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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September, 2005

In This Issue




  • 24 (Sat.): Field trip (Enchanted Forest Park, N Miami)
  • 27 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Identifying Plant Families).


  • 15 (Sat.): Chapter workday Everglades National Park.
  • 23 (Sun.): Field trip, Rookery Bay (Naples)
  • 25 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Forensic Botany)
  • 29 (Sat.): Yard visit (landscaping and beginning botany)


  • 13 (Sun.): Field trip, Rabenau Camp, Big Cypress
  • 16 (Wed.): Keys meeting, Key West (Natives for Your
  • 19 (Sat.): Keys field trip (Little Hamaca/ Indig. Parks KW)
  • 19-20 (Sat-Sun): Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Ramble
    (DCFNPS educational display and plant sale).
  • 22 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Becoming an environ. advocate)


  • 4 (Sun.): FNPS, NABA, TAS, Treemendous Miami picnic
  • 10 (Sat.): Field trip (Dade, TBA)
  • 17 (Sat.): Chapter workday Everglades National Park
  • 21 (Wed.): Keys meeting [field trip TBA]



Tuesday, September 27, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road. The meeting is free and open to the public.

'Introduction to Plant Families' -- Gwen Burzycki, Miami-Dade Dept. of Environmental Resources Management

Have you ever wondered how the expert botanists figure out a name for that unidentified 'dingleweed' you found on a field trip?  Believe it or not, you don't have to memorize all 4,000 Florida plant species.  There is a system of organization to plant identification that makes identification of an unknown easier than you think.  The most relevant organizational category for plant identification is the plant family.  Most identification keys are much easier to use if you can at least recognize the family before opening the book.  Gwen will review some of the terms you will need to understand identification keys and provide some examples of common plant families that are easy to recognize.  Gwen is an Environmental Resources Project Supervisor with DERM, member of FNPS and an enthusiastic plant aficionado.  (Bonus offer!  Apply what you will learn in Gwen’s yard on October 29.  See Chapter News.)

Early arrivals can snack before the meeting (7:15).  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.

Upcoming meetings

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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!

Plant lists: You can print plant lists before field trips for most South Florida sites by conservation area.  See The Institute for Regional Conservation, http://www.regionalconservation.org.  Register to get a password.

Are field trips just for botanists?  Definitely not!  If you want to learn the plants, please let it be known – we’ll identify good people to stick close to.  Many find that learning one or two plants per trip is enough, and some of us like to go mostly to experience the place and enjoy nature.

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Keys activities resume in November.  To receive email reminders of Keys Group activities, send your request to douville@bellsouth.net.  Keys members – please send announcements of other activities or news in the Keys to Tillandsia!

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The Yard Visit which was to be on Sept. 24 will be rescheduled due to damage by Hurricane Katrina.  In the meantime, we’ll visit Gwen Burzycki’s garden in Miami Shores on October 29, 2-4 p.m.  We will not only learn about her landscaping but will also identify plant families as a follow-up to her September 27 program.  Details TBA.

Saturday, October 15, 9 a.m. - noon.  Everglades National Park Workday.  Summer was great for the natives and the weeds.  Come admire the progress of the project and help with 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.  New volunteers, family, friends and kids are welcome and encouraged!  Enjoy good company and free admission to the park for your car.  It’s time for fall wildflowers and wildlife, so bring your lunch and head to the Anhinga Trail or Long Pine Key.  Call Patty, 305-255-6404, for more information.

Please spread the word about our extra-special October 25 program on Forensic Botany.  Dr. David Hall, an expert in forensics and plant identification and an environmental consultant in Gainesville, will show how plants can be valuable tools used to help put suspects behind bars.  Invite friends and members of other plant groups!  Details are in a flyer at http://dade.fnpschapters.org/ForensicBotany.html.

Save the date!  Holiday  Party – Potluck Family Picnic, Sunday, December 4, 2-5 p.m. A.D. Barnes Park (72 Ave and Bird Rd.). FNPS, North American Butterfly Association, TREEmendous Miami, and Tropical Audubon Society join together to celebrate the end of hot weather and all our December holidays.  Details to follow.

