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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October, 2005

In This Issue




  • 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, October 25, 7:30 pm. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's "Garden House", 10901 Old Cutler Road. The meeting is free and open to the public.

"Forensic Botany" – David Hall, Ph.D., Environmental and Forensic Consultant

Forensic Botany is the analysis of plant material in both civil and criminal law enforcement.  Plant evidence can be used to destroy an alibi, help determine time since death, put a suspect at a crime scene, or tell where someone or something has been.  Dr. Hall will give examples of cases which demonstrate how plants can be valuable tools used to help put suspects behind bars.

Dr. Hall owns and operates an environmental and forensic consulting firm in Gainesville and is a recognized expert in forensics and plant identification.  He was Director of the Plant Identification and Information Services at the University of Florida and helped write wetland jurisdictional rules for Florida and Federal wetland plant list and procedures  He has provided botanical expertise for investigations and training by the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Water Management Districts and Department of Environmental Protection and others.

Don't miss this fascinating program!  Please invite your family, friends and members of other plant groups.  Information on the program and speaker is posted at http://dade.fnpschapters.org/ForensicBotany.html.

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.

November 22: Becoming an Environmental Advocate – Cynthia Guerra, Executive Dir., Tropical Audubon Society

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Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members (Dade and Keys) and their invited guests. Children are welcome. Details are contained in the printed newsletter mailed each month to members. Collecting is not permitted. Please join today so that you can enjoy all the benefits of membership!

Sunday, October 23:  Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (South of Naples).  This 9200-acre reserve has numerous interesting habitats and has been closed to visitors since Briggs Nature Center closed.  Thanks to our leader Steve Woodmansee, we have permission to enter this protected area.  We will take a boardwalk through pine flatwoods, salt marsh and tidal swamp to a view of Henderson Creek.  Then we will take a path through shelly coastal berm, mangrove habitat (to Rookery Bay) and scrubby flatwoods, as time allows.  Details in the printed newsletter mailed to all members. Join now to participate.

Sunday, November 13: Rabenau Camp.  This area of the northeastern Big Cypress was once owned by the late Bill Rabenau of Davie and is now part of Big Cypress National Preserve.  Ecosystems include glades, open cypress forests, and deep pond apple sloughs, as well as oak/cabbage palm hammocks and pinelands on higher ground. Bromeliads, ferns and orchids abound.  Details in the printed newsletter mailed to all members. Join now to participate.

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, send your request to douville@bellsouth.net.  Keys members – please send announcements of other activities or Keys news to Tillandsia!  Details on the following events will be in the next Tillandsia.

November 16 meeting (Key West Botanical Garden): George Gann of The Institute for Regional Conservation will speak on Natives for Your Neighborhood, an innovative Web application that promotes the use of native plants within their historical ranges in order to increase success of native plant projects and maximize conservation benefits.

November 19 field trip:  Little Hamaca and Indigenous Parks in Keys West, led by Tina Henize.

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Saturday, October 15, 9 a.m. - noon.  Everglades National Park Workday.  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 Long Pine Key or the Anhinga Trail.  Call Patty, 305-255-6404, for more information.

November 19-20: Volunteers / plant donations are needed for The Ramble at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, DCFNPS educational display and plant sale.  If you can volunteer or have plants to donate for the sale or plants to loan for the display, please call Jan Kolb at 305-378-6104 by October 20. 

Wildflowers, passionflower vines and other herbaceous plants in 4" to 1 gallon pots are especially desirable.  Shrubs and trees that are well-established in their pots are also welcome.  The nurseries participating with us are the backbone of the sale, but the plants that members donate are special treats.

Volunteers at the sale need enough knowledge of using natives in landscapes to help at the sale, but members with any level of knowledge are encouraged to volunteer for the display – learn on the job!  We also need help setting up on Friday afternoon.

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 all our December holidays and the end of hurricane season.  Details in the November Tillandsia..

The Dade Chapter's Web site is now http://dade.fnpschapters.org.  The old URL still works, but you might want to change it in your bookmarks.

Welcome New Members!  In Dade: Miguel De Paz, Ester Casanovas, Maria Ibañez, Phyllis Kaye, Denise Leonard, Mark Llerena, Roy Patrick, Laura Reynolds,  Rainer Schael, Jake Tucker, Sam Wright.  In the Keys: Susan Wilson and Mark Yarbrough (previously listed as Dade-- sorry!)

Rockdale Pineland field trip report.  Due to limited space, the report for the June 26 trip to Rockdale Pineland was not included in Tillandsia.  Please email or call Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com) for a hard copy or Word document.]

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This yard visit has some special features to offer. It is located in North Dade (Miami Shores) for a change, is a follow-up to Gwen's September program "Introduction to Plant Families" and is, of course, a visit to her special yard.  Gwen will tell us about the basic landscaping principles that were used to place the plants and also how to identify some of the plant families represented in her yard. (Bring your handout from the meeting and a hand lens if you have one.)

The yard is small but loaded with native plants. When she started out 15 years ago, the property had one native plant and the many ubiquitous exotics.  The yard is now landscaped with 80% natives (about 100 species) and 10 % exotics.  The natives are hammock and hammock edge plants and dry pineland species, including wild flowers and grasses. The soil is sandy and too well drained to maintain wetland plants without watering.Specific d etails in printed newsletter.

