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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May, 2005

In This Issue




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


11 (Sat.): Everglades National Park chapter workday.
25 (Sat.): "Yard Visit for New Learners" to Plant Creations Nursery.
28 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting.
Dade field trip: Rockdale Pineland, date TBA.


Tuesday, May 24, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road. (The forth Tuesday, not the last!) The meeting is free and open to the public.

"Miami-Dade's Endangered Lands: Fifteen Years Safeguarding Our Natural Areas" – Christina M. Casado-Acorn, Miami-Dade DERM

The Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program has worked to acquire and restore some of the precious few natural areas remaining in our community and to preserve them for the enjoyment of future generations.  In the last fifteen years the program has restored pinelands and hammocks affected by Hurricane Andrew, studied and monitored their rare and imperiled plant and animal species, and provided places for nature lovers to enjoy quiet visits to natural areas rapidly being urbanized.  We will hear about the history of the EEL Program, some of the resident rare plant species that compelled EEL to acquire these sites, and future plans.  Christina is Environmental Resource Project Supervisor for the EEL Program.

We will also have our brief but important Annual Chapter Meeting to elect the 2005-2006 Board of Directors.

Additions to the refreshments, raffle plant donations, your excess plastic pots and native plant seeds to share are always appreciated.  (Please check your plants for lobate lac scale.)

June 28: "Flora Cubana" – Dr. Scott Zona of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden shares images of Cuban plant life and interesting observations from his many expeditions to Cuba.  This will also be our annual "Bring a Friend" meeting.

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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. 

Saturday, May 28: Old Cutler Hammock at Bill Sadowski Park and Whispering Pines Hammock.  The "Rare Plant SWAT Team" volunteers finished their last major workday of the season in February at these sites, removing invasive plants that directly threatened rare native ferns, and now are eager to show off the hammocks.  We will first explore the hammock nature trail at Bill Sadowski, the target of the SWAT Team's 2003-2004 season.  This partially boardwalked path lies alongside solution holes loaded with ferns, as well as one of the prettiest hammocks in the area.  Bring your fern guide and hand lens to examine ferns up close.  Then we will make a short drive to nearby Whispering Pines Hammock, where the Team worked in 2004-2005.  This county natural area is a must-see for unusual limestone formations.  Bring your camera for some photogenic fern scenes.

June or July (date TBA): Rockdale Pineland.  This site purchased by EEL borders US1 from SW 144 St. to 152 St.

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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Monthly FNPS activities in the Keys will resume in November.  To keep in touch throughout the year and to receive email reminders of 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 or have suggestions for programs, please call Beth at 305-872-5787.

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Everglades National Park chapter workday, Saturday, June 11, 9 a.m. to noon.   Help us enhance the landscaping and recreate native pineland and hammock at the Coe Visitors Center.  We will be planting as well as doing the usual weeding, so plenty of help is especially needed this time.  New volunteers, family, friends and kids are welcome and encouraged!  You will also enjoy good company and free admission to the park.  We also need volunteers for occasional herbicide spraying around the edges in between workdays.  Please contact Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com) for more information.

Monthly FNPS activities in the Keys will resume in November.  To keep in touch throughout the year and to receive email reminders of 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 or have suggestions for programs, please call Beth at 305-872-5787.

The Nature Conservancy's 6th Annual Native Plant Fair in the Keys: Saturday, May 14, 9 am-noon, Plantation Key School (MM 90, bayside). The chapter needs volunteers to work a booth, giving out information and encouraging people to use native plants and join FNPS.  If you can help, please call Jim Duquesnel at (305) 522-0812.  TNC will give away native plants, and there will be presentations on Keys-friendly landscaping and butterfly gardening.

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.org.  It's fun and informative, not far and not too late to decide to go.

Bird and Butterfly Gardening Festival, May 21, 9a.m. to 4p.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.  If you can volunteer to help at the chapter's table or have butterfly plants/larvae to loan, please call  Steve Woodmansee (305-595-5541).

