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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April, 2005

In This Issue




9 (Sat.): Everglades National Park chapter workday
10 (Sun.): Back to Nature Day, the Deering Estate (chapter table)
17 (Sun.): Okaloacoochee Slough in Hendry County
20 (Wed.): Keys Group monthly meeting
23 (Sat.): Yard visit (Dade)
26 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting.
30 (Sat.): Chapter sale at Fairchild spring plant sale.


12-15 (Thu.-Sun.): FNPS 25th Annual Conference, Melbourne
24 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting.
28 (Sat.): Dade field trip


Tuesday, April 26, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Gardening for Pollinators -- Dr. Suzanne Koptur, Professor of Botany, Florida International University.

The home garden provides a welcome respite for pollinators moving between natural habitat patches in the ever-more urbanized landscape.  Suzanne will discuss the importance of our gardens to these insects and the benefits of native plants in this role.  Dr. Koptur is a botanist who loves insects and other animals, and for the last twenty years has been studying the interactions of South Florida native plants with herbivores and pollinators.  She also has a growing interest in making and using ecological schoolyards in our community and is working on trying to bring more native wildflowers into cultivation for gardening in schoolyards and on roadsides.

Also, the recipients of the chapter's George Avery science fair awards for 2005 will give short presentations on their projects.

Thanks in advance to refreshment donors Gwladys Scott (drinks and ice), Marge Brown, Eve Gill, Allyn Golub, Robin Just, and Jo Woodmansee (snacks.) Additions to the refreshment table and raffle plant donations are always welcome! (Please check your plants for lobate lac scale.)

May  24: Miami-Dade's Environmentally Endangered Lands Program – Cristina Casada-Acorn, Miami-Dade DERM

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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! Call Gwen (305-372-6569) or Patty (305-255-6404) for more information or carpooling (from Dade).  If the weather is very bad, call to confirm before leaving home. 

Sunday, April 17: Okaloacoochee Slough in Hendry County.  We visited the "OK Sough" in October, 2003, and we liked it so much that we're going back in the dry season.  This area is a major headwater for the Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress National Preserve.  It contains largely undisturbed wetlands surrounded by oak, cabbage palm-dominated hydric hammocks, and pineland.  Spring wildflowers should be in bloom.  Worth the drive!

Difficulty: Moderate – off-trail walking, probably dry.
Bring/wear: Sun/bug protection, drinks to carry, lunch. 
Meeting time: 9 a.m.
Directions: Detailed irections in the printed newsletter
Driving distance: ~110 miles from Krome and Tamiami Trail, about 2.5 hours from South Miami.
Leader: Jean McCollom, FFWCC Biologist.

Saturday, May 28: Old Cutler Hammock at Bill Sadowski Park and Whispering Pines Hammock in their post-SWAT Team glory, now (almost) free of the invasive fern Tectaria incisa.  Details next month.

Print plant lists by conservation area before field trips from The Institute for Regional Conservation's Web site, www.regionalconservation.org.  Register to get a password.

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This is the final program of the season in the Keys.  No field trip is planned this month.  To receive email reminders of Keys Group activities, send your request to douville@bellsouth.net.  A meeting will be held in the next few months to start planning next year's activities (November-April).  If you might be willing to help and would like to find out what is involved, please call Beth at 305-872-5787.

MEETING: Wednesday, April 20.  Wildflower enthusiast Chuck McCartney will share his photos of the native orchids of Monroe County, from the Keys to the Big Cypress.

Time: 7 p.m. -- plant identification workshop (bring cuttings of interesting or mystery plants); 7:30 -- program, followed by refreshments and plant raffle.
Location:  John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Visitor Center in Key Largo (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.

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Saturday, April 23,  3 - 5 p.m.     Location: see printed newsletter

A native plant oasis in a desert of disinterest, this yard is an example of a very casual landscape on a small property in an older neighborhood near SW 184 Street and 117 Ave.. There are many species (all but a couple native), but the effect is very natural and not over-crowded. The plantings were started in the early 80s and little has been added in the 11 years since post-hurricane replacements, so this is a fairly mature landscape.  Patty says emphatically, "It is very low maintenance and it isn't fancy."  The front yard includes areas of wildflowers and low pineland herbs with a few medium-sized trees, including a beautiful 20 year old lignum vitae. Larger trees and shrubs in back serve as a visual barrier. There is a sunny space for volunteers she pots up. Favorite flora and fauna include a huge Tetrazygia, a blooming Man-in-the-Ground vine, and a small but persistent population of Florida banded tree snails.  On this visit you can learn to identify many plants, get ideas for informal, small-scale landscaping, learn about propagation of some species, and join in a discussion of everyone's plant experiences – successes and failures.

