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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June, 2006

In This Issue




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


  • 25 (Tues.): Evening yard visit and social meeting (Dade)
  • July and/or August field trips: TBA



Tuesday, June 27, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road The meeting is free and open to the public.

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

You probably think of pinelands, prairies and roadsides when you think or wildflowers. But there are plenty more in ponds, canals and other bodies of water. Chuck will show us 38 species of native wildflowers, focusing primarily on aquatic species but dealing with some common species of adjacent wetland areas as well.

Chuck describes himself as a native wildflower enthusiast and amateur photographer, but we know him a favorite program presenter and one who satisfies our hunger for information and cheap cookies on field trips.  He is a native Dade Countian who grew up in Homestead, is a former editor for the American Orchid Society and now is a copy editor for The Miami Herald.  He is a frequent and popular speaker at plant societies and nature groups, spreading the gospel of native orchids and wildflowers (and a few non-native orchids as well).

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.

July (probably the usual meeting night): Annual evening yard visit and social. Details TBA.  Would you like to share your garden or recommend one?  Please call Amy Leonard (305-458-0969) as soon as possible.  It does not need to be fancy or all native, but a somewhat central location in Dade and shelter in case of rain are needed.

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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!

July and/or August field trips: TBA

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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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At the chapter’s Annual Meeting in May, the following were elected for 2-year terms: Amy Leonard, President; Robert Harris, Jr., Vice-President; Directors-at-Large: Mary Ann Bolla, Patty Harris and Ted Shaffer.  Robert and Ted are new to the board.  We’ll introduce you to them in Tillandsia soon.  Steve Woodmansee will remain on the board as Past-president.  Also remaining to fill out the second year of their 2-year terms are Secretary Jonathan Taylor, Treasurer Jennifer Possley, Members-at-Large Jan Kolb, Suzanne Koptur, and Lynka Woodbury. Thanks to all for their past, current or future service!

Welcome new members!  From Dade: Ethan Addicott (a 2005 recipient of the chapter’s science fair award), Kay Bismarck, Cathie Conduitte, Joy Cooper, Judy Franke, Iliana Levy, Marion Litzinger, John Makemson, Debbie Nolan, Monica Ochaney (student at FIU), Myra Perkins, Edward Preston,  Ross Reed and Adrienne Doerrmann, David Roelant and Barbara Byrne.  From the Keys: Errera and Korotkin, Michael Felling, Scott Montgomery, Sheila Sands Devendorf, Marty Soltzman. From other areas: Dick Balling of Cambridge, Maryland; Susan Boyer of Broward County.  We especially welcome the student members and note that our new vice president Robert Harris first joined as a high school student about 10 years ago.

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, 

Did you receive your Palmetto?  If you did not receive your state magazine from FNPS in late April or early May, please contact Patty (pphares@mindspring.com, 305-255-6404).  The magazine is back on its quarterly schedule.

Keys group: New help on the Keys committee and suggestions for programs and activities for next season (Nov-April) are needed. Don’t be shy -- please contact the FNPS general contact number or chapter president (see contact info on back.

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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 Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) is looking for a new staff person to be responsible for office administration.  Contact Emilie Verdon, verdon@regionalconservation.org, 305-427-6547.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring (305-666-5727, MiamiBlueEvents@ bellsouth.net). Annual butterfly counts in Big Cypress (July 15) and several locations in Dade (July 22) invite all butterfly identification skill levels. Contact Dennis Olle (djo@adorno.com) for Big Cypress or Bob Kelley for Dade counts (RKelley@math.miami.edu or 305-666-9246).

July 30: Miami Blue’s annual Butterfly Day at Fairchild.

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 www.treemendousmiami.org. June 24: Little Gables area.

Adopt-a-Tree. Miami-Dade DERM’s next tree distribution is June 25 at North Miami Beach City Hall, 17011 NE 19 Ave., 9am-noon. All Miami-Dade residential single-family and duplex homeowners may pick up 2 FREE trees (including native, fruit and flowering trees) per property per year. June’s event includes natives green buttonwood, Geiger tree and red mulberry.  For recorded event information, call 305-372-6555. For updates see www.miamidade.gov/derm

Citizens for a Better South Florida’s native plant nursery will be open Sunday, June 25, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., as well as weekdays 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. See www.abettersouthflorida.org for events and volunteer opportunities. 3191 SW 21 St., 305-648-0000, citizens@abettersouthflorida.org.

Help plant Passiflora sexfloraVolunteers are needed in early June (on a weekday morning) to help plant this rare native passionvine as part of a research project at Hattie Bauer Hammock (former Orchid Jungle). Contact Jennifer Possley, 305-667-1651, ext. 3433, jpossley@fairchildgarden.org.