Annual Chapter Meeting, May 24.  The nominating committee will finalize the proposed slate for the Board of Directors early this month..  The main requirements are enthusiasm and a desire to help the chapter grow in effectiveness.  Please contact Amy Leonard (305-668-5993, 305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com) if you might be interested in serving on the board or know of someone to suggest.

Yard Visits for New Learners, June 25, 11 a.m..  The next "yard" will be the nursery and plantings of Plant Creations Nursery in the Redland with expert grower Rob Campbell, followed by an opportunity to purchase plants.  Details next month.

Welcome New Members!  In Miami-Dade: Brian Coia, Traci Cox, Ken Cushman, Mike DePaz, Eve and Rob Gill, Ian and Vera Jarrett, Cecilia Joyce, Tim Joyner, Chuck Lipman, Michael and Rebecca Markham, John Motion, Linda Peters, Lauren Raz, Carina Ryder and Richard O'Connor, Ybis Sanabria, Pamela Schade, Priscilla Vargas, Uta and Andy Vladimir, W. Lawson Nursery (Wendy Lawson), Bea Weaver, Elizabeth Williams,  Susan Wilson and Walter Yarbrough.  In the Keys: Julie and Rod Cheon, Lois Giffen, Jane and Bill Hill (Bethesda, MD), Jackie McCorkle, Marcelline Moyer.

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Unusual And Out Of Print Books
Botany, Horticulture, Gardening,
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Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC)
is having a Yard Sale!

May 14th & 15th from 8:00-12:00
11325 S.W. 108th Avenue, Miami

All proceeds will go towards IRC, a local non-profit, and will fund conservation programs on native plants, animals, and ecosystems of South Florida.

You can help by donating goods, attending, and spreading the word!

Please contact Emilie Verdon at verdon@regionalconservation.org or 305.247.6547 for more information or just bring your donated items straight to the garage sale.

Hope to see you there!



Paid Advertising

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).  May 17 topic: volunteers in potted plants.

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.

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

  • May 14: North Key Largo State Botanical Site walk.  Birds, Butterflies and Native Plants.
  • May 28, June 25: Doc Thomas House workday, 8:30 - noon.  Help restore the pineland and learn about native plants.
  • June 4-5: NATIVE PLANT SALE at Doc Thomas House.

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 pm: Quarterly meeting, Castellow Hammock.  Rick Cech, recounts adventures while writing Butterflies of the East Coast: An Observer's Guide (2005). Come early to butterfly!
  • May 29: North Key Largo butterflying.

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.

  • May 28:  West Kendall / The Hammocks area.
  • June 25: .North Miami / 181 Street area.

Citizens for a Better South Florida instills environmental awareness within our diverse multi-lingual communities.  Contact Alex, 305-648-0000, alex@abettersouthflorida.org or visit www.abettersouthflorida.org. 

  • May 21, 9am-2pm:  East Little Havana Tree Planting Project, NW 3 St., 12 Ave. to the Miami River.  Free food and music! 
  • May 22, 10 am-4pm: Native Plant Sale and Celebration at Citizens (3191 SW 21 St.).  Tour the demonstration garden, learn about xeriscaping and biodiversity, enjoy music and refreshments.  You can also purchase native plants at their nursery at other times.

Rare Plant SWAT Team.  The 2004-2005 SWAT Team season closed with a bang:  Whispering Pines Hammock now has a 100-hefty-bag deficit of incised halberd fern, castor bean, air potato, and other invasive exotic plants.  We had a short season this year, in part because the February volunteers did such amazing work.  Jennifer, Cristina, and Sonya hope to see Team members again next year.  We'll be in contact around November!  Thanks to everyone who participated this year for your hard work and attention to detail with plant identification: Carl Barta, Tom Brown, Eric Fleites, Karen Griffin, Michael Markham, Becky Markham, Andy Mickish, Chris Migliaccio, Bob Mihm, David Mihm, Ken Neugent, Al Orealmuno, Patty Phares, Lauren Raz, Kristie Wendelberger, and Elizabeth Williams.


Tropical Audubon Society's Doc Thomas House

5530 Sunset Drive. 305-667-7337
www.tropicalaudubon.org for details.
Proceeds support TAS's environmental advocacy
in Miami-Dade.