Pots.  If you need plastic pots (4' to 3 gallon) for native plant propagation, or if you have pots to dispose of, please call Patty at 305-255-6404, or bring extras to meetings.  We need 4' pots!

FNPS has qualified for IBM's Matching Grants Program. IBM will match memberships and donations with cash or IBM equipment or software.  If you are a current or retired IBM employee, please let FNPS know when you renew your membership or make a contribution to FNPS.  Write 'IBM employee' or 'IBM employee retired' and your identifying IBM employee number on your renewal or donation form. (This notice is from FNPS Administrative Services.)

Photo opportunities wanted.  George Childs would like to augment to photos used at chapter plant sales with full-length photos of more species so that potential customers can better see what their purchase might grow into.  He would like to know of mature specimens separated from other plants so they can be effectively photographed. Contact him at meetings or through DCFNPS.

Keys activities resume in November.  To receive email reminders of Keys Group activities, send your request to douville@bellsouth.net.  Keys members – please send announcements of other activities or news in the Keys to Tillandsia!

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Summer finally offered time to tally responses to the chapter member survey last November.  THANK YOU to all took time to share your compliments, suggestions and 'constructive criticism'!  Some results are included here, but a more detailed summary will be available later in hard copy and on the chapter web site.  The board will discuss all comments and suggestions as time allows and try to respond to your input.  Stay tuned!

The respondents were about 23% of membership (good for a voluntary survey), 58 from Dade and 12 from the Keys. The discussion below applies to Dade and Keys unless otherwise indicated.  For all activities, distance was a barrier for many Keys members.  Diversity was apparent in priorities, interests and aspects of the chapter most or least appreciated.  Yet most seemed interested in exposure to a variety of topics, and many expressed appreciation and an understanding of the considerable work and time contributed by all chapter volunteers.

  • Meetings:  The discussion of raffle plants was universally valued (even for those not interested in getting plants), though some prefer it after the speaker so they can leave earlier if they need to.  Programs were generally of interest and technical levels not often a problem, though some speakers who use scientific names without also providing common names were an occasional problem.  Topics of interest in Dade / Keys: science 74% / 50%, landscaping 63% / 67%, environmental issues 74% / 83%,  plants and animals 81% / 67%.  Both appreciation of the camaraderie and a need for better inclusion of newcomers were mentioned.
  • Field trips: While almost all wanted to ID plants (or to learn), many seek the general outdoor experience and being with friends.  The only clear issue was a need for more help for beginners in plant ID.
  • Yard Visits for New Learners: Participation is less than for other activities because not all members are 'new learners' or still planting their yards, but those who go love it!
  • Newsletter: Many read 'every word', 90% read the articles (more articles requested) while 61% read field trip plant lists. Topics of interest in Dade/Keys:  science  66% / 42%, landscaping 69% / 42%, nature 69% / 67%, people 40% / 17%, plant profiles 81% / 58%, advocacy 43% / 8%, environmental issues 71% / 67%.  About 45% were potentially interested in email distribution, many fiercely love paper.
  • Goals/activities/projects:  Educating members or the public and advocacy for native plant conservation through supporting efforts by local agencies/government received the most 'essential' and 'very important' responses.  Advocacy through promoting legislation, initiating community projects and recognizing efforts by others in the community were of next highest importance.  Giving financial or volunteer support to projects by other groups were of the least importance to respondents.
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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).  Sept. 20 topic: ferns.  See http://www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp  for more details.

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 info.

Citizens for a Better South Florida has a new booklet, 'Go Native', a fun and informative pocket guide to choosing Florida natives instead of commonly found exotics.  You can pick up free copies for groups to distribute at events or to give to friends and members.  Call Alex at 305-648-0000.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See http://www.miamiblue.org for trip and meeting schedule.  Butterfly walks: Oct. 1: Crandon Park; Oct. 15:ENP.

