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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March, 2006

In This Issue




  • 15 (Wed):  Keys meeting (details TBA)
  • 18 (Sat.):  Dade field trip (Tree Island Park)
  • 19 (Sun):  Yard visit in Cutler Ridge.
  • 28 (Tues):  Dade meeting.


  • 2 (Sat.):  Chapter display at Deering's Back to Nature Day
  • 8 (Sat.):  Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
  • 19 (Wed.):  Keys meeting
  • 22 (Sat):  Dade field trip (Rookery Bay, Collier Co.)
  • 25 (Tues.):  Dade meeting
  • 29 (Sat.):  Chapter sale at Fairchild's spring plant sale


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

"Barking Up The Right Tree" -- Chris Migliaccio, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Miami Dade College.

Tired of botanizing with binoculars because the leaves are out of reach?  This month's meeting will focus on identification of South Florida's native trees by their bark.  Test your own field skills as you participate in a game show-type multimedia presentation that promises to be educational and entertaining.  Long time FNPS member Chris Migliaccio is Professor of Ecology  Environmental Sciences at the MDC Wolfson Campus, a published nature photographer, and curator of lots of bark in his own garden.

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.

April 25: "The Role of Mycorrhizae in Native Plants of South Florida" -- Dr. Jack Fisher.  (In March we talked bark, in April we're into roots!)

May 23: "Historical Garden Design for Native Landscapers" --  Diane Otis. Gain insight into the work of naturalistic landscape designers and take home ideas to try in your own garden.

June 27: "Aquatic and Wetland Wildflowers of Southern Florida" – Chuck McCartney.

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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, March 18: Tree Island Park (SW 147 Ave and 24th Street).   This park has bayheads and tree islands  (rare  in county parks).  It also has marl prairie with nice wildflowers.  

Saturday, April 22: Rookery Bay (Collier County). Rescheduled from last October, thanks to Hurricane Wilma.  We will see scrub, flatwoods, shell mound and hammock, salt marsh and mangrove swamp -- and hopefully birds.  Details next month.

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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


Program: Fire in Subtropical Forests - Friend or Foe? -- Chris Bergh, Director of the Florida Keys Program of The Nature Conservancy

Keys native Chris Bergh is deeply involved in prescribed fire, wildfire suppression and fire ecology activities in South Florida and the Bahamas. Chris's work involves purchasing and managing natural areas, some of which need periodic prescribed fires to maintain rare species and habitats while others can be severely degraded by wildfires.  Using illustrative photographs collected during actual fire events the program will describe the good and bad sides of forest fire in the Florida Keys and introduce participants to the Bahamas' flora, fauna and fire management needs.


Visit Key Largo's relict pineland -  all the pine associates, but no living pines. Was it was just chain saws or did sea level rise also play a role? Meet at the four-way stop (Card Sound Road and C-905) at 10:00 am. Be prepared to go off-trail to enjoy this trip to the max, though a less strenuous offering will also be available. Then, to make this different from last January's trip - we'll explore Avery Hammock, one of the Florida's finest hardwood hammocks, and visit a massive wetland restoration at Carysfort Yacht Club - with Park Biologist Jim Duquesnel.


Program: Gardening for Pollinators -- Dr. Suzanne Koptur, Professor of Botany, Florida International University. The home garden provides a welcome respite for pollinators moving between natural habitat patches in the ever-more urbanized landscape. Dr. Koptur will discuss the importance of our gardens to these insects and the benefits of native plants in this role.  Suzanne is a botanist (and board member of DCFNPS) who loves insects and other animals, and for the last twenty years has been studying the interactions of South Florida native plants with herbivores and pollinators.  She also has a growing interest in making and using ecological schoolyards in our community and is working on trying to bring more native wildflowers into cultivation for gardening in schoolyards and on roadsides.

FIELD TRIP: Saturday, April 22.  Details TBA.

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This member's yard is packed with more plants than you can imagine.  It is amazing. He started from scratch in 1978, and his ¼ acre yard now has 75 to 100 native plant species.  There are 11 species of native palms which you will rarely, if ever, see in one place.  Palms of all kinds are this member's' specialty.  The plantings are not exclusively native but are a mix of 40% native and 60% exotic.  He warns that it has been hurricane damaged, but this will give us an opportunity to discuss post hurricane wisdom and ecological plant succession in general.

This visit is part of an ongoing opportunity to learn about natives in a hands-on manner and to see them in various settings, formal and informal, and to learn the property owner's successes and failures at growing them.  If more information is needed, call Gwlady Scott at 305-238-8901

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Chapter board members needed!  In May we hold the Annual Chapter Meeting and select board members (generally we approve the nominating committee's slate).  What are the qualifications?  Enthusiasm for native plants and the chapter, and an ability to squeeze in a few board meetings. Being a native plant "expert" is not a requirement, though a variety of skills or interests are always needed.  Are you a potential treasurer, have a passion for education, like to lead people (become VP?), have ideas on lots of things, or just want to help and learn the ropes?  Please call Vice-President Amy Leonard, 305-668-5993 or 305-458-0969 (cell, evenings), to discuss how you might contribute to this great group (or to suggest someone you know)!

Saturday, April 8, 9 a.m. - noon.  Everglades National Park Workday. Enjoy one of the last "cooler season" days and spring in the Everglades. We'll do light maintenance and think about what to plant when the rainy season comes. 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.  For more information or possible carpooling, contact Patty (305-255-6404 or

Tillandsia staff additions wanted.  If you can help with editing, reporting, writing or publication layout, the Tillandsia might be the perfect outlet for your talents.  Please contact Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

Volunteers needed for chapter display at Deering Estate's "Back to Nature Day" on April 2, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m..  If you can help for a couple hours, please call Patty, 305-255-6404.

