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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January, 2006

In This Issue


CORRECTION: In the September Tillandsia, the number for Veber's Jungle Garden nursery was in error.  The correct number is 305-242-9500.  Please support the nurseries that sell native plants and visit them at the Ramble on November 19-20.  We all need them and appreciate their contributions to our community and our chapter – even after they suffered beatings from multiple hurricanes



  • 24 (Tue.): Dade meeting
  • 25 (Wed.): Keys meeting (Key Largo) – note date change!
  • 28 (Sat.): Dade/Keys field trip (Key Largo) ... followed by Mary Ann Bolla and Joyce Gann's annual Holiday Party in Tavernier – see details below.


  • 4 (Sat.): Chapter workday Everglades National Park
  • 15 (Wed.): Keys meeting (Marathon)
  • 18 (Sat.): Keys field trip (Key West).  Reservation required.
  • 19 (Sun.): Dade field trip, Everglades National Park.
  • 28: (Tue.): Dade meeting.


  • 4 (Sat): NATIVE PLANT DAY at the Deering Estate



 Tuesday, January 24, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road (4th Tuesday, not the last!) The meeting is free and open to the public.

"Cat Colonies and Feral Cats in Natural Areas."  Dan Castillo and Ricardo Zambrano, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The problem of feral cats in natural areas is a difficult issue, with concerns about the impact of cats on wildlife and the difficulty of keeping cat colonies in check.  Dan Castillo will discuss the effectiveness of trap, neuter, and release programs in reducing the number of feral and unwanted cats in public lands, a topic he studied for his Master's thesis at FIU.  Ricardo Zambrano will speak about feral cat predation on wildlife and FFWCC's policy on feral and free-ranging cats.  Dan is Biological Scientist III with the FFWCC.  He is in charge of the Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area (WEA) and Frog Pond Wildlife Management Area (WMA).  Ricardo Zambrano is Biological Scientist IV with the FFWCC and the South Region's Non-Game Biologist and lead point of contact on feral cat issues.

Refreshments are available for early arrivals at 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.

Feb. 28: Dr. Len Scinto will discuss the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and how science is being conducted to assist in the restoration efforts.

Mar. 28: Chris Migliaccio will talk about the biology of tree bark, distinctive native tree bark and identifying trees from their bark.

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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!

Saturday, January 28: Dynamite Docks, North Key Largo.  Walk through coastal hammock and other habitats to the ocean.

Sunday, February 19.  Everglades National Park, pinelands around Osteen Hammock.  Details in next Tillandsia.

Carpooling: Save gas money and enjoy the company.  Call at least 3 days before the field trip!

Learn to ID plants: If you would like help, please let it be known – we'll introduce you to good people to stick close to.

Print a plant list in advance from The Institute for Regional Conservation's Web site, www.regionalconservation.org  Register to get a password.

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

Due to hurricane damage the November meeting and field trip in Key West have been canceledGeorge Gann's program on Natives for Your Neighborhood will be on February 15.

JANUARY 25: MEETING IN KEY LARGO.  (Note: This meeting has been changed to the 4th Wednesday.)

"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. 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.

JANUARY 28 FIELD TRIP: North Key Largo -- see  Upcoming Field Trips above.

FEBRUARY 15 MEETING (Key West): "Natives for Your Neighborhood", George Gann, Institute for Regional Conservation.  Details in February Tillandsia.

FEBRUARY 18 TRIP:  Key West's Little Hamaca Park or Indigenous Park (or alternate site, as hurricane cleanup allows). Space limited.  Please call or email Tina, 745-3402, tahenize@aol.com, for current info, parking location and your reservation.  More details in February Tillandsia.

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Saturday, January 28
All afternoon/evening – potluck at 3 p.m.
All Dade/Keys FNPS members & families invited.