TREEmendous Miami has monthly projects planting native and non-native trees.  To volunteer or learn more: 305-378-1863 or http://www.treemendousmiami.org.  Upcoming plantings need you!
Planting trees from DERM’s Adopt-A-Tree program for senior/disabled:

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

Paid Advertising

Paid Advertising

TREEmendous Miami, the people who plant trees, is looking for a part-time, bilingual (Eng/Sp), independent person to conduct phone calls to elderly/disabled homeowners who have signed up for DERM's Adopt-a-Tree Program. 

Work from your own home, $10/hr, hours are flexible with certain deadlines, record keeping and phone logs on designated forms, 20-30 hours/month.  Telephone personality a must; tree expertise not required.  If interested, contact Amy Creekmur, Program Coordinator, 305-278-1863 or treemendousmiami@mail.com.

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Sept. 24-25: Tropical Audubon Native Plant Sale.  Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., South Miami, 305-666-7337. Experts will be on hand for advice. Proceeds support TAS.  Sat., 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun., 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Oct. 1: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Member’s Day plant distribution and sale.  Join FTBG now!  Join at the door, call 305-667-1651, or visit http://www.fairchildgarden.org.

Nov. 19-20: The Ramble, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  DCFNPS will participate.

Nurseries: They may have sustained damage from Katrina but should be recovering.  Call ahead.  Casey’s Corner Nursery (305-248-7284), Florida Keys Native Nursery (305-852-2636), Plant Creations (305-248-8147), Richard Lyon’s Nursery (305-251-6293), Veber’s Jungle Garden (305-251-6293), and Native Tree Nursery (wholesale only, 305-247-4499).

Citizens for a Better South Florida sells native plants on weekdays and at special weekend events.  Call 305-648-0000 or see www.abettersouthflorida.org.

Also see Dade and Broward Chapter FNPS web sites (http://www.fnps.org/chapters/dade , http://www.Browardnps.org ) and the Association of Native Nurseries (http://www.afnn.org ).

Attend DCFNPS meetings and get great plants in the raffle!

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You may have already cleaned up after Katrina, but you can be prepared for the next hurricane or other nasty weather with information for repairing damage to your landscape.  Here is a little guidance.  Send us your comments or additions for a future revision on the chapter Web site.

Think ahead

  • Maintain healthy plants throughout the year to help minimize storm damage.  Some trees and shrubs may need preventive pruning.
  • The right plant in the right place.   Plant good quality nursery stock suitable for the location.  Don't plant large trees near overhead lines where they may be frequently and poorly pruned, thereby reducing their structural integrity.  Buried lines aren't always the answer -- buried lines and pipes can get damaged when trees tip over.  Some plants may be more prone to tipping in wetter areas of your yard.
  • Seek information on tree care and licensed arborists from local sources.  The UF Extension office (http://www.ifas.ufl.edu , 305-248-3311 in Dade, 305-292-4501 in Monroe) has many circulars. Also see the Miami Herald’s Home and Design section on Sundays (also online) and take classes at FTBG and MDC.  Buy books by local experts (e.g., peruse Fairchild’s store or http://store.fairchildonline.com ; Enchanted Ground by Georgia Tasker for basic information; An Illustrated Guide to Pruning by Edward F. Gilman, an authority on Florida tree care).
  • Bookmark http://www.floridaisa.org , the Florida Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.  Consumer Tree Care takes you to http://www.treesaregood.com  for how-to info.  Then go back to Professional Tree Care.  Look at Storm Damaged Trees (and comprehensive strategies under that) and other sections. (Articles in this section are on http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu , and are by Dr. Gilman).  The information here will help you do the job -- or decide to hire an arborist to prune large, heavily damaged or poorly-formed trees..
  • Keep some supplies on hand for staking and propping (see discussion for items needed).

Right after the storm

  • Don’t endanger yourself, others or the trees if the job is beyond your strength or knowledge.  Protect plants you want to try to save (see below) and arrange for work to be done later.
  • Cover exposed roots (use shade cloth, blanket, etc.) and keep the roots damp. You may be able to save up-rooted trees even after some weeks.
  • If formerly shaded plants are getting burned in the sun, make a temporary shelter over them with leafy branches or shade cloth.
  • Prune as little as possible until you can get knowledgeable help or thoroughly evaluate the situation.


  • Review or seek information before you cut!
  • Don’t prune too soon.  Leaves on damaged branches may contribute to the tree’s energy reserves.  Waiting months (at least) to cut off sprouts and damaged branches of a tree with a lot of canopy or root damage can help the tree recover.
  • Prune above points of branching and not closer than 1/2' (for small branches) to 1½' (for large branches) to the larger branch or trunk.
  • When pruning off wind damage, look for a change in the color of the bark, indicating where the damage begins.
  • Don’t over-prune palms. Try not to prune fronds with any green left. Never prune above '9 and 3' (imagine a clock).
  • DO NOT hatrack or cut the leader.
  • Cut off broken limbs and roots cleanly so that they may heal properly.

Resetting tipped up or leaning trees and shrubs

  • Prune if needed to lighten, then right the tree and prune if needed to reduce wind resistance.
  • Dig out the hole before uprighting the tree, as soil may have been washed in.
  • Stake smaller trees and shrubs. Strapping (webbed or rubber) is recommended over rope (which can cut the bark), or use rope through a section of rubber hose or pad with burlap.   Some hardware or garden stores have webbed strapping (actually flexible AC duct hanger), e.g., Parker Sod, ProSource Management in Homestead., Joe Blair Garden Supply.  See phone book for numbers.  (Ask other garden stores to carry it, too!)
  • Prop heavy trees with 2x4s.  Don’t nail directly to the trunk.  Encircle the trunk with short sections of wood, fastening them together by encircling with a strap (get metal plumbers strap used for hanging pipes at hardware stores).  It may take 2 or 3 people to do this!  Put burlap under the wood to protect the bark. Nail props to the encircling brace. (Look at examples done by contractors along roads.)
  • Carefully push leaning trees (roots not exposed) without straining them and prop with 2x4s padded with burlap.
  • Cut temporary props from tree branches in your debris pile, leaving a fork at the end.
  • Remove the stakes or props when the tree is well-rooted again -- maybe 6 months or more.
  • Keep watering for a few weeks and through the dry winter as you would a newly-planted tree.
  • Replanting in a new hole is sometimes best.
  • Remember how fast things grow here! If the plant is too battered or difficult and expensive to rehabilitate, let nearby volunteers grow up or plant a new one.

Tidy up – but not too much

  • Mulch trees and beds (except pineland) with the leaf litter.
  • Remove leaves and debris from pinelands or 'pineland gardens' unless it is from the pineland plants themselves. Organic matter in pinelands should be kept to a minimum.
  • Leave some stumps or pieces of logs.  They can be nesting cavities, perches, feeding site for insects and the critters that feed on them, plant stands, bromeliad holders, decorative edging, seats, objects d’art).
  • Piles of brush can be havens for wildlife, and you will see birds foraging for insects in piles of branches.  Even after these piles have been taken away, your yard will be more diverse if it is not too 'tidy'. Some solitary bees like to nest in dead twigs, and the more variety you have in substrates the greater number of potential pollinators and beneficial insects your yard will have.
  • Leave broken branches with fruit for birds to feed on. 
  • Save some ripe fruits and seeds for people who propagate (members and perhaps some nurseries may need them).
  • Alert your cleanup helpers to small plants, native tree snails, spiders and other items in your yard that are not 'trash.'
  • Save some volunteer seedlings and pot them up for future plants sales, raffles or simply sharing with others.
  • Offer logs to woodturners. Act quickly!  Wood may need to be taken within a few days before it dries.  These are probably the most desirable natives, depending on the size.  If you don’t know any woodturners, contact FNPS member Ed Mc Sweeny (305-258-5418, mcsweeny@infionline.net).
    • Crabwood (Ateramnus lucidus)-- even smallest size used
    • Black Ironwood (Krugiodendron ferraeum)
    • Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni)
    • Geiger Tree (Cordia sebestena) – heartwood
    • Lignum vitae (Guaicum sanctum)
    • Jamaica Dogwood (Piscidia piscipula)
    • Stoppers (Eugenia, Myriacanthes spp.)
    • West Indian Cherry (Prunus myrtifolia)
    • Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Learn from past mistakes 

  • Make this an opportunity to improve your yard!  (Maybe even start a pine land?)  This is a good time to share with your neighbors how well your native trees performed – and how well they rebound.

Contributing to this article: Lea Brennan, Gwen Burzycki, Mary Collins, Roger Hammer, Suzanne Koptur, Wendy Lawson, Ed McSweeny, Patty Phares, Wendy Saltzburg, Steve Woodmansee.


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[Dr. Suzanne Koptur, DCFNPS Board member and FIU Professor of Biological Sciences, sent the following letter to each Miami-Dade County School Board member after seeing the August 29, 2005, Miami Herald article 'Rare South Florida Plants Threatened' featuring Keith Bradley (biologist with The Institute for Regional Conservation and DCFNPS member).  You can find the article at www.miami.com.  Ron Ehman Park at SW 112 St. and 97 Ave. is slated to become a middle school (see July Tillandsia). Add your own voice! – Editor]

My graduate students and I are some of the scientists working to know more about pine rockland plants, and have learned through our research that even very small fragments of pine rockland can harbor numerous individuals of rare plant species.  It has come to my attention that a field site in which we have studied a variety of species over the last decade is slated for demolition, and I must write to you to plead for reconsideration!

The pine rockland fragment in Ron Ehman park is a lovely oasis of nature in the middle of urban/suburban Dade County, but unfortunately never received National Forest designation, and is now being considered as a site for a new middle school.  This living laboratory has been important in the research of several graduate theses, and we are horrified to hear that it might be destroyed.  We have been surprised by our findings that plants in a fragment of pine rockland as small as Ron Ehman park are being pollinated and setting seed, even though this fragment is distant from other pine rocklands.  It appears that the habitat fragment is fairly intact, and that pollinators are providing the necessary ecosystem services, an indicator of the 'good health' of this habitat patch.

Once obliterated, this habitat can never be reclaimed.  Pine rocklands are truly a fragile ecosystem, and the county's Natural Areas Management group has done a superb job of taking care of the pieces in their charge.  Every small piece of pine rockland is important because it harbors unique plant populations, and pine rocklands from the northern part of the Miami Rock Ridge are different from those in the southern part.  Since much less is left of the northern part of the pine rocklands, that is where most of the endangered species are found.

Why not use, instead, land to the west of this site that has been developed for commercial purposes, then underutilized or abandoned?  It will be a sad statement on the attitudes of our educational institutions if they obliterate what little nature is left in our beautiful but overexploited Miami-Dade County.  Citizens of this county deserve to have green space to provide relief in the midst of buildings and concrete.  Pine rocklands deserve our protection and care now and forever, to preserve our natural heritage.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

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by Martin Roessler

On July 30 2005, Steve Woodmansee led us to two pine rockland habitats in South Dade County. Ron Ehman Park is a 14.6 acre parcel at SW 112 Street and 97 Avenue. Approximately 7 acres are still covered with slash pine and saw palmetto understory and the rest is occupied by ball fields and tennis courts. The site is owned by the Miami-Dade County School Board and managed by the Parks Department. Pine Shore Preserve, an 8 acre pine flatwoods, is located on SW 128 Street and 109 Ave. It too is adjacent to a school but is owned and managed by the Parks Department. Both sites are occupied by a diverse flora with endemic species present and some of these are rare and listed as potentially endangered species. Management has kept the large exotic trees and shrubs under control but the small size of the parcels and large percentage of edge, allows the invasion of many herbaceous exotics and weedy natives.

[Print newsletter contains a list of the species in bloom.]

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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 $12/month.

© 1999-2005 Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society, Inc.

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