On April 11th, the County's Planning Advisory Board recommended denial to the University of Miami's request to change a land use designation to allow development in the Richmond Pineland.  On May 9th, the Board of County Commissioners will hear the request and either approve or deny the application.  The meeting will take place in Commission Chambers in the Stephen P. Clark Center located at 111 N.W. 1st Street, Miami, Florida 33128.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 am.  Attend if you can!

It is imperative to communicate to the Commissioners that this request should be denied.  Please contact your elected County Commissioner and express your concern over the impacts on traffic and the loss of green space and valuable natural area in the community.  Urge them to consider acquiring the site for improving the existing network of parkland in the area.  If you don't know who your commissioner is, visit the following website and type in your address: http://gisims.miamidade.gov/scripts/esrimap.dll?name=CountyServices&Cmd=Map

Use the following points in your calls, letters and e-mails.  More detail is in the April newsletter (which is also posted on www.fnps.org/chapters/dade).

  • Residential development nearly always restricts or prevents appropriate fire management of the remaining pineland. The proposed development is adjacent to pineland already in preservation but in danger of indirect damage by this development.
  • 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.
  • Residential development is detrimental to nearby natural areas in other ways: trash, dumped landscape debris, escaped or dumped domestic animals, vandalism, and human-set wildfires.

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


The Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) will kick-off the 2005 Adopt-a-Tree at the Coconut Grove Convention Center, 2700 S. Bayshore Drive) on May 14, 9am-12noon.  Trees available in May are the native dahoon holly and non-natives Mango, Longan, Vera Wood.  Later events around the county will be announced.

All Miami-Dade residential single-family and duplex homeowners are invited to pickup two FREE trees per property per year.  Get your neighbors to participate, too!  Homeowners must bring proof of ownership (e.g. property tax bill), renters must bring written permission and a copy of photo ID from the homeowner, and all participants must bring their own ID. At least one native tree species is available at each event. To ensure the new trees survive to adulthood, participants will be given a quick tutorial on how to properly plant their trees. Tree experts will also be available for questions and helpful tips.

Shade trees can reduce your home cooling costs by 15-30% and can increase the value of your home up to 15%. Additionally, tree roots absorb excess water, minimizing flooding.  This can save you money on home maintenance after a heavy rain or storm and the hassles of flooding.

Adopt-a-Tree was created in 2000 after a study in 1996 concluded that Miami-Dade County averaged only 10% tree cover in urban areas due to Hurricane Andrew, citrus canker and development.  Miami-Dade DERM was awarded a $6 million grant from the FL Dept of Agriculture to rebuild tree canopy.  With the help of local organizations and government agencies, over 65,000 trees have taken root in Miami-Dade.

For recorded event information and to learn how to participate in the Elderly and Disabled Program (FREE delivery and planting of trees by TREEmendous Miami for those with special needs) call 305-372-6555 or visit www.miamidade.gov/derm/adoptatree.


In order to plan our fund raising trip for next spring, FNPS needs some information from you. This trip will take us up the Amazon River from Iquitos, Peru, into a large preserve abundant with birds and wildlife.  We will visit some villages, and take jungle walks and small boat excursions. We will learn about the uses of medicinal plants, visit a marketplace and small zoo containing native animals of Peru, do some fishing, etc. Please e-mail JoAnne Trebatoski at plantnative@msn.com with the answers to these questions to aid us in planning this trip. Sending answers to these questions – whether you plan to go on the trip or not – will help a lot.

  • If the boat we took had bunk beds in most cabins would this prevent you from going on the trip?
  • Would a spring trip interest you?
  • Would a summer trip better suit you?
  • Do you plan to go on this trip?
  • What are your suggestions for other places for FNPS to visit?

The Arca is a beautiful mahogany boat but has bunk beds. The Rio Amazonia, the larger boat we took down the Amazon in 2004, holds more people with twin beds in most rooms but will require over 20 participants.