Mary Ann Bolla and Joyce Gann's annual (Post-) Holiday Party again will be preceded by a morning field trip (see this newsletter for details).  In the afternoon and evening, we will gather at a member's home for socializing, local outdoor activities and potluck.  During the afternoon, you can scour the neighborhood for native plants or use the two canoes (please call to reserve), or browse the library.  For brave souls there is also a natural beach within 100 yards.  The pot-luck will begin around 3 p.m., but come whenever you can -- earlier or later.  Snacks will be provided between the field trip and potluck. As a special treat, there will be a showing of the vintage movie "Winds Across the Everglades", starring Burl Ives, Christopher Plummer, Emmett Kelly, Peter Faulk, Gypsy Rose Lee, and "Totch" Brown, who has written a book about his lifetime in the Everglades.

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Native Plant Day, our annual public event, will be at the Deering Estate at Cutler.  It's a full day of learning about native plants with programs, nature walks, displays, children's activities, plant and book sales and all-around good time. Plan to attend and/or volunteer and start telling your friends and neighbors!  Programs and walks will cover a variety of landscaping and plant care topics and plants in natural areas.  Entrance to the Estate will be half-price.  Details will be in the February newsletter and on the chapter web site in late January.

Please contact Steve Woodmansee (305-595-5541, stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net) if you can help, have suggestions (food vendors, activities, etc.), can post announcements in newsletters or elsewhere, or would like to participate as a vendor of plants or plant-related items.  Please call ASAP as the final plans will be wrapped up by January 15.  To help with setup or at the event, please call or sign up at the January meeting.

Plants to donate to the raffles or chapter sale?  Now is the time to groom them.  Most desired are wildflowers or other herbaceous plants (4" to 1 gallon) and less-common trees and shrubs (1 to 3 gallon).  All donations are greatly appreciated, but to keep the raffle and sale manageable, please pick a just few of your best plants.  If the pots are broken, plants are too small or recently potted up, unwieldy, root-bound, etc., please give them some TLC and save them for a later occasion.  Plants will be assigned to the raffle or sale as needed.  Please contact Mary Rose at 305-378-0382 or jdrose6@bellsouth.net to donate plants.  Non-plant items are also desired (books, gardening items, services, etc.)

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Saturday, February 4, 9 a.m. - noon.  Everglades National Park Workday.  We'll do light maintenance and continue cleanup of minor hurricane damage.  Drinks, hand tools and 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!  You will have free admission to the park for your car, so bring your lunch and head to Long Pine Key or the Anhinga Trail to enjoy the winter birds and other wildlife.  For more information or possible carpooling, contact Patty (305-255-6404 or

Thanks to Ramble volunteers, plant donors and nurseries!  The chapter and vendors sold 348 plants, including 109 donated to the chapter.  With the donations of a portion of the vendors' proceeds to the chapter, we earned over $700 to help support educational efforts and pay the cost of operating the chapter.  Thanks to Veber's Jungle Garden and Casey's Corner Nursery for their continued participation and support in the plant sale.

Tillandsia staff additions wanted.  If you have a modest flair for editing, reporting, writing or publication layout, the Tillandsia might be the perfect outlet for your talents.  With everyone's busy schedules and life-changing events, new help to share the newsletter duties would be welcome.  Please contact Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com) if you might be interested.

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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).  Jan. 17: see www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp.

The Broward Chapter FNPS meets 2nd Tuesdays at UF's Agriculture Research and Education Center, 3205 College Ave., Davie.  Call Jack Lange, 954-583-0283 for info.  The Broward Native Plant Workshop meets on 3rd Tuesdays at the same location.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring (305-666-5727, miamiblue@bellsouth.net) for butterfly walks and meeting schedule.  Feb. 5, 1 p.m.: Annual Chapter membership meeting and special presentation by Dick Smythe: "Survival Strategies of Caterpillars."  Probably at Castellow Hammock (call or check web site to confirm location).

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.   305-257-0933 or www.miamidade.gov/parks/natural_areas.asp  for more information.

The Nature Conservancy Greensweep workdays in the Keys.  Contact Chuck Byrd at 745-8402 or   Feb. 4: Tropical Crane Point Hammock, Marathon (4th Annual Snakeplant Pull-A-Thon).  Additional workdays monthly.