Yard Visits for New Learners provide an opportunity to learn the natives in a hands-on manner and to see them in various settings, formal and informal, and to learn about landscaping successes and failures.. These visits are held every two or three months.  For more information, call Gwlady Scott at 305-238-8901.

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Native Plant Day on March 5 was a success and enjoyed by the nearly 300 who came, many of them new faces.  I wish to thank everyone who helped, especially the many hardworking volunteers from the chapter and high school students and those from other organizations who brought displays.  Thanks to the contributors to the sale and raffle -- their donations created over half the income we received during the event.  Kudos to all who presented programs and led the walks – they did a fantastic job.  We appreciated the vendors who hauled their goods way out to Key Biscayne – W. Lawson Nursery, Plant Creations and Mary Ann Bolla with her books and jewelry –  and the other native plant nurseries who sent raffle plants.  Thanks to the Native Plant Day committee who helped me, including Amy Leonard, John Lawson, Phillip Pearcy, Lynka Woodbury, and especially co-chair Patty Phares.  Of course, we could not have managed without our cosponsors and the great help of Ernie Lynk and staff in Miami-Dade County Parks and Theo Long and staff of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center.  We're already thinking of next year's Native Plant Day, slated for March 4, 2006, at the Deering Estate at Cutler.
-- Steve Woodmansee, President, Dade Chapter FNPS

W. Lawson Nursery would like to express our thanks for your attendance and plant purchases at this year's Native Plant Day sale. Thanks also to the knowledgeable volunteers who helped us in the sale area.  We would also like to thank the dedicated organizers of this great event as well as the following wholesale nurseries for their contributions: Doug Ingram and Sons Nursery for the Sea Oats and Bay Cedar Native Tree Nursery for the Cinnamon Bark and Tropical Treeworks, Inc., for the West Indian Lilac.
-- John and Wendy Lawson

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ENP chapter workday, Saturday, April 9.   New volunteers, family, friends and kids are welcome and encouraged!  Pruning, weeding, tagging plants, good company and free admission to the park.  We also need volunteers for occasional herbicide spraying around the edges in between workdays.  Please call Patty, 305-255-6404.

Spring sale at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Saturday, April 30.  The chapter will participate with our nursery vendors, but we welcome plants  (native to Miami-Dade, Monroe or Broward County) donated by members.  Uncommon plants or wildflowers, passionflower vines and other herbaceous plants in 4" to 3 gallon pots are especially appreciated.  Contact Amy Leonard (305-668-5993, 305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com)

FNPS 25th Annual Conference, May 12-15, in Melbourne.  You should have received a brochure in the mail, but all the information and forms are also on www.fnps.orgThe early registration deadline was extended to April 9.  It isn't far and it's always fun and informative – why not go this time?  Call Patty at 305-255-6404 if you are looking to share a ride or room.

Notice of Annual Chapter Meeting, May 24.  The nominating committee is seeking new board members.  Yes , you can do it –  plant expertise is not required!  Secretary, Treasurer and Directors at Large will be elected this time.  Contact Amy Leonard (305-668-5993, 305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com).

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

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Landscape Technology Program

Maimi-Dade College - Kendall Campus

The Landscape Technology Department at Miami-Dade College is now accepting enrollment for the Summer 2005 term which begins May 9th. Learn through hands-on activities the skills that can be used for either a new career path in Landscaping or simply to expand your plant hobby interests. All classes are offered in the evenings and on Saturday to accommodate working students.

Summer 2005 courses:

NATIVE PLANT IDENTIFICATION & USAGE FOR SOUTH FLORIDA (#284279) – 12 wks. ( 05/09/2005 to 07/29/2005 ) – 3 cr. – TR 6:30 – 8:10 pm
Plants native to south Florida are identified and presented by their typical ecological communities (pineland, tropical hammock, coastal, Everglades marsh, and cypress swamp). Learn which plants are appropriate for use in urban landscapes as well as in ecological restorations.

