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!

| past newsletters |

April, 2006

In This Issue




  • 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


  • 7 (Sun.): Yard visit (Homestead)
  • 18-21: FNPS State Conference, Daytona Beach.
  • 20 (Sat.): Bird and Butterfly Day at Castellow Hammock
  •  (chapter table)
  • 23 (Tues.): Dade meeting
  • 27 (Sat.): Field trip (private pineland, Homestead)


Tuesday, April 25, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road. The meeting is free and open to the public.

“South Florida Plants and Their Beneficial Fungi (mycorrhizae)” -- Jack B. Fisher, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Most land plants have a close association with fungi in their roots.  In wild plants and some crops, fungi can help the plant take up nutrients and water, protect the roots from fungi that cause disease, and protect from metal toxicity.  Some plants must have mycorrhizae to grow (orchid seedlings, some fern gametophytes) or to flourish in the wild (most plants).  Dr. Fisher will describe and illustrate various kinds of local mycorrhizae fungi in the roots of our native plants.  Results of greenhouse experiments with seedlings indicate that most native plants benefit from mycorrhizae when growing in our nutrient poor native soils, but are not dependent upon the fungi since fertilizer is equally effective in promoting growth. Whether you want to learn about what can make your own plants thrive or just curious about how plants work, this is an interesting topic.

Dr. Fisher is Senior Research Scientist and Administrator of Graduate Studies at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and a Florida Native Plant Society member.

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.

May 23:  George Fitzpatrick, Professor of Environmental Horticulture at UF’s IFAS centers in Ft. Lauderdale and Homestead. Topic TBA. (Note: The program previously announced will be rescheduled at a later date.)

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

| To top of Page |


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, April 22:  Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (South of Naples).  (Rescheduled from October, 2005) This 9200-acre reserve has numerous interesting habitats and has been closed to visitors since Briggs Nature Center closed (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 walk the Trails Through Time, three ¼-mile paths through shelly coastal berm, mangrove habitat (to Rookery Bay) and scrubby flatwoods.  This is a great spot for birding as well.  It is one of the few preserves managed by NOAA, and there is “NOAA way” you should miss this one, especially since it will be on EARTH DAY.  [Editor’s note – pun by leader Steve Woodmansee.]  For more info go to www.rookerybay.org

Saturday, May 27: Privately owned pineland in the Homestead area.  Areas of this 16-acre privately-owner and managed pineland have been recently burned and wildflowers should be in full bloom.  We will also see the pond and small hammock planting near their home on the property.  A “don’t miss!”  Details next month.

| To top of Page |


This is the final month of the Keys FNPS season.  If you have suggestions for next year’s activities (Nov-April) or could help with planning or making arrangements, please contact FNPS at 305-255-6404.  Your message will be relayed to the appropriate person.  New helpers on the Keys Committee are greatly needed!

To receive email reminders, send your request to douville@bellsouth.net.  Keys members – please send announcements of other activities or Keys news to TillandsiaPlease call Lisa Gordon for more info about the April activities (305-743-0978).

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, April 19

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.  Suzanne will discuss the importance of our gardens to these insects and the benefits of native plants in this role.  Dr. Koptur is a botanist 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.Plans were not available for this newsletter.  Please watch your email, call Lisa, or attend the meeting for an update.

| To top of Page |


[Yard visits are for FNPS members and their guests.  Please join so that you can enjoy all the activities!]

Date & Time:   Sunday, May 7, 2006, 4 – 6 p.m.    

Location: Member’s home in the Homestead area.

Had this visit originally scheduled for last fall not been postponed before the announcement went out, Gwlady’s famous last words would have been,  “Rain or shine it is a go -- they have a great porch”.  This time, with no hurricanes in sight, we can assume this promise will hold.

This home is on 5 acres in the Redland bought in 1992, the year of Hurricane Andrew. There was little vegetation on the property, but after Andrew it was really bare. All the plants that we will see have been planted since that time.  The owners are former nursery owners, and part of the property is being used as a nursery for palms, cycads and bromeliads (small Lignum vitae plants will be for sale during the visit). In a special one acre area, a great variety of native plants have been planted.   Major features of this area are ponds and a waterfall, providing the opportunity to grow water loving plants.

A major bonus to the native area, and an encouragement for wildlife to visit, is the 7 ½ acres of native pineland to the west of their property. Many birds, rabbits, fox and other wildlife enjoy the food and protection of the plantings. The area is registered with the National Wildlife Federation and Florida Yards and Neighborhoods as a wildlife habitat.

