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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June, 2005

In This Issue




  • 11 (Sat.): Everglades National Park chapter workday
  • 25 (Sat.): Yard visit (Dade)
  • 26 (Sun.): Field trip (Dade)
  • 28 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting.


  • 26 (Tue.): Dade annual evening yard visit and social meeting.


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

"Flora Cubana" – Dr. Scott Zona, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Dr. Zona will share fascinating images of Cuba's native flora from his many expeditions to Cuba.  He will highlight some of the remarkable aspects of Cuban plant life, including microphyllous plants (plants with very small leaves), heavy metal accumulators (plants that accumulate toxic levels of nickel in their tissues), and, of course, palms.  Scott has been Fairchild's Palm Biologist since 1993.  Although he grew up in Boynton Beach, his field work has taken him to the Caribbean, Central America, Indonesia and a host of points in between.  He is interested in all aspects of plant diversity, especially the identification, classification and distribution of palms.  He has more than 85 publications, both scientific and popular, on tropical plants.

This is also our annual "Bring a Friend" meeting, so please bring a friend, family member or coworker and spread the word about the meeting and this interesting program.  We will meet in the Garden House (the larger building next to where we normally meet) to have more space. New members joining during the past year will receive a free native plant and free raffle tickets. All members, new and old, will receive a 10% discount on all sale items. Please remind your guests to enter at the old entrance (contrary to what signs indicate), not through the new Visitor Center at the north end of the Garden. Minimum membership categories (FNPS and Dade Chapter ) are: $25.00 individual, $30.00 dual/household, $15.00 student.

Additions to the refreshment table and raffle plant donations are always welcome! (Please check your plants for lobate lac scale.)  If you signed up to bring refreshments and have questions, please call Patty Harris at 305-262-3763.

July 26: Our annual evening yard visit and social, this time at a home in South Miami-Dade in the Falls area.  Details TBA.  All FNPS members and their guests are invited.

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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, June 26: Rockdale pineland.  Near US1 and SW 152 Street, this tract was spared from becoming home to the South Dade Busway and instead continues to harbor interesting pine rockland species, including the endangered deltoid spurge.  The county purchased the land as part of the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) program. 

After the field trip: Don't forget to tell your county commissioner (or all of them!) how much you appreciate the EEL program.  Urge them to save other of these rare pine rocklands.  Your opinion does make a difference.

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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Saturday, June 11, 9 a.m. - noon.  This is the most important season to get new plants started as well as keep the unwanted weeds in check, so we need a big crew.  Besides planting and weeding, we'll also put tags on plants and do other light maintenance.  Drinks, hand tools, gloves are provided, but you might want to bring your own as well as a water bottle and snacks to share.  We also need some shovels and picks.  We have head nets and bug spray if mosquitoes are bad.  New volunteers, family, friends and kids are welcome and encouraged!  Enjoy good company and free admission to the park.  Contact Patty, (305-255-6404 or pphares@mindspring.com) for more information.

Bonus: After you cool off in the Visitors Center, stop at the Tropical Ag Fiesta, now back at the Fruit and Spice Park (24801 SW 187 Ave., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., June 11-12)

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Saturday June 25,  9 – 11 a.m.
Veber's Jungle Garden, 24605 SW 197 Ave., Homestead
Directions: From Krome Ave. (SW 177 Ave.) turn west on 248 Street, then north 197 Ave.  Second house on the right.     (Note the change of location since the first announcement.)

Leslie Veber owns and operates her nursery and landscaping business on 5 acres in South Dade.  Plants are sold by appointment, retail and wholesale, but you can also purchase her plants at events like the Fairchild Ramble, Native Plant Day, Fairchild Spring Sale -- and now on this Yard Visit for New Learners trip.  Three acres are used as a nursery for both native (60%) and exotic plants.  Container plants in 1 to 25 gallons will be for sale.  We will also look at field grown plants, which will not be for sale this day, to get an idea of what the larger plants will look like after up to 11 years of growth.  This is an opportunity to learn about native plants for your yard, how to identifying them, specific plant needs, what grows happily where, how they fit in your landscaping scheme.  We will allow time for sharing experiences, answering questions, basics of starting your own landscape plan if needed, and buying plants.  Wear good walking shoes and a hat and bring water.

Leslie graduated with a degree in  Horticulture from the University of Florida and is a member of the Dade Chapter FNPS, Flowering Tree Society and the Palm Society.