LANDSCAPE PLANT DESIGN I (#285384) – 12 wks. ( 05/09/2005 to 07/29/2005 ) – 4 cr. – MW 6:45 – 9:00 pm
This course includes a review of the history of landscape design, landscape design principles with practice on the drawing board and a final design project. Prereq. One semester of plant identification.

PESTICIDE APPLICATION (#316176) – 6 wks. ( 05/09/2005 to 06/17/2005 ) – 3 cr. – MW 6:30 – 9:50 pm
The scope includes pesticide mixing and application, government regulations, equipment, and pesticide certifications. Limited certification is offered upon the completion of the course.

INTRODUCTION TO ECOLOGY (#285399) – 6 wks. ( 06/20/2005 to 07/29/2005 ) – 3 cr. – MW 10:25am – 12:40pm
An introduction to the principles of plant and animal ecology including population and ecosystem interactions and the environmental factors that influence life. The south Florida area will be the focal point of most discussions.

Students may register at any college campus. Classes with low enrollment will be closed on May 9! ENROLL EARLY! The cost per credit is $59.15. For questions contact Ronald Mossman, Program Director, at 305-237-2583, email: rmossman@mdc.edu or the Biology office at 305-237-2136.

Be sure to visit our website containing links to portals with information on Southeast Florida plants, ecology parks, etc.

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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 St.  Study of plant ID and taxonomy.  Call Steve Woodmansee (305-247-6547) or Roger Hammer (305-242-7688).  April 19 topic: Bromeliaceae and Agavaceae.

Broward Native Plant Workshop meets 3rd Wednesdays at UF's Agriculture Research and Education Center, 3205 College Ave., Davie.  Call Jack Lange, 954-583-0283 for location.

Back to Nature Day at the Deering Estate, April 10, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m..  Experience the Estate's natural splendor and learn all about our native flora and fauna.  Displays, presentations and hands-on activities.  Free with paid park admission (adults $7, children 14 and under $5).  Call 305-235-1668 ext. 233.

Coastal cleanup projects throughout April, from Homestead to North Miami Beach.  www.miamidade.gov/derm/Baynanza/.

Tropical Audubon Society.  5530 Sunset Drive. 305-667-7337,  www.tropicalaudubon.org for details and more events.

  • Apr. 13: meeting, "Butterflies: Specialties of South Florida" -- Dennis Olle and David Lysinger, Miami Blue Chapter-NABA. Refreshments at 7:30; program at 8 p.m. Free, open to public.
  • Apr. 16:  workday, 8:30 - noon.  Help restore and learn about native pineland at the Doc Thomas House.
  • May 1-4: Dry Tortugas birding (boat trip). Call 305-258-9607.
  • May 14: North Key Largo State Botanical Site walk.  Birds, Butterflies and Native Plants.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See www.miamiblue.org for schedule or contact Elane Nuehring (305-666-5727, miamiblue@bellsouth.net).  May 15, 1 p.m.: Quarterly meeting at Castellow Hammock.  Rick Cech recounts his adventures while writing Butterflies of the East Coast: An Observer's Guide (2005).  Come early to butterfly!

Bird and Butterfly Gardening Festival, May 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at  Castellow Hammock Nature Center, 22301 SW 162 Ave. Walks in the hummingbird and butterfly garden and hammock, programs, kids' corner, plant sales. $4/person. 305-242-7688.

TREEmendous Miami has monthly projects planting native and non-native trees.  To volunteer or learn more: 305-378-1863 or www.treemendousmiami.org.  Upcoming plantings need you!

Planting trees from DERM's Adopt-A-Tree program for senior/disabled:  Sunday, April 17: Aventura area;  Saturday, April 30: Richmond Heights area;  May: TBA (give us a call).

Citizens for a Better South Florida is dedicated to improving our quality of life through instilling environmental awareness within our diverse multi-lingual communities. Get involved!  Contact Alex, 305-648-0000, alex@abettersouthflorida.org or visit www.abettersouthflorida.orgApr. 14: Earth Day at Virrick Park; Apr. 20: Earth Day at Citrus Grove Elementary;  Apr. 22: Twilight on the Bay; Apr. 23: Earth Day in Little Haiti;  May 21: Native Plant Celebration.  You can also purchase native plants at their nursery (3191 SW 21 St.).

Natural Area Management Volunteer Workdays.  9 a.m.-noon. www.miamidade.gov/parks/natural_areas.asp or 305-257-0933. Apr. 9 & 16: Kendall Indian Hammocks "Spudbusters" (11345 SW 79 St.). Apr. 30: Oak Grove Park (NE 159 St. and 6 Ave.).