TREEmendous Miami plants native and non-native trees from DERM's Adopt-a-Tree program at the homes of senior/disabled residents.  Upcoming plantings need you!  Contact Amy, Program Coordinator, 305-378-1863 or www.treemendousmiami.org .

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Paid Advertising

Advertisement for M&M Data & Designs

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"Bridging the Gaps between Florida and the Bahamas"
February 8th – 12th 2006
Miami, Florida, and Abaco, Bahamas

The pine rocklands of South Florida and the Bahamas are unique in the world.  Shaped by their harsh limestone soil, pronounced annual drought and rainy seasons, periodic fires and hurricane impacts, these forests have evolved over millennia to support incredible biological diversity of plants and animals.  Here in Florida about 98% of the 126,000 pre-settlement acres of pine rocklands have been converted to urban and agricultural land uses with much of the remaining 2% protected in Everglades National Park, the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges and Miami-Dade County Parks.  But on the Bahamas' four "pine islands," Andros, Abaco, Grand Bahama and New Providence, about 350,000 acres of pine rocklands remain.  Despite intensive logging from the early 1890's through the 1960's most of the Bahamas forests are ecologically intact, but threats to their long term existence are multiplying.

The Pine Rockland Working Group (PRWG) is an informal coalition of scientists, educators, natural area managers, fire fighters and others who are interested in the study, preservation and safe, effective management of this amazing forest community and its inhabitants.

The purpose of this conference is to bring together the members of the PRWG and other individuals or groups that have an interest in the pine rockland habitat. This Conference is a continuation of the collaborative efforts started in February 2004 with the "William B. Robertson, Jr., Memorial Pineland Fire Ecology and Management Workshop."  The conference encourages participation from scientists, educators, managers, planners, policy makers, naturalists, students and members of the general public who are involved in planning, conservation, restoration, tourism, and interpretation of the pine rockland ecosystem in South Florida and the Bahamas.

Conference schedule:

Cost: The Wednesday-Friday conference is FREE.  The Bahamas Workshop is $300 plus air fare.

Registration Information Please confirm your attendance by January 18, 2006 to all or part of the Conference by completing the registration form available at: http://fl.water.usgs.gov/Miami/pineland/Pine%20Rockland%20Conference%2006%20info,%20call,%20registation.pdf.  Or contact Anna Symington of The Nature Conservancy at 305-745-8399.

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[Information provided by Tom Lodge and Joyce Gann]

Taylor R. Alexander, a noted plant ecologist and early explorer in Everglades science, died November 30, 2005.  Born in Hope, Arkansas on May 27, 1915, he received his A.B. degree with a major in biology from Quachita College, Arkadelphia, Arkansas (1936), his M.S. degree in plant physiology from the University of Chicago (1938), and his Ph.D. in plant physiology and ecology from the University of Chicago (1941).

Dr. Alexander taught at the University of Miami from September 1940 until his retirement in June 1977, as Botanist (1940-47), Professor (1947), and Chairman (1948-1965) of the Department of Botany; and as Professor of Botany (1965-1977) following merger of the botany and zoology departments into the Department of Biology.  After his retirement, he worked with the consulting company, Tropical Bioindustries, for several years.

Among many accomplishments, Dr. Alexander served under Governor Kirk on the Governor's Committee on Natural Resources and as an advisor for Florida's Endangered Land Purchasing Program (1967-1970).  He was president of Florida Academy of Sciences (1970-71), a member of the Big Cypress Oil Well Site Advisory Committee (1971 - 1984), and served on Metropolitan Dade County Environmental Quality Control Board (1981 -1985).  In 2002 he received Florida Native Plant Society's Mentor Award.  Among his publications were two books, Botany (Golden Press, 1970) and Ecology (Golden Press, 1973), and some 20 periodical publications and research reports.  His final publication was an introduction, entitled "Recollections," in the second edition of The Everglades Handbook: Understanding the Ecosystem by Thomas E. Lodge (CRC Press, 2005).  In "Recollections" he summarizes his scientific views and recounts many personal experiences of his work in the Everglades since the early 1940s.  His most important contribution was to our general understanding of South Florida's plant community succession in responses to environmental factors such as fire and hydrology. 

