medicinal Plants of the Keys" presented by Steve Baker.

March 16 program: Mary Ann Bolla, "Tropical Fruits and Their Native Plant Relatives in South Florida" (Marathon).

NEXT KEYS FIELD TRIP: Saturday, February 19.

Jeff Stotts will lead a tour of Key West's Indigenous Park and nearby coastal communities. Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and their invited guests. Collecting is not permitted.  Children are welcome. Please join so you can enjoy all the chapter activities.

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As you can see from the online flier, this year's Native Plant Day (our 10th one) has plenty to offer.  We hope that you will be able to attend some of the programs and walks.  We also need your help.

Any more questions or suggestions?  Call Steve Woodmansee (305-595-5541, smwood@bellsouth.net)

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Do you know of a landscape or restoration that deserves to be recognized?   FNPS is seeking entries for this year's awards which will be presented at the Annual Conference in May.  The deadline is March 25.  Entries must have a minimum of 75% native plants, minimum of 2-year grow in period, and must not contain any exotic pest plants (as listed by the FL Exotic Pest Plant Council.)  There is a category for everyone – residential, commercial, institutional, schoolyard, ecosystem restoration, mitigation, transportation, butterfly garden, preservation.  Projects can be owner or professionally designed.  Application forms and details are at www.fnps.org (or call Patty Phares, 305-255-6404, if you don't have Internet access.)  Applicants do not need to be FNPS members.  Non-professional residential category applicants are especially desired.  Toot your own horn – it's helping to get native plant noticed and inspiring others to "go native."

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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, mostly removing Tectaria incisa.  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.

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).  February 15: Aroids (Araceae.)

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See www.miamiblue.org for schedule of activities, including lots of opportunities to "butterfly" with the experts.  The February meeting was postponed until later in the month. 

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!  Planting trees from DERM's Adopt-A-Tree program for senior/disabled:

Natural Area Management Volunteer Workdays.  9 a.m.-noon. Contact http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/natural_areas.asp or 305-257-0933. Feb 26: Seminole Wayside Park, US1 and SW 300 St.. Mar 12: Oak Grove Park, NE 159 St and 6 Ave.

Miami-Dade College Environmental Center, Kendall Campus. 

The Marathon Garden Club Keys Friendly Gardening Classes.   Call 743-4971. Feb. 16: Secrets of a Keys friendly Master Gardener. Additional programs Feb. 23 and Mar. 2.

Biscayne National Park Discovery Series Lectures at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. Mar. 9: Coming Full Circle: The Native Peoples of Biscayne Bay (Brenda Lanzendorf, Biscayne Nat. Park).  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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The Delicate Balance of Nature.  Tuesdays, 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm at John D. Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park's Visitor Center, MM 102.5 (gate open only from 7:00 pm -7:30 pm.)  Free, but seating is limited. For more information call  305-451-1202.

  • Feb. 8: A Dive Back in Time with Reef Relief (Joel Biddle)
  • Feb. 15: Native Palms of South Florida (Chris Migliaccio)
  • Feb. 22:  Fl. Keys National Marine Sanctuary (Billy Causey)
  • Mar. 1: Subsurface Geology of the Florida Keys (Don McNeill -- tentative)
  • Mar. 8:  Invasive Fauna in South Florida (Tom Jackson)
  • Mar. 15: Beyond the Lure of Shipwrecks:  the Archeology of the Florida Keys (Bob Carr)
  • Mar. 22: Butterflies - Treasures of South Fla. (Dennis Olle)
  • Mar. 29: Endangered Birds of the Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys (Stuart Pimm)


Three students will receive the Dade Chapter's 2005 George N. Avery Award for outstanding science fair projects.   DCFNPS judges Lynka Woodbury, Rita Woodbury and Allyn Golub selected the winners at the judging for the 51st South Florida Science and Engineering Fair on January 25 at Southland Mall.  The students will be invited to present their projects at an upcoming chapter meeting and will receive $50 book store gift certificates and subscription to the Tillandsia.  Congratulations to:

  • Sarah Bartleson and Evan Downs from the 8th grade at South Miami Middle School for their project "The Genetic Diversity of Red Mangrove, Rhizophora mangle, in Southern Florida.."  Their project recognized the importance of red mangroves in the ecology of Southern Florida and the need to understand their genetic diversity.  Analysis of DNA samples was used to evaluate the differentiation of red mangrove populations.
  • Ethan Addicott from the 7th grade at Highland Oaks Middle School for his project "Do Beaches Need Veggies Too?"  Ethan measured the width of beaches with different amounts of vegetation to show how plants play an important role in protecting beaches from erosion. 