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Once again, DCFNPS member John Geiger will be assisted by an award from FNPS to continue his research on Man-in-the-ground, Ipomoea microdactyla, the spectacular, bright red morning glory vine found in Dade County pine rocklands.  This state listed endangered species is threatened by loss of habitat, and because of small, isolated populations, it has a higher risk of extinction than species with large, intact populations.  John proposes to study the species across its entire global distribution: Dade County populations (which he has been studying for several years), and those in Cuba and Andros Island, Bahamas.  This study will cover broad fields of ecology, population biology and genetics.  The final goal of the project is to produce a population viability analysis that will guide land management decisions to promote persistence of this species in the United States.  John is working on his Ph.D at FIU, studying with Professor and DCFNPS member Dr. Suzanne Koptur.  Congratulations, John!

Please support research on Florida native plants by contributing to the FNPS Endowment Fund when you renew your membership!

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ONE MAN’S WEED - Jamaica caper, Capparis cynophallophora

by John Pancoast
Illustration by Wes Jurgens

Jamaica caper drawingJamaica caper, Capparis cynophallophora, is a beautiful upright shrub or small tree with two-tone leaves that shimmer in the wind.  The leaves are light green on top and have brown scales on the undersides and end in a distinctive notch.

It grows to a height of six to 18 feet, and can be used as hedge or screen in your garden.  Jamaica caper tolerates cold to 28 degrees (zones 9a to 11).  It tolerates drought, a variety of soils, and will grow in sun or shade.  It will grow faster if fertilized.  It is propagated by seed.

In the spring, the plant bears showy flowers with white petals and two-inch-long purple stamens.  A flower soon fades to be replaced by others in the terminal inflorescence of 3 to 10 flowers.  The flowers are pollinated by night-flying moths that are attracted by the fragrance of the flowers.  The fruit is a seed pod that becomes three to eight inches long.  When it matures during the rainy season, it splits open to reveal the scarlet pulp covering the small brown seeds.  The pulp is enjoyed by birds.

Jamaica caper is a member of the caper family or Capparidaceae.  The caper of commerce is from another species, Capparis spinosa, native to the Mediterranean basin.  Capers are the immature flower buds which have been pickled in vinegar or salt.  I do not know if any one has ever pickled the flowers of the Jamaica caper!

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From the very informative May DCFNPS program presented by George Fitzpatrick:

Propagation tip:

Corky stemmed passionflower vines (Passiflora suberosa) are probably starting to pop up around your yard of you have had an established vine for a while.  You may not like where they come up, but when they are small, you can usually dig them up for relocation.  (Forget trying to grow from those tiny seeds!)  All of the vines I contribute to chapters raffles and sales result from this method. Dig them up, trying to get the some of the small, feeder roots.  The dirt usually falls away (there is no “root ball”) and often the small roots are gone, too.  Immediately put the roots in a jar of water, place it out of direct sun until numerous small roots develop (2+ weeks).  A screen porch is a good place to keep the small plant away from female butterflies that want to lay eggs. Change the water every few days so algae and mosquito larvae don’t build up.  Then put it in a 4” pot with a little time-release fertilizer and leave it until there is a lot of new leaf growth (1+ months), perhaps adding half of a thin bamboo stake so the plant can climb.  (I pinch off leaves that become full of leaf miner tracks while the plant is very small.) Plant it or donate to a good cause before it needs repotting. (Contributed by Patty Phares.)

Share your gardening tips or nature observations in Native Notepad.  Please send your contributions to co-editor Patty Phares.

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Native plant gardens are being installed in Everglades National Park to provide butterfly nectar and larval foods and to educate the public about native plants and butterflies.  This is part of a larger effort reduce lawn around buildings in the park.  Planting began at the visitor’s center at Shark Valley (on Tamiami Trail) in May and will continue soon at the Everglades City entrance and at Royal Palm next year.  Additions of certain nectar plants along with coontie at the Long Pine Key picnic area will be made to try to reestablish the atala butterfly.

Park biologist (and DCFNPS member) Sue Perry would be very happy if chapter members could donate, sell or propagate plants which she has not been able to find at nurseries.  (Several chapter members already pitched in to help plant at Shark Valley, but that will not be a regular occurrence.)  Species appropriate for each site (currently or historically occurring) will be used, and the list is still being reviewed.  Please contact Sue (Sue_Perry@nps.gov or 305-242-7885) if you can donate or help her find any of these plