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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May, 2006

In This Issue




  • 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 (privately-owned pineland, Homestead)


  • 10 (Sat.): Everglades Nat. Park chapter workday
  • 27 (Tues.): Dade meeting


Tuesday, May 23, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road  The meeting is free and open to the public. (Fourth Tuesday, not the last.)

"Pruning Landscape Trees for Tree Health and Safety" --

George Fitzpatrick, Professor of Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida.

Just in time for pre- and post-hurricane season tree care, this program will focus on the objectives for landscape tree pruning, with emphasis on tree health and safety.  The care and correct use of basic pruning equipment will be demonstrated, and the three major types of pruning cuts, reduction cuts, removal cuts and heading cuts will be illustrated.  Even if you are not going to prune your own trees, learning the basics will help you discuss work to be done when you hire a professional. Dr. Fitzpatrick  teaches at UF's Agriculture Research and Education Centers in Ft. Lauderdale and Homestead and has presented "Training and Pruning of Young Trees" several times at Native Plant Day to appreciative audiences. 

We will also have our brief Annual Meeting of the Dade Chapter where we will elect new chapter board members.

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.

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

July (probably the usual meeting night): Annual evening yard visit and social.

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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, May 27: Pine Ridge Sanctuary (Homestead).  A "don't miss!" Areas of this 15-acre privately-owned 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. 

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The Keys FNPS season is over for the season.  If you have suggestions for next year's activities (Nov-April) or could help with planning or making arrangements, please contact the FNPS general contact number or  chapter president (see contact info on back).  Your message will be relayed to the appropriate person.  New helpers on the Keys Committee are greatly needed!

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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) as soon as possible.

Saturday, June 10, 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  Besides the usual weeding, we will be planting a few plants, so digging tools may also be useful.  Free admission to the park for your car.  For info contact Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com )

FNPS membership brochures. Help us spread the word about FNPS and the Dade Chapter by placing brochures in businesses or public places or sharing them at other meetings.  Contact Patty (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). 

Native Notepad.  Please send gardening tips or nature observations to share in Tillandsia.  We'll compile small contributions into a collection of notes. Contact Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com.)

2007 George N. Avery Award science fair awards will be presented at the 53rd South Florida Science & Engineering Fair in the winter of 2007.  Summertime is a great time for the students in your life to start thinking about a project, or maybe even work on one!  The award, given in honor of George N. Avery, a self-taught native plant expert who was a mentor and friend to many local enthusiasts, is awarded to one or more Senior High and Middle School students annually for outstanding projects that enhance the student's understanding of Florida's native plants or plant communities. Projects should be scientifically sound and appropriate for the student's grade level.  For questions or further information, please call 305-255-6404, or contact Lynka Woodbury (lwoodbury@fairchildgarden.org) or Allyn Golub (allyng@gate.net).

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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.  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.  May 7, 1 p.m. quarterly meeting at Castellow Hammock.  Program: "Blues, Hairstreaks and Metalmarks" by Dennis Olle. Come early to butterfly. Numerous butterfly trips and counts are scheduled for summer and Butterfly Day will be held at Fairchild on July 30. Save the date!  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.

TREEmendous Miami plants native and non-native trees from DERM's Adopt-a-Tree program at the homes of senior/disabled residents.  Contact Amy, 305-378-1863 or check  www.treemendousmiami.org. May 20: East of South Miami area.

Adopt-a-Tree. Miami-Dade DERM's first Adopt-a-Tree event of 2006 is at Tamiami Fairgrounds May 13, 9am-noon. All Miami-Dade residential single-family and duplex homeowners are invited to pickup 2 FREE trees (including native, fruit and flowering trees) per property per year. For recorded event information, call 305-372-6555. For updated information on what species and the years schedule log onto www.miamidade.gov/derm

Citizens for a Better South Florida. The Native Plant Nursery will be open on Sundays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on May 28 and June 25 as well as weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Check the web site for species in the nursery as well as special events and volunteer opportunities in our multicultural and inner-city community.  Support Citizens by having fun on its "Twilight on the Bay" fundraising cruise, June 2, 6:30-10:30 p.m. (reserve by May 15). Citizens is located at 3191 SW 21 St.  For information, contact Citizens (305-648-0000, citizens@ abettersouthflorida.org) or www.abettersouthflorida.org.

2nd Annual Bird and Butterfly Gardening Festival, May 20, 10a.m. to 4p.m. at  Castellow Hammock Park, 22301 SW 162 Ave. Fee: $4.  Bring the whole family and spend the day.  Bird and butterfly attracting plants sale (including natives), garden and hammock tours, kid's corner, displays. Roger Hammer, Dennis Olle and Cindy David will give informative lectures about birds, butterflies and hummingbirds and gardening to attract all of them.  For more information call 305-242-7688.