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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At our May monthly meeting, we took a poll to see which native plants are most desired for our raffle.  Even hammock trees and shrubs are very much in demand.  If you are propagating plants for raffles, this list (which will be updated periodically) might help you decide what to grow.  But don't feel limited by this list -- donations of (almost) all native plants are always appreciated!  If you have questions, please contact Steve Woodmansee (see chapter info box).

Groups of native plants

  • Butterfly plants
  • Ferns
  • Orchids

Herbs and grasses

  • Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium spp.)
  • Coontie (Zamia pumila)
  • Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)
  • Pineland jacquemontia (Jacquemontia curtisii)
  • Yellow top (Flaveria linearis)


Trees and shrubs

  • Bahama strongbark (Bourreria succulenta)
  • Blackbead (Pithecellobium keyense)
  • Button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Cinnamon bark (Canella winterana)
  • Crabwood (Ateramnus lucidus, =Gymnanthes lucida)
  • Fiddlewood (Citharexylum spinosum)
  • Florida privet (Forestiera segregata)
  • Hercules club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis)
  • Lancewood (Ocotea coriacea)
  • Limber caper (Capparis flexuosa)
  • Little strongbark (Bourreria cassinifolia)
  • Mangrove mallow (Pavonia paludicola)
  • Necklace pod (Sophora tomentosa var. truncata)
  • Paw paw (Asimina spp.)
  • Pineland snowberry (Chiococca parvifolia)
  • Princewood (Exostema caribaeum)
  • Privet cassia (Senna ligustrina)
  • Red bay (Persea borbonia)
  • Redberry stopper (Eugenia confusa)
  • Red stopper (Eugenia rhombea)
  • Rhacoma (Crossopetalum rhacoma)
  • Sea lavender (Argusia gnaphalodes)
  • Simpson's stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans)
  • Seagrape, Pigeon plum (Coccoloba spp.)
  • Spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens)
  • Sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana)
  • Tetrazygia (Tetrazygia bicolor)
  • White stopper (Eugenia axillaris)

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Summer is here, and things are starting to heat up, including advocacy issues.  At the behest of the board, I have been fighting on the behalf of the largest undeveloped tract of pine rockland still in private hands in Miami-Dade County, the University of Miami South Campus next to Miami-Metro Zoo.  As you have read in April and May Tillandsia, the University of Miami wants to gain approval to develop two thirds of this property for 1200 residential units, a library, and a school.  I agree with the concept of the planned community, but not the location on this globally imperiled ecosystem, perhaps now measuring less than 1.5% left outside of ENP.  Despite the appeals of myself, Cynthia Guerra (Executive Director, Tropical Audubon Society), and DCFNPS member Summer Scobell at the Miami-Dade County Commission meeting on May 9, the commissioners voted unanimously to change the zoning to office and residential use, thus beginning to allow UM's preliminary plan.  However, it is not too late for you to help.  You can contact the county commissioners expressing your desire to preserve this rare remnant pine rockland, using the previous articles in Tillandsia to argue your point (see www.fnps.org/chapters/dade).  For contacts for commissioners go to www.miamidade.gov/commiss/.

I wish to thank retiring board members Bob Kelley and Phillip Pearcy for their service.  Bob has been Vice President and Director at Large, giving excellent advice on institutional development and being a liaison between DCFNPS and other non- profits.  Phillip has served for the last two years and played a big part in Native Plant Day 2005, as well as volunteering at events promoting our organization.  Thanks to the nominating committee for finding new board members Jan Kolb and Suzanne Koptur.  And thanks to all of you who volunteer, making our organization one of the best.

Steve Woodmansee, DCFNPS President

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Pots available.  If you need plastic pots (4" to 3 gallon) for growing plants for FNPS raffles, sales or any native plant projects, we have plenty.  Call Patty at 305-255-6404.  You can still bring your extras to meetings to recycle to other members.

Native plant yards in The Miami Herald.  On May 14 and 15 the Miami Herald featured the native plant yards of DCFNPS members Gwladys and Gene Scott and Lori and Keith Weyrick.  Thanks to writer Georgia Tasker for the great attention to natives as well as companion articles about the problems of invasive exotics, planting a hammock, and resources such as FNPS and The Institute for Regional Conservation.