Yard visits are offered every two or three months.  They provide opportunities to get to know the natives in a hands-on manner, to see them in various settings, formal and informal, and to learn the property owner's successes and failures at growing them.. Call Gwlady Scott at 305-238-8901 for more information.

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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).  Oct. 18 topic: ferns.  See www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp for more details

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

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring (305-666-5727, miamiblue@bellsouth.net) for trip and meeting schedule. Oct. 15: butterflying in ENP. Nov. 6, 1 p.m.: Quarterly meeting with program. Adrian Hunsberger "Why Are My Caterpillars Disappearing?" (Castellow Hammock, 22301 SW 162 Ave.).

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:  Oct. 16: Opa-Locka / Hialeah; Oct. 29: Hialeah; Nov. 6: West Miami / Westchester.

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

Natural Area Management Volunteer Workdays.  9 a.m.-noon.  See http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/natural_areas.asp or call 305-257-0933 for more information. Oct. 22: Hattie Bauer Hammock (formerly Orchid Jungle, SW 157 Ave at 267 St.).  Nov. 15: Deering Estate (SW 168 St and 72 Ave.).

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden classes: "Attracting Wildlife with Native Plant Landscaping" (Roger Hammer, Nov. 9 7-9 pm); "Fall Birds and Butterflies of Fairchild" (Bob Kelley, Nov. 12, 8-11 a.m.).  Call 305-667-1651 x 3322.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum meetings: Nov. 2, 7-9 p.m. "Fascinating plant-animal interactions in the arboretum" by Summer Scobell, UM Ph.D. candidate.  Plant family of the month: Cactus.  Dec 7: TBA.   Dec. 3: Annual picnic.  See www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum or call 305-284-5364.

Last chance to adopt free trees! Miami-Dade Department DERM's last Adopt-a-Tree event of 2005 is at Florida Memorial College, Gate 1 (NW 44 Court and NW 158 St) on October 15, 9 am - noon. Trees available will include at least one native species as well as avocado, lancepod, lychee and sugar apple. Miami-Dade residential single-family and duplex homeowners may pick up two FREE trees per property per year. Homeowners must bring proof of home ownership (e.g. property tax bill). Renters must bring written permission and a copy of photo ID from the homeowner. All participants must bring their own ID.  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. Call 305-372-6555 for recorded information or log onto www.miamidade.gov/derm

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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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Natives for Your Neighborhood is officially launched.  This Web site was partially funded by the Florida Native Plant Society and promotes its values.  There are lists of cultivated native plants for the entire region of the ten South Florida counties, countywide plant lists, as well as lists of plants for each zip code, and their habitats.  Plant descriptions including size, drought and saltwater tolerances, growth rate, flower and fruit color, butterfly info and much more is provided along with many photos for each plant.  See www.regionalconservation.org and click on Natives for Your Neighborhood.  The staff at The Institute for Regional Conservation wish to thank all the members of the Florida Native Plant Society for their help on this project.  Please let us know your comments.

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by Roger Hammer

[Reprinted from the October 1998 Tillandsia.]

Fall migration will be in full swing.  Lots of warblers can be seen in the canopy of wild tamarind, Lysiloma latisiliquum; ruby-throated hummingbirds and the much rarer rufous hummingbird arrive for their fall-winter-spring stay in South Florida; painted buntings also arrive for the season and can be seen around bird feeders, grassy areas, and (in my yard) feeding on the scarlet sage, Salvia coccinea.

Although the geiger tree, Cordia sebestena, flowers periodically throughout the year, October begins its prime flowering season.  Butterflies and hummingbirds visit the showy orange-red flowers.  Richard Wunderlin, in his recent publication Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida (University Press of Florida, 1998) lists the geiger tree as an exotic species.  I think most of us will have a hard time accepting this opinion.  Geiger trees occur along shoreline habitats of both the Bahamas and Cuba, and favorable ocean currents could very easily have transported fruit (which float in seawater) to shorelines of South Florida long ago.

One of South Florida's prized native plants is bandana-of-the-everglades, Canna flaccida.  It flowers several times a year, especially in April and October.  The bright yellow, flaccid flowers are very showy and are held on tall spikes above the leaves.  A great place to see large populations is in the roadside ditch along the west side of SR 29 about halfway between Tamiami Trail and Alligator Alley in Collier County.  Sometimes the leaves are stripped by the larvae of the Brazilian skipper, a common butterfly wherever the native canna occurs, but also around plantings of exotic cannas in urban areas.

October is the last rainy month, and the cooler weather will cause most native trees and shrubs to flush with new growth.  If you fertilize, this is the last call for the year before the spring rainy season.  Fertilizing in winter will cause a flush of new growth that can get damaged by frost.  It's been a while since we had a hard freeze, so keep your fingers crossed.

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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 most months at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and are free and open to the public. Once a year, instead of the usual meeting, members and their guests are invited to an evening garden tour and social at a member's home. Meetings in the Keys are held on 3rd Wednesdays in November through April at varying locations from Key Largo to Key West. The basic FNPS membership (state and chapter) is $25 per year. Please contact DCFNPS or click on the membership link at this site 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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