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by Jennifer Possley,
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Preview of photo of goatsfoot

Passiflora sexflora, or "goatsfoot," is a Florida endangered passionvine that can pride itself on having an attention-getting name.  While Passiflora refers to the taxonomic genus of which this vine is a member, you might imagine sexflora comes from the titillating twist of its tendrils or an aphrodisiac quality in its flowers.  But, according to Roger Hammer, the explanation is far more mundane.  Sexflora comes from the mistaken idea that members of the species always have 6 flowers.  While this was true of the original specimen that was described, not all individuals exhibit this character. 

Goatsfoot is a beautiful plant that can remain small, but under the right conditions may grow rapidly to clamber over other vegetation and cover several square meters.  Its 3-lobed leaves (which look more like bats to me than goat feet) are softly fuzzy, and often much wider than they are long, a rare characteristic in the world of plants.  They are similar to leaves of the pale passionflower, Passiflora pallens, but much hairier and the lobes are more pointed.  Goatsfoot blooms in December and January.  The flowers are no bigger than a quarter and similar in appearance to corkystem passionflowers (Passiflora suberosa) but goatsfoot has intensely purple filaments.

Around the world, goatsfoot is found in the West Indies and tropical Americas.  In the U.S., however, its entire distribution is limited to a handful of hammocks in Miami-Dade County.  Even within hammocks, goatsfoot is further restricted to partially sunny areas, so it only grows along hammock edges and in gaps created by treefalls.  Hurricane Wilma created a surplus of good goatsfoot habitat last October.  Since I monitor all known individuals of goatsfoot on Miami-Dade parks, I am hoping I will see an increase in number of individuals in response to the disturbance!

To prepare for a June 2006 outplanting, I have been growing dozens of goatsfoot plants in Fairchild's nursery over the past year.  They do not trellis well, so I prune them back every 2 months to prevent tangling.  In response, the plants send out branches from the root stock, making a bushier vine that is stronger at the base.  These plants were grown from cuttings I collected from the wild with Cristina Rodriguez from Miami-Dade County, Emilie Verdon from The Institute for Regional Conservation, and others.  We chose to collect vegetative cuttings as opposed to fruit because they can be taken at any time of year.  We must have a series of stringent permits from several agencies in order to do this collecting. 

If you would like to help with our June outplanting, we definitely need you

R.L. Hammer. 2002. Everglades Wildflowers. The Globe Pequot Press
G.D Gann. et al. 2002. Rare plants of South Florida. The Institute for Regional Conservation.

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by Sam Wright,
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Much of Miami Beach was a mangrove jungle in 1915 when John Kunkel Small and Charles A. Mosier first collected Biscayne Prickly-Ash (Zanthoxylum coriaceum) on the barrier island.  They would hardly recognize today's Miami Beach, which at the time was known as Ocean Beach. The land booms of the 1920s and the 1950s caused Miami Beach's economy to grow and flourish. However, to compensate for the land booms, much of Miami Beach was cleared of natural vegetation and areas were filled with spoil material dredged from the bay. The clearing of vegetation on Miami Beach led to the local extirpation of many species of flora and fauna including rare plants such as Biscayne Prickly-Ash. Now listed as a state endangered tree, the primary threats to Biscayne Prickly-Ash include habitat destruction and fragmentation of maritime hammock habitat. Maritime hammock is virtually non-existent now on Miami Beach.

On March 18, 2006 Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden staff and volunteers from Hands on Miami reintroduced 31 Biscayne Prickly-Ash trees to Miami Beach. Recovery plans for rare plants such as Biscayne Prickly-Ash include increasing the number of self sustaining populations within its historical range. North Shore Open Space Park in North Beach was selected as a reintroduction site because of its intact maritime hammock. The park is also within close proximity to the specimen collected by Small and Mosier in 1915 on "sand dunes opposite Lemon City (present day Little Haiti)" (Gann et. al 2002). Although the mangrove jungle of Miami Beach has been replaced by a concrete jungle, North Shore Open Space Park remains a green oasis within the urban landscape. Currently, City of Miami Beach proposed plans for the park include preserving the remaining hammock as a natural area, which would give the Biscayne Prickly-Ash a safe home for years to come.

Photos can be found in the University of South Florida’s Institute for Systematic Botany Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants, http://www.plantatlas.usf.edu.


Gann, G.D., K.A. Bradley, and S.W. Woodmansee. 2002. Rare Plants of South Florida: Their History, Conservation, and Restoration. The Institute for Regional Conservation, Miami, Florida

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by Terry Glancy

Over 30 years ago, my wife, Barbara, and I started one of the first plant stores in Michigan as an expansion of the weekend hobby of plant maintenance for homes and offices in the Detroit area.  I worked in a lab for viral oncology and Barbara was going to college at the Center for Creative Studies College of Art and Design.

Several times a year, we would drive to South Florida to buy plant material for the store. During one of these trips, Barbara started to look for property to buy in Dade County to start a plant nursery.  She would climb through everything from overgrown abandoned scarified land to what would turn out to be poisonwood hammocks on pinnacle rock.