2005-2006 Chapter board elected on May 24:

  Steve Woodmansee – President
  Amy Leonard – Vice President
  Jennifer Possley -- Treasurer
  Jonathan Taylor -- Secretary (formerly Director at Large)
  Lynka Woodbury -- Director at Large (formerly Secretary)
  Mary Ann Bolla – Director at Large
  Patty Harris – Director at Large
  John Lawson – Director at Large
  Jan Kolb -- Director at Large (new to the board)
  Suzanne Koptur -- Directror at Large (new to the board)
  Carrie Cleland – Past President

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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).  June 21topic: Plant families in South Florida with white sap.  (Just when you thought botanists weren't creative...)

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.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See www.miamiblue.org for schedule or contact Elane Nuehring (305-666-5727, miamiblue@bellsouth.net).  Butterfly with the experts July 9-10 in Key West, more activities in July.

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: Saturday, June 25: North Miami area;  Saturday, July 16: Coral Gables area.


Most current FNPS members did not know Lisa Davis Anness, who passed away in April.  However, as a chapter member in the 1980s she made important contributions which still are serving us well today.  Most visibly, the Dade Chapter's special award at the South Florida Science and Engineering Fair was Lisa's inspiration in 1984.  Renamed the "George Avery Memorial Award" in 1985, the award was Lisa's project for several years, and it continues to encourage and reward "excellence in the understanding and application of scientific principles to the study of Florida's native plants or native plant communities" (Tillandsia, March, 1985).

For four years in the early 1980s, Lisa was the Tillandsia production editor, often single-handedly doing layout, typing, photocopying (at her office) and folding.  In September, 1983, the newsletter contained an article on wild lime with illustration and text by Wes Jurgens, her coworker in a Brickell Avenue office building.  By 1985, Wes and another coworker, John Pancoast, were regularly contributing "One Man's Weed", featuring city "weeds."  Thanks to Lisa's initial introduction years ago, Wes continues to share his talents with us – his wonderful illustrations grace our current chapter t-shirt, our 2000 FNPS Conference program, and occasional issues of Tillandsia.

Although a member but not active in FNPS in recent years, Lisa continued to be an advocate for native plants through her own incredible garden (which she tended even from a wheelchair), support of the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, and volunteer work at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden herbarium.

The following two articles were originally in the July-August, 1985, issue of Tillandsia, and reprinted in July, 2000.


We've all enjoyed the articles by John Pancoast and the original artwork of Wes Jurgens over the past few months.  You may have noticed that their subjects are not the native trees and shrubs that we have come to know and love and to consciously incorporate into our landscapes.  But they are there around us, nevertheless.

These are the tough, resilient and usually unnoticed natives of the Brickell business district.  Growing on vacant lots and remnant bits of limestone ridge in the shadow of glass and steel skyscrapers, these little plants have thus far survived the transformation of Brickell Hammock into Brickell Canyon.  They are, for the most part, scarcely described and wholly unillustrated in the classic texts.  Unfortunately, the same anonymity that allowed them to escape unnoticed during the earlier development of the Brickell area now also makes them unlikely subjects for the public to champion.  Just as the dusky seaside sparrow benefited little from the fervor dedicated to saving the whales, these Brickell beauties have difficulty competing with giant sequoias for public enthusiasm.  Nevertheless, they're out there for those who look and know enough to see.  For those of us who have the advantage of Wes and John as native guides in the urban wilderness, each trek to the Metrorail Station or lunchtime constitutional along the bay is an opportunity to see the weeds that grow in the cracks of the sidewalk for the wildflowers they really are!
Lisa Davis (Anness)

ONE MAN'S WEED: Jacquemontia: splendor in the grass

 by John Pancoast
 illustration by Wes Jurgens

Morning glories!  Who has not been thrilled to see a blanket of morning glory vines scrambling over shrubs and fences with their bright blue or purple blossoms?  Or been enchanted by the evening moonflowers as they drape the tree tops with ghostly white trumpets?