Biscayne National Park Discovery Series Lectures, Coconut Grove Sailing Club.  www.nps.gov/bisc or 305-230-7275, ext 0.  April 13: Return of the Native.  Research biologist Keith Bradley of The Institute for Regional Conservation discusses the advantages of native plants at home and in the wild.


In an effort to make money for their endowment, the University of Miami has proposed to develop a piece of land they own near Miami Metrozoo.  The plan calls for the construction and sale of 1200 homes, retail and office space and other community amenities on 136 acres of the Richmond pine rockland tract.  It is the largest remaining tract of pine rockland in Dade county outside of Everglades National Park.  The development of the site requires that Miami-Dade County change the land use designation that is currently assigned to the site.  The first county hearing to consider the land use change that would allow the development is set for April 11.  The change is also subject to a review by the state's Department of Community Affairs.

While touting a smart-growth approach, those working to bring this development to fruition are ignoring the intrinsic natural values that currently exist on the site.  The New Urbanist approach they are applying is certainly the way the growth should occur, but this is the wrong place to apply those principles.  The current proposal does provide for the conservation of about 45 acres of pine rockland, but there will be other habitat impacts that will require mitigation if the project is approved as proposed.  The environmental features of the site were one of the main reasons the County's Planning staff recommended denial of the land use change last August stating that the pinelands were "the most significant upland natural habitat in Miami-Dade County outside of Everglades National Park."  Other staff concerns focused primarily on the impacts of additional traffic in the surrounding roadways and neighborhoods.

There are 202 native plant species on the property, 21 of which are listed by the state of Florida as either Endangered or Threatened.  Among those 21 species, two are listed as federally endangered by the USFWS – Polygala smallii (Small's milkwort) and Chamaesyce deltoidea var. deltoidea (Deltoid spurge).  Additionally, Zornia bracteata (viperina) is listed by IRC as critically imperiled in South Florida. [Bradley, K.A., S.W. Woodmansee, and G.D. Gann. 2000.  Floristic Survey and Rare Species Assessment of the Non-County Owned Properties in the Richmond Pine Rocklands.  Submitted to Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management.  The Institute for Regional Conservation, Miami, FL.]

Please contact your elected County Commissioner and express your concern over the impacts to traffic and the loss of green space in the community.  Urge them to consider acquiring the site for improving the existing network of parkland in the area.  Use the following points in your calls, letters and e-mails:

  • Residential development nearly always restricts or prevents appropriate fire management of the remaining pineland.  This would be the case both within the development and in the surrounding Richmond pineland tracts already in public ownership.  There are, therefore, unintended consequences outside the footprint of the development and outside the footprint of the UM tract.  Fire is needed to manage for the endangered and endemic plant species that occur in the complex as a whole.
  • This tract is part of the largest remaining pine rockland tract outside ENP, therefore loss of any portion of this complex to development is a catastrophic loss.  The pineland that has become degraded due to Burma reed invasion is restorable if appropriate management were applied.  The tract should be turned over to a public conservation agency if the University doesn't want to manage it.
  • Residential development is detrimental to natural areas in other ways.  Trash, dumped landscape debris, escaped or dumped domestic animals, vandalism, and human-set wildfires are all impacts that occur to natural areas when residential development is in close proximity.  Management in perpetuity is a promise that the University is probably reluctant to make.

Cynthia Guerra, Executive Director
Tropical Audubon Society
5530 Sunset Drive, Miami, FL 33143


    by Martin Roessler

On February 20, 2005, we visited  the coastal prairie and coastal hammock areas southwest  of the camping areas at Flamingo in the Everglades National Park. After lunch we visited a marl prairie that has been successfully salvaged from a Brazilian Pepper thicket. We were fortunate to have Rick and Jean Seavey as our guides. Rick's research on the succession of the coastal prairie after the addition of salt water and marl during Hurricane Donna in 1960 demonstrates natural alterations in habitat and contrasts with the Brazilian Pepper invasion and recovery at the fishing docks site.

A complete plant list of the trip may be found in the printed newsletter.


          by Don Keller

During the 1970s I was suffering a raging case of "orchid fever."  It was a wasted weekend when I didn't visit Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve or Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Preserve searching out and photographing native orchids.  By 1986 I had found 77 species – all I was apt to find as most of the unseen species reported for South Florida were very rare or possibly extirpated.