Until his death, he resided in South Miami in the house he and his late wife, Edith, built in 1947 – designed by architect Marian Manley, a close friend of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.  Taylor's yard was famed among plant enthusiasts for its intriguing mix of rare native plants and interesting exotics.  He is survived by his two daughters, Barbara Eve Close of Orlando and Birdie A. Bermelin of South Miami, and three grandchildren, Robert Taylor Bermelin, and Charles and Kathryn Close.  At his request, there were no services.

Taylor and Edith were among the first members of the Dade Chapter FNPS.  He was the recipient of the Chapter's Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award in 1983 and was a colleague, friend and mentor to many chapter members, and a botany professor who numerous members remember fondly.  Joyce Gann remembers that he was always a willing educator for everyone, answering questions on botany, habitat and plant identification, and a vast source of knowledge on "how things used to be."

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DCFNPS Members work to keep Lantana canescens in the flora of South Florida

Lantana canescens, or hammock shrub verbena, is an unassuming native shrub that you will not encounter on field trips or visits to native plant nurseries-- this Florida endangered plant is extremely rare!  Seldom surpassing 6 ft tall, Lantana canescens has clusters of white flowers similar to those of Lantana involucrata (wild sage).  However, Roger Hammer notes that L. involucrata flowers are often violet-tinged.  Another difference from L. involucrata is that Lantana canescens is our only native lantana that does not produce clusters of purple or blue berries; instead it has fruiting heads that look like tiny green artichokes bearing papery brown "nutlets" between green bracts.  The nutlets are easily shaken out by the wind. 

Lantana canescens is not available for sale by native plant nurseries.  At Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's nursery we have grown hundreds of Lantana canescens for research and restoration purposes.  Like other Lantana species, we have found it to be easy to propagate by cuttings, and have noted it to be a favorite stopover for many insects, especially skippers.  

The native habitat of Lantana canescens is the transition or "ecotone" between pine rockland and rockland hammocks.  Besides due to loss of green space in general, this type of ecotone in Miami-Dade County natural areas is extremely rare for two reasons.  These are:  (1) fire suppression, which allows hammock vegetation to invade pine rocklands until a parcel is essentially 100% hammock, and (2) firebreaks, which are commonly placed on top of ecotones and maintained as a service road, cutting out the natural transition where Lantana canescens and other species native to the pineland/hammock ecotone would live. 

The future of Lantana canescens in Florida's flora is in peril.  Its single remaining wild population has been reduced to less than 50 plants.  While this population is on "protected" Miami-Dade County land, it is failing to thrive there because some plants border on an actively farmed field while others appear to have an unidentified pathogen.  In 2004, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Miami-Dade County began a rescue program of the remaining plants, taking cuttings from all of the wild individuals that were large enough to survive it.

This past December 2nd and 3rd, over two beautiful sunny crisp mornings, twenty-two volunteers worked with staff from Fairchild's Center for Tropical Plant Conservation and Miami-Dade Natural Areas Management to restore Lantana canescens to a site where it grew just a few years ago.  This restoration site is a hammock edge that was once hammock/pineland ecotone.  Although this planting was scheduled in South Florida's dry season, Natural Areas Management agreed to water plants bi-weekly until they are established.

Many of the staff and volunteers who made this restoration effort possible were DCFNPS members.  They included Karen Griffin, Libby Mahaffey, Joyce Maschinski, Lauren McFarland, Andy Mickish, Patty Phares, Jennifer Possley, Cristina Rodriguez, Mary Rose, Brian Sidoti, Kristie Wendelberger, Lynka Woodbury, Steve Woodmansee, and Sam Wright.  Thanks to DCFNPS volunteers.  Without their efforts this project would not have been possible!

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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, stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net)

Refreshment coordinator, Dade meetings: Patty Harris, 305-262-3763 eve., 305-373-1000 day

DCFNPS Web page: http://dade.fnpschapters.org

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: 321-271-6702

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.

© 1999-2007 Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society, Inc.

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