Jo Anne Trebatoski, FNPS Fund Raising Chair


   by Martin Roessler

On March 26, 2005, we visited Matheson Hammock Park west of Old Cutler Road. Steve Woodmansee and Jennifer Possley guided us through the coastal rock land hammock ,where very few blooming plants were observed, and the marl glade, west of the hammock, where many blooming species were present. The efforts to remove exotics have been very successful on many of the most invasive species, but as the list of blooming plants indicates, many exotics are still present. 

[The plant list is available in the print version of the newsletter.]

Jo Anne Trebatoski, FNPS Fund Raising Chair


    by Ronald Mossman

When we propagate plants from cuttings—as is commonly done—we may be maintaining the species, but we are doing no favor to the continued existence of the species.  The fundamental reason that allows a species to continue to exist is its ability to survive the various struggles imposed upon it by the environment. It only is able to survive these events if there is adequate diversity in its genetic makeup. This is called genetic diversity. As a population (a species in a given area) decreases in number, its genetic diversity likewise decreases, and it usually heads to extinction when the population becomes too small. We may pride ourselves in being able to propagate the last patch of a species. However, it still may still die under future stresses for which it now lacks the ability to confront and survive.

I am pleased to see that seed propagation is being used instead of cuttings in some nurseries. However, when seeds are used they should not always be taken from the same site or plant to avoid restricting the genetic diversity of plants we distribute. An exception to this is when plants are being propagated for an ecological restoration project in an area; here plants from another area would be inappropriate. Plants that are similar genetically should be used.

Some examples of genetic diversity are seen in the wide range of colors in the corollas of Hamelia patens (firebush). Although corolla color ranges from yellow to red-orange, when I see firebush for sale it is usually the red-orange one.  Bursera simaruba (Gumbo Limbo) has bark ranging from smooth-gray, slightly peeling-brown, to shaggy-brown. Each of these species has continued to exist through time and we owe it to the native plants of our area to seed that all forms continue to exist.

I collected several plant specimens along Card Sound Road and within the mangrove community that were clearly Borrichia arborescens (Tree Seaside Oxeye Daisy) and B. frutescens (Bushy Seaside Oxeye Daisy), but I also collected some that "diverge from the norm."  That is, they differ markedly from what is usually being marketed. In fact, I have one plant that appears to be a hybrid of the two species. Typically we are excited by new finds such as this and propagate the new plant by cuttings and sell or give them to our friends—or the Society Plant Raffle. Is this practice appropriate? At the Miami Dade College Landscape Nursery we have planted both species and the probable hybrid. Additionally, we are planting all variants that we encounter of these species. The intention is to show the innate morphological diversity of the two species.  Perhaps we all need to spend more time in educating the consumer on the role of genetic diversity, an absolute necessity for the future survival of native species.

Ronald Mossman is a professor and Program Director of the Miami-Dade College Landscape Technology Program, Kendall Campus.


    by Roger Hammer              [Reprinted from the May, 1998, Tillandsia]

Visit Everglades National Park, drive to the turnoff for Royal Palm Hammock (Anhinga Trail), proceed past the turnoff for the Research Center until you come to an open expanse of everglades prairie on your left.  Pull off to the side of the road and look for spikes of pink (or white) orchid flowers above the roadside.  This is the grass-pink, Calapogon tuberosus, a common terrestrial orchid found throughout the western United States. Bring your camera!

Then walk along the Anhinga Trail boardwalk to see flowering specimens of buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, with white, very fragrant flowers that resemble "Sputnik" satellites. May is the principle flowering month for this colorful wetland shrub.

Black mangroves are at their height of flowering in May, much to the delight of honeybees.  If you cherish good, dark honey, pick up a bottle of black mangrove honey at Robert is Here fruit stand on your way back from the park (SW 344 Street and 192 Avenue).

In the pine rocklands of southern Miami-Dade County, especially on Long Pine Key in Everglades National Park, you can find one of our most fragrant and least appreciated flowers in full regalia.  Look for flowering plants of rough velvetseed, Guettarda scabra, and then savor the exotic perfume emitted by the tubular white flowers.

Now is the time to play "Yard Rambo" before it gets too hot and muggy.  This is a good month to prune, weed, fertilize and do other general maintenance.  You may also want to pray for rain.


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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