But not all members of the family Convolvulaceae are showy, aggressive vines.  With 50 genera and 2000 species, it is not surprising that there is considerable diversity displayed in the family.  The genus Jacquemontia is characterized by herbs, subshrubs or vines that are usually twining or prostrate.  We found Jacquemontia curtissii growing among short grasses on the limestone ridge that stretches south from downtown Miami.  The flowers of this plant show the distinctive funnel shape common to many other members of the family.  Its leaves, however, do not resemble the large heart- or arrow-shaped leaves we usually associate with morning glories.  Instead, this Jacquemontia has tiny, half-inch, ovate leaves that stand upright from the stem, usually along one side.  In its prostrate growth form and small, upright leaves, Jacquemontia resembles the related genera Bonamia and Evolvulus.  These three can be distinguished by a close examination of the floral style.  In Jacquemontia, two styles are fused, appearing single single, and there are two flattened stigma. In Bonamia two distinct styles each have a single stigma. In Evolvulus two cleft styles appear as four, with a total of four stigma.

The white to pinkish flowers of J. curtissii are about one inch and are held up from the stems on slender stalks.  Growing among low grasses or over pine litter, the flowers add a bit of splendor to their drab surroundings.  The plant is adapted to the limestone soils of Dade's pine woods, and while most of its range has been urbanized,  it is frequently found in many of the natural areas remaining in South Florida.  It is listed as threatened by the Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals.


   by Martin Roessler

On April 17, 2005, we visited the Okaloacoochee Slough Wildlife Management Area. The Area contains over 32000 acres of  wetlands, pine flatwoods, oak hammocks and farmlands in the process of restoration. Jean McCollom, a biologist with the Florida Fresh Water Conservation Commission, led us to several wetland and mesic to upland oak hammock areas. Steve Woodmansee from The Institute for Regional Conservation identified all of the grasses and sedges and provided interesting ecological information to the group.


[Reprinted from the May, 2001, Tillandsia.]
Remember when ...?  (Some snips from past Tillandsias.)

  • April, 1984: The first science fair award was presented by DCFNPS to Jennifer Hoffman, who researched the relative habitat value of mangrove fringe and seagrass beds for a species of commercial shrimp.
  • June, 1984: The TILLANDSIA name was first used on the newsletter, although the logo (in different stages of evolution) had been used for over a year.
  • October, 1984: Marty Roessler's forerunner of the field trip plant list appeared as the column "Bloom Briefs", which listed local plants seen in bloom (by anyone, anywhere) the previous month.
  • March, 1985: The science fair award was named the George Avery Memorial Award "in honor of a man who so well exemplified the qualities that we encourage Dade County's youth to achieve."
  • June, 1985: The State Cabinet voted to allot Dade County $19.2 million towards the purchase of the 359-acre estate at Old Cutler Road and Coral Reef Drive. The Metro Commission voted to complete the $22.5 million purchase.
  • September, 1986: Kenwood Elementary School's native hammock planting, "Kenwoods" was announced in Tillandsia.  Henry Block reported that 100 trees had been planted and asked for the chapter's involvement. [Ed. Note: Now it has hundreds of trees, a host of awards, a class curriculum, resident and migrant birds, and a city full of admirers.]


     by Gil MacAdam

[Reprinted from the October, 1997, and May, 2001, Tillandsia.]

A mini-wildlife refuge, as defined by the National Wildlife Federation, is as area not more than three acres which provides a sanctuary for wildlife to find food, water, protection and repro­­ductive areas.  These may be suburban resi­dences, rural farmyards, parks, office complexes, or almost any conceivable plot that receives landscaping.  The concept of attracting wild creatures to urban areas is appealing to many and can certainly enrich the life of an interpreter.

The program of promoting urban wildlife is an attempt to offset the effects of a million acres of wildlife habitat destroyed for development each year in the United States. As residences across a community provide green oases, migrating birds and butterflies can locate the necessities of life.

The basic plan of residential wildlife landscaping is to establish the "edge" concept, where two plant communities meet, all around the property.  This is done by planting trees and shrubs at the perimeter which meets grass or mulch beds.  Within the "edge of the woods", which can be densely planted, can be interspersed bird feeders, bird baths, ponds and nesting boxes. Native plants should be the basis of your plantings, although colorful exotics can be added if desired.

Results can be dramatic! Moving into a fairly bleak Fort Lauderdale suburban yard in 1974, I began my plantings. To date, 85 bird species have utilized my yard, including Nash­ville warbler, painting bunting, yellow-breasted chat, sharp-shinned hawk, burrowing owl and great egret. Also 18 species of butterflies have been identified and 30 baby red-bellied woodpeckers have started their life journey from my side yard.


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 (305-441-0458, kgriffin@cyberonic.com).

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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