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FNPS 2006 state conference, Daytona Beach Shores, May 18-21, 2006: Growing Partnerships: Preserving Florida's Environment from Backyards to Backwoods, hosted by the Lyonia and Pawpaw Chapters at the Shores Resort and Spa.  Brochures will be mailed soon (you can also check www.fnps.org).  A great new feature of the conference is the Continuing Education Unit Workshop on May 18 which will enable professional arborists, landscapers, landscape architects, and others to obtain training credits needed to advance in their career.  Make your conference hotel room reservations at 1-866-934-SHORES.

March 31 is the deadline for the FNPS Landscaping with Natives Awards.  Please submit your garden or other project!  There are categories for everything. Requirements are use of 75% Florida natives, and for the project to have been in place and maintained at least 2 years.  Complete an application (see www.fnps.org - Programs - Awards or call Michael W. Kenton, 941-256-6735) including a design sketch, and provide photographs on a CD.  Beginning with this years awards, not only the designer, but the owner and contractor will receive awards.

Endowment Grant applications are also due March 31. FNPS maintains an Endowment Grant program for the purpose of funding research on native plants. These are small, competitive grants awarded for a 1-year period, and intended to support research that forwards the mission of the Florida Native Plant Society "to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida."  Effective this year, grants are for $2500.  Details are on www.fnps.org - Programs - Award or call Shirley Denton (813) 664-4500.

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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).  Mar.21: 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 3rd Tuesdays at the same location.

Back to Nature Day, Deering Estate at Cutler, Saturday, April 2, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.  Nature walks, information and fun for the whole family.  or 305-235-1668.

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.

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. Apr.1: Kendall Indian Hammocks (11345 SW 79 St.) "Spudbusters" workday!

The Nature Conservancy Greensweep workdays in the Keys.  Contact Chuck Byrd at 745-8402 or   Apr. 1: Clean up hurricane damage, National Key Deer Refuge, BPK.

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.orgMarch 11, Hialeah area; March 19, Pinecrest area; April 8, Palmetto Bay area.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum: Wed., April 5, 7-9 p.m.: "How plants get the blues" – Dr. David W. Lee, FIU.  Room 166 of the Cox Science Center. Free.  or call 305-284-5364.  April 20: 2006 Annual Gifford Lecture, Douglas Larson, Univ. of  Guelph, speaks on "Cliff, Caves and Concrete Canyons: ancient forests and modern people finding refuge."

Biscayne National Park Discovery Series, Coconut Grove Sailing Club.  March 8: BNP's Maritime Heritage Trail, or "shipwreck trail."  April 12: Getting Bizarre in Biscayne. Stories about how plants and animals survive…and how they've crossed paths with people. (www.nps.gov/bisc, 305-230-7275, ext. 0).

Native Plants Sale to benefit Kenwood K-8 Center hammock restoration.  A variety of south Florida natives, sizes 1 - 7 gallons, are available.  For a list of species and prices, or to see the plants for yourself, please contact Karen Picciano at picciano@bellsouth.net or 305-273-0063. (This sale isn't on one date – it's ongoing.)  Take some home, or donate them for planting into the Kenwoods Hammock.  Kenwoods, an award-winning native plant project at the school, is in Kendall at 9300 SW 79 Ave.  It's a great place for birding, too.

"Go Native!" guidebook promotes native trees and shrubs over commonly-found exotics.  This pocket guide is a bi-lingual guidebook developed by Citizens for a Better South Florida to help the public make the switch from exotics to natives as they replant their yards. The pocket-size guidebooks, printed by the City of Miami, are being distributed for free through the City of Miami Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET) offices through March.  Citizens is a Miami-based environmental education non-profit which provides a foundation of understanding on environmental issues in South Florida to diverse constituencies.  For information, call Alex Montalvo (305-648-0000, citizens@abettersouthflorida.org) or www.abettersouthflorida.org

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Paid Advertising

Advertisement for M&M Data & Designs

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by John Pancoast

Illustration by Wes Jurgens

Galium hispidulum

Drawing of Galium hispidulumThis month's plant is found on sandy soil in pinelands on the coastal plain as far north as New Jersey.  It is a perennial herb with mostly square stems up to two feet long.  The whorled leaves are less than one half inch long.  The small flowers are greenish white and can be found in the spring.  The fruit is a very small purple berry.  The stems and the undersides of the leaves are hairy.

The common name for this plant, Galium hispidulum, is coastal bedstraw.  In Europe, other species of bedstraw were used to stuff mattresses perhaps  because the scent was said to kill fleas.  According to Bailey's Manual of Cultivated Plants, legend has it that a species of bedstraw was the hay on which the mother of Christ rested.  The name of the genus comes from gala, the Greek word for milk (as does galaxy – the 'milky' way) because some species were used to coagulate milk to make cheese. 

There are over 250 species of bedstraw widely distributed in various parts of the world.  It is part of the Rubiaceae or madder family, a large family found mostly in the tropics.  Other South Florida members of this family are firebush and wild coffee.

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by Martin Roessler

On January 28, 2006, we visited North Key Largo.  Jim Duquesnel led the group along the Card Sound Road Extension, east of CR-905 where remnants of a pineland habitat were observed, and along the Dynamite Dock trail through the main West Indian Hardwood Hammock habitat. Details of the trip are reported in the printed newsletter.

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2005-2006 CHAPTER BOARD:

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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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