The Avery Award recognizes projects that have enhanced the student's understanding of Florida native plants or native plant communities. Projects should be sound scientifically, but do not have to be very sophisticated as long as they are appropriate for the student's grade level.  In order to cultivate more interest in native plant entries and provide more visibility for the Avery Award, the judging committee is again seeking ideas for projects to forward to the School Board's Science Department.  Please send suggestions to Lynka Woodbury (ftgherb@fiu.edu) or Allyn Golub (allyng@gate.net).

George Avery, the award's namesake, was a self-taught botanist who was a mentor, inspiration and friend to many Dade County professional and amateur botanists. 


by Roger L. Hammer

Morning-glories are like monarch butterflies in that their common name has widespread recognition. The true morning-glories in the genus Ipomoea are well represented in Florida with 12 native species and 13 naturalized species. Today, the most widely known species on Earth is undoubtedly Ipomoea batatas, the cultivated sweet potato (and boniato). And there are several native species that are well known to Florida residents, and these are moonflower (Ipomoea alba), a familiar sight along fencerows with large showy white flowers that open at night and close in early morning, oceanblue morning-glory (Ipomoea indica var. acuminata), another common species along fencerows and in various natural habitats, with pinkish violet flowers, and railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae), that should be familiar to anyone who has stepped foot on Florida's sandy beaches. It is a common dune plant with long stems running up and down the dunes, and produces pinkish purple flowers. In ancient Hawaii the trumpet-shaped flowers of railroad vine were used as a soothing sheath following circumcision.

The name Ipomoea is Greek for "wormlike," an allusion to the twining growth habit of most species. As a group, the Morning-glory Family (Convolvulaceae) has been a source of medicines and horticultural ornamentals, but members of the family are also widely known in tropical America as a source of ceremonial and religious hallucinogens. The seeds of some of the 1,700 temperate and tropical family members contain lysergic acid derivatives similar to the fungus ergot, and were used by Aztec priests in religious ceremonies, magic, and as medicines "to cleanse the spirit." The seeds of Turbina corymbosa and Ipomoea violacea (both Florida native species) were known by the Aztecs as ololiuqui and tlitliltzin respectively, which were ground into a powder and then mixed with the ashes of insects and tobacco to form a paste. Aztec priests rubbed this on their body to numb the flesh and lose their fear before making human sacrifices to their gods, and also used ololiuqui to commune with spirits. One observer wrote "the natives communicate in this way with the devil, for they usually talk when drunk with ololiuqui and are deceived by the hallucinations which they attribute to the deity residing in the seeds." The seeds were highly revered and placed in the idols of Indian ancestors, making offerings to them in the strictest secrecy.

The sacred morning-glories of Mexico are still today used for divination, prophecy, and in diagnosing and treating illnesses. In almost all Oaxacan villages the seeds are used to treat illnesses in a manner that has been described as "a curious blending of old Indian beliefs and Christianity." The ill person collects the seeds (often 13 of them) and gives them to a virgin, usually a child, in a special ritualistic prayer service. Water is added, the resulting beverage is then strained, and the patient drinks it at night in silence. After more prayers the patient lies down next to a person who listens to what he or she says while hallucinating. This, they believe, determines the source of the illness.

Two Florida native species, rockland morning-glory (Ipomoea tenuissima) and man-in-the-ground (Ipomoea microdactyla) are state-listed endangered species that inhabit pine rocklands in southern Miami-Dade County. Rockland morning-glory has small 1/2" to 1" violet flowers on a rather petite vine that scrambles around on low vegetation. Man-in-the-ground may climb up into small trees where it shows off its stunning pinkish red blossoms. The common name refers to the underground tuberous root, much like the related sweet potato, that apparently may at times take on the shape of a human torso.

As ornamentals some morning-glories excel while others are overly aggressive and become seemingly hellbent on overwhelming everything—even large trees—in the landscape. So do your homework if you plan on utilizing any of them in your home landscape, and plant with due caution. If you have to call in for air strikes, don't say I didn't warn you!

Note: I  do not endorse the use of native plants for hallucinogenic recreational purposes.  It is illegal to do so and can be very dangerous to the user.


Common Name




Ipomoea alba


Mile-A-Minute Vine

Ipomoea cairica



Ipomea cordatotriloba 


Ivyleaf Morning-glory

Ipomoea hederacea

Tropical America

Scarlet Creeper

Ipomoea hederifolia


Oceanblue Morning-glory

Ipomoea indica var. acuminata



Ipomoea quamoclit



Ipomoea triloba

Tropical America

Heavenlyblue Morning-glory

Ipomoea violacea


(Note: Bush Morning-glory (Ipomoea carnea) is a cultivated shrub native to South America that readily escapes cultivation)


Beach Morning-glory

Ipomoea imperati


Ipomoea lacunosa


Ipomoea microdactyla

Railroad Vine

Ipomoea pes-caprae

Saltmarsh Morning-glory

Ipomoea sagittata

Rockland Morning-glory

Ipomoea tenuissima


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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