While orchid hunting I had seen many species of ferns, the names of which I didn't have a clue.  To rectify this ignorance I purchased Long and Lakela's Ferns of Florida.  A photo of a museum specimen of Thelypteris patens intrigued me.  In 1905 A.A. Eaton found and collected this specimen in Ross Hammock near Homestead.  This was the first and only collection of this species in the U.S.  I began a close search of Ross and the adjoining Castellow Hammock.  Both of these hammocks are very rich in ferns.  Some incredibly rare species existed in Castellow:  Trichomanes krausii and T. punctatum subsp. floridanum and Asplenium x biscayneanum.  These three species are so scarce that all of the material in Florida could be stuffed into a coffee cup!

On one of my otherwise fruitless searches in Castellow Hammock I ran into one Alan Cressler, a noted expert on ferns of the Southeastern U.S.  He too was hunting for the elusive Thelypteris patens.  Before long we came up with a plan to search out and list all of the native and naturalized ferns in Dade, Monroe, and Collier counties.  Up to that date no one had ever done this in an organized and consistent way.

From 1987 to 1991 I visited 212 sites large and small, finding 95 fern species in three counties – 78 species in Dade alone.  Dade County is by far and away the richest fern area in the U.S.  A few Asian and tropical ferns were discovered in Dade for the first time.  About a dozen plants of the graceful Thelypteris opulenta were found in a small tree preserve near the Sears store in Cutler Ridge (and later, one plant in Castellow), Phymatotoides scolopendria and P. nigrescens in a cemetery in Coral Gables, and the gorgeous Ophioglossum pendula on palms next to Metrorail.  The very large Pteris grandifolia, long thought to have been extirpated, was found in Monroe Birdsey's backyard.  Roy Woodbury had rescued a few plants from Paradise Point when it was being developed.

The known population of Adiantum melanoleucum was more than doubled when we found five plants in a solution hole in a backyard next to the Monkey Jungle and four more in a tiny hammock off Old Cutler Road.  Previously we had found eight in Osteen Hammock in Everglades National Park.  Woodwardia virginica, though common in the other two counties, had never been found in Dade.  We rectified this when we found a small colony in Kendall Indian Hammocks off of Kendall Drive.

In February of 1993, while doing a survey in a small hammock near Cutler Ridge, Alan Cressler finally found the elusive Thelypteris patens.  It had eluded everyone for 88 years.  There were 42 plants in a circular, depressed area.  One plant was collected for a specimen for the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden herbarium.  This population has decreased to about 20 plants.  Subsequently, Keith Bradley found two plants of T. patens in the Deering Estate.  In 2001 I found two more large plants near Keith's discovery.

More recently, two more species have shown up.  While driving to work, Roger Hammer noticed some large ferns growing in a ditch on Bauer Drive.  These turned out to be Diplazium esculentum.  This very large Asian fern was once grown in Dade for food.  It has very large, and carcinogenic, fiddleheads.  Bon appetite!  Keith Bradley has rediscovered the long missing (non-native) aquatic fern Marsilea mucrunata – twice, in 1998 in a ditch in Immokalee and in 2003 beside a farm road in Florida City. 

In 1904 a few plants of the tiny ray fern, Schizaea pennula were found in Royal Palm Hammock by John K. Small and then seemingly vanished from our flora.  In 1972 a few plants were found on an island in Loxahatchee Preserve.  In 2002 Steve Woodmansee and Jimi Sadle found a sizable colony while surveying the plant species in Big Cypress preserve, and the following year they discovered another population in a county-owned preserve in Lee County. 

To date, in spite of all the searching, several species reported for Dade at one time or another remain missing.  Seventeen mature species are still to be found.  Campyloneurum latum, a magnificent large, dark green strap fern of questionable nativity was formerly in Hattie Bauer Hammock (Orchid Jungle).  The last known plant was stolen after Tom Fennel moved it from inside the hammock to a fallen log on a trail open to the public.  Two small Tectaria ferns that grew only in a solution hole in Hattie Bauer were wiped out when the hole was filled in while starting an avocado grove.  Tectaria coriandrifolia grew nowhere else in the U.S.  Tectaria amesiana, a true Florida endemic, grew no place else on Earth. 

To paraphrase the sign-off for an old T.V. program, "There are many stories in the fern world. This has been a few of them."


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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