We will hear about their experiences with planting their “sanctuary” and some tips on native flower growing, diagnosing plant ailments and practical solutions (organic when possible).

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.

| To top of Page |


From the Chapter President.   Native Plant Day on March 4 at the Deering Estate at Cutler was a wonderful day to be by the bay to learn about native plants. Over 375 visitors, volunteers and vendors and several manatees enjoyed the event.  Nearly every plant in the sale was bought.  I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped make this event possible including those on the committee:  Amy Leonard, Patty Phares, Gwladys Scott and Jonathan Taylor.  Please send us your suggestions for programs, activities and locations for Native Plant Day in upcoming years.    -- Steve Woodmansee

Chapter board members needed.  In May we hold the Annual Chapter Meeting and select board members (generally we approve the nominating committee’s slate).  Positions for Vice President and directors at large need to be filled.  You don’t have to be a native plant expert!  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)!  If you have been thinking of getting more involved, this may be a good time to start.

July “evening social and yard visit” meeting location needed.  In lieu of a program at Fairchild, we will kick back and party with our annual summer potluck at a member’s home (or perhaps someplace else!)  We usually keep the same night (4th Tuesday, July 25) but that is negotiable.  If you would like to show us your yard (doesn’t have to be fancy or all native) and have a place for us to gather (and shelter if it rains), please call Amy Leonard (305-668-5993 or 305-458-096, cell, evenings).

Saturday, April 8, 9 a.m. - noon.  Everglades National Park Workday. 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  Free admission to the park for your car.  For info contact Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

The chapter will participate in the Spring Plant Sale at Fairchild Tropical Garden, April 29, 9:30 – 4:30.  Some of our member nurseries will be selling plants with us, but we also need members to donate home-grown plants native to Dade, Monroe or Broward Counties. Especially needed are wildflowers and other herbaceous species, passionvines and other butterfly larval food plants, and other natives not usually grown by the nurseries. If you can donate plants or help that day, please call Patty, 305-255-6404.  Otherwise, please come and shop!

We have beautiful FNPS membership brochures – do you have a place to distribute them?   Help us spread the word about FNPS and the Dade Chapter by placing brochures in businesses or public places, sharing them at meetings, or any other way you can think of.  Contact Patty for a supply (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

FNPS 2006 state conference, Daytona Beach Shores, May 18-21, 2006. You should have received a brochure in the mail (also at www.fnps.org).  Register and reserve your hotel now!

| To top of Page

Paid Advertising

Advertisement for M&M Data & Designs


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). April 18 topic: Herbs and grasses of hammocks. 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, same location.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring (305-666-5727, miamiblue@bellsouth.net) for activity schedule.

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

The Nature Conservancy Greensweep workdays in the Keys.  Contact Chuck Byrd at 745-8402 or chuck_byrd@tnc.org  May 6:  Key West white Crowned Pigeon Planting.

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.orgApril 22: Shenandoah area; May 20: East of South Miami area.

2006 Gifford Arboretum Lecture, April 20, 7 p.m. at UM’s Cox Science Center, room 126. Douglas Larson, Univ. of  Guelph (Ontario), speaks on “Cliff, Caves and Concrete Canyons: ancient forests and modern people finding refuge.”   This lecture will explore the physical and ecological attributes of early hominids, who used rock shelters at the bases of rock outcrops and cliffs.  According to Larson, early man’s affinity toward these structures is still apparent in modern society.  The lecture will be followed by a wine and cheese reception (8:30), and preceded (6:15) by a tour of the arboretum (meet at the wooden sign in the arboretum).  The event is free and open to the public.  Directions: take Red Road to Miller, go east to UM, turn left and look for the sign on the right (3rd entrance to UM). Free parking.  www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum or call 305-284-5364.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum monthly meeting, May 3, 7-9 p.m. Sculptural baskets crafted from Florida native grape vines by Benjia Morgenstern, Miami artist.  Featured plant family of the month: the Vitacaea (grapes).  Room 166, Cox Science center. (See directions and contact info above.)

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).