Eventually she came across a 10 acre piece of degraded pineland belonging to the widow of Roland T. Bird, one of the last true "dinosaur hunters" in North America, along with a 5 acre piece next to Mrs. Bird's.  Both pieces of pineland had been purchased from the Florida East Coast Railroad in the 1940s and had never been rock plowed like all the rest of the pinelands around here.  Barbara investigated everything before we purchased the property, including purchasing aerials of the Section (1 mile square).  The aerials clearly showed property nestled between two fairly major sloughs (part of Taylor Sough) which meant we were high and dry and any flood waters would drain into the finger sloughs.  It also meant that farmers had never planted on our pineland and harvesting of pines for fence posts was minimal.  DOF determined that the average age of the pines were between 85 and 125 years old.

We purchased the 15 acres in 1976 and started to remove the exotics like Schinus, Casuarina, Albizzia and mangos.  In February 1979 we started prescribe burning with the DOF.  Barbara called the Dade County Urban Forester and introduced herself. This is funny: Richard Bailey, the Urban Forester, answered the phone call with "Who are you and how did you get my phone number? Yes, my job is to act as liaison between private land owners and the Forestry service, but I have never had anyone call me."  He was happy to finally be able to work with forest owners!

The first prescribed burn was a training exercise involving all the foresters in South Florida.  Back then, there was one forester for the Everglades, one for Ocala National Forest, etc, but they never had the opportunity to work together.  We had to drive up from Key West the morning of the burn, but before we arrived we could see the smoke plume from Marathon!  The property had never been prescribed burned, and the Birds, who lived in pup tents on the property when they were not finding dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River in Texas, were afraid of fire.

In 1987 we started Pine Ridge Orchids, Inc. as a wholesale commercial orchid nursery. The nursery was located on a disturbed portion of the pineland and we built our home in 1988 in the middle of the pineland in an area where the Birds camped and kept their cow.  Not a single Pinus elliottii var. densa was lost or disturbed in the building of the house.

We were one of the first properties to enter into covenant with Miami-Dade County with Chapter 25B in 1983.  In 1989 we became a Registered Property with The Nature Conservancy and in 1991 we became the first Forest Stewardship Property south of Lake Okeechobee.  That year our property was the "over-all" winner for the FNPS Landscape Enhancement Awards - the first time a property was awarded both for Residential and Commercial categories.

Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the ensuing IPS beetles killed about 3,500 of our pines.  A beetle monitoring stations was set up by Fairchild Tropical Garden, Montgomery Foundation and DOF.  Each station was a large tub with a black painted metal exhaust pipe in the middle (simulating a burned pine tree trunk), surrounded by soapy water. A wick emitted a scent of ethanol and turpentine to bait insects.  Once a week we drained the tubs and filtered out thousands of dead insects for identification. The stations clearly showed the dramatic increase of IPS beetle population after the hurricane damaged the pineland.  The population of IPS predators did not build up to a high enough population for several months, but by then the pines were dead. An Old World beetle that had never been reported in North America before was also discovered – blown in from Africa during Andrew?

We started to replant pine "tublings" in 1993 after the IPS beetles died out.  In 1997 we won the Forest of the Year award for the entire State of Florida presented by the Forest Stewardship program sponsored by FL DOF, FL Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission, The Nature Conservancy, USDA Soil Conservation Service, UF IFAS, Florida Forestry Association, and the Florida Cooperative Extension Service.

On December 27, 2000, a negligent farmer who was cutting down a windbreak structure nearby started a fire that spread and burned our entire property and caused massive damage to our commercial orchid nursery. The burn actually was a very beneficial ecological burn, even though it occurred in December during the worst draught in Florida history and caused mortality to mid-level plants including pine tublings that we had planted over the previous 8 years, silver palms over 100 years old, saw palmettos, and large cabbage palms – plants that had easily survived all past prescribed burns.  The wildfire burned the entire 15 acres and jumped SW 300 Street and burned portions of the neighbor's pineland in less than 20 minutes. Barbara, our son, Christopher, his girlfriend, and a good neighbor saved our home using garden hoses and buckets of water from our pool.  Three employees and a neighbor helped me with garden hoses around the greenhouses and the 3000 gallon propane tanks. The back of the greenhouses melted, but the main damage was to the orchids that died during the two months of smoldering due to all the ethylene and carbon monoxide gasses and the thousands of volatile chemicals that were deposited on the flowering plants. The oolitic limestone rock was so dry due to the extended draught that the snags that were still standing 8 years after Andrew were smoldering and the root systems were burning like giant underground cigarettes. It was like living in a 15 acre dirty ashtray for four months.   But if we had not been maintaining and burning since 1979, we would have certainly lost our home and business.

The upcoming FNPS tour will be interesting because prescribed burns were held on the western 5 acres on August 12, 2005, and on the middle and eastern 10 acres on December 5.  You will see the pine rockland regrowth from two prescribed burns occurring in the same year on the same piece of property. The "maintenance stage" of forest restoration on this rockridge pineland, one of the most globally endangered ecosystems in the world, is on-going.

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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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