Help plant Miami-Dade endemic Crenulate lead plant. On a weekday morning in the first week of May (date TBA), Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is cooperating with Miami-Dade County Natural Areas Management to conduct an experimental outplanting of hundreds of crenulate lead plants -- Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata -- in pine rockland/transverse glade ecotone at Martinez Pineland (near MetroZoo).  These rescued plants were part of the largest population of this federally endangered species in the county until the land where they grew  became condos in 2005. This large outplanting needs many volunteers. If you can spare a few hours to transport, plant, or water, please contact Fairchild technician Don Walters as soon as possible (305-667-1651, Ext. 3430, dwalters@fairchildgarden.org  .  (Read about an earlier outplanting in the July/Aug 2004 Tillandsia on the chapter web site.)

Melaleuca mulch (Florimulch) is available at Bernie’s Garden Center, 14650 Krome Ave (786-242-3600).  In appreciation of the efforts of the FNPS, those who mention their affiliation will receive a 10% discount on the purchase of Florimulch.  You can find more information about this product on web sites, but suffice it to say that we love to see it in dead form!  Florimulch has been processed (no seeds will sprout) and is certified by the Mulch and Soil Council.

| To top of Page |


[Editor’s note:  The IRC is a big supporter of FNPS!  Did you notice four presenters/walk leaders from IRC and a display at Native Plant Day?  The IRC web site provides plant lists for almost all natural areas in South Florida (where we have field trips), and information on  appropriate plants for your yard (and great photos!) can be found with the web application, “Natives for Your Neighborhood.”  You can support the IRC by joining Friends of The IRC.  (see the web site for details) or by donating to the pine rockland restoration efforts (see below).]

Help The IRC Restore Pine Rocklands

The Institute for Regional Conservation is seeking support for its pine rockland restoration program. The goal is to equip a small army of volunteers (~75) with hand tools.  Donations of equipment, money and volunteer services are needed and are tax deductible.

IRC’s pine rockland restoration crew has restored 16 acres of globally imperiled pine rockland in urban Miami-Dade County. They have also relocated or discovered several populations of critically imperiled or endangered plants and have created habitat for extirpated plant species. And they’re not done yet!

The success of this program relies on community support and the work of volunteers to achieve the initial goal of restoring 50 acres of pine rockland.  The first large scale work day will be on April 22 for an Earth Day Work Day at the Girl Scout Council’s Camp Choee  (SW 112 Ave and 160 St.).

Your help is needed!  There are three easy ways to help restore our pine rocklands:

(1) Donate Equipment (durable hand clippers and hand saws) - Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at the IRC office (see address below), or call to arrange for a pickup.

(2) Donate Cash - Follow the link below and click the “Donate Now” icon. Designate the funds for pine rockland restoration. http://partners.guidestar.org/controller/searchResults.gs?action_donateReport=1&partner=networkforgood&ein=74-2336458 Checks made payable to The Institute for Regional Conservation can also be mailed to: The Institute for Regional Conservation, 22601 SW 152 Ave., Miami, FL 33170.

(3) Volunteer - If you are able-bodied and can help remove exotic plant infestations or can help organize volunteer work days, your help is always appreciated.  Please contact IRC.

Thank you for your support!

Steven Green, Biologist, The Institute for Regional Conservation

(305) 247-6547, green@regionalconservation.org, www.regionalconservation.org

Guidelines for Planting A Rockland Hammock

The new version (1.1, March, 2006) of “Guidelines for Planting a Rockland Hammock in South Florida” by George D. Gann is now on the IRC web site. (Ask a friend to print it for you if you do not have internet access.)  Use this in conjunction with the web application “Natives for Your Neighborhood” to pick the appropriate species.  Just in time for spring planting to replace the shade lost in last year’s hurricanes!

| To top of Page |

Paid Advertising


The Landscape Technology Program at Miami Dade College, Kendall Campus, will offer Native Plant Identification and Plant Usage (BOT 2150C, ref. #348319, 3 credits) during Summer Term (5/8 - 7/28). Plants will be covered by native plant community.  Species will be suggested for urban landscape use as well as for ecological restorations. The class may be taken for credit or audit.

Time: Tuesday & Thursday, 6:30-8:10 p.m. with 3 weekend field trips.

Instructor: Ron Mossman  

For further information: please contact Ron Mossman at 305-237-2583 or rmossman@mdc.edu


The Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) will host the first Adopt-a-Tree event of 2006 at Tamiami Fairgrounds May 13, 9am-noon. All Miami-Dade residential single-family and duplex homeowners are invited to pickup 2 FREE trees per property per year. Owners must bring proof of homeownership (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. At least one native tree species is available at each event. 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.

Shade trees can reduce your home cooling costs by 15-30% and can increase the value of your home up to 15%.  Tree roots absorb excess water, minimizing flooding. This can save you money on home maintenance after a heavy rain or storm.

Adopt-a-Tree was created in 2000 after a study in 1996 concluded that Miami-Dade County averaged only 10% tree cover in urban areas due to Hurricane Andrew, citrus canker, and development. The FL Department of Agriculture awarded DERM a $6 million grant to rebuild the tree canopy. With the help of local organizations and government agencies, over 79,000 trees have taken root in Miami-Dade.

For recorded event information, call 305-372-6555. For updated information on what species and the years schedule log onto www.miamidade.gov/derm

| To top of Page |


We have lots of expertise in our group -- sharing it with fellow members (and the public via our web site) would help fulfill the mission of FNPS and motivate members to stay involved and new people to join.  If you can, please consider writing articles about native plants or associated topics – wildlife, ecology, conservation, propagation, horticulture, advocacy.  Any length!

You don’t have to be a plant guru to contribute to Tillandsia.  Do you have gardening experiences or nature observations to share?  If you don’t have enough to make a whole article, just send little tidbits – we can take care of the rest.  Contact Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com.

The following column is a tiny start.

| To top of Page |


A collection of notes from a variety of sources, compiled by the editor.

The snake wins. DCFNPS member Mary Rose was looking for butterfly larvae in her garden when she saw a Cuban garden snail, the brown, exotic pest we all hate.  She started to pick it up to dispose of it when she felt something tugging from the other direction.  It was a 6” long snake having a meal of escargot!  Mary left the snake to finish its meal, and 15 minutes later the snake was gone and the snail shell was empty. (Who needs python stories?)

Just Say No to gumbo limbo cuttings. During the recent yard visit to his yard, Chris Migliaccio reiterated a fact that can’t be repeated often enough:  Starting trees from gumbo limbo cuttings is NOT ADVISED!  As many homeowners discovered after Hurricane Andrew, and again after more recent storms, many of these trees separated from their roots just under the soil, leaving a shallow hole.  This is not the same as uprooting, where the roots are still attached, and the tree cannot be propped up.

Large trees grown from cuttings lack the diverse root formation of trees grown from seeds.  When a seed sprouts, one of the first things to emerge is the tap-root.  The tap-root of gumbo limbo is known to be extremely large and serves to secure the tree during wind events. Trees that lack natural root formation tend to have fibrous roots that may tear in a storm.  Plant trees grown from seed for a higher chance of survival in hurricanes.

[Excerpt from the April 1997 Tillandsia, “April in the Nurseries” by Joyce Gann.  Until their retirement, Joyce and Don Gann owned Gann’s Native Tropical Greenery Nursery, one of the first native nurseries in our area.]

Spicewood, Calyptranthes pallens.  This species blooms in spring and summer with fragrant, white, insignificant flowers.  It’s great planted in barriers (visual and sound) and is good for birds, which use them for food and shelter.  They are moderately salt tolerant, slow-growing evergreen plants of the rockland hammock habitat.  Natural height ranges from 10 to 18’, but it can be used as a tree or a shrub and can be sheared.  It grows in medium or high light conditions, has medium nutritional needs and likes to be mulched.

| To top of Page |


by Roger Hammer

[Reprinted from the April 1997 Tillandsia]

If you can stand the bugs, this month begins the flowering season for black mangrove, Avicennia germinans. Black mangrove flowers are very fragrant and attract swarms of nectar-seeking honeybees.  Check out “Robert Is Here” fruit stand on your way to Everglades National Park for jars of dark, black mangrove honey.

Seven-year apple, Casasia clusifolia, produces white, tubular, fragrant flowers in April, just in time to offer a nectar feast for hummingbirds before their journey northward.  Flowers on female trees are solitary in the leaf axils while male flowers are borne in several-flowered clusters.

Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, is one of the temperate shrubs in our flora that can be seen flowering in spring.  The white, fragrant flowers are borne in rounded clusters resembling the Russian “Sputnik” satellite.  An easy place to observe these attractive shrubs is along the Anhinga Trail boardwalk in Everglades National Park.

Bird migration should be in full swing in April, and this is a good time to watch for a multitude of warblers feeding on insects along the margins of hardwood hammocks.  The leafy canopy of wild tamarind, Lysiloma latisiliquum, is a favorite foraging area for warblers, flycatchers and vireos.

| To top of Page |


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.

| To top of Page |

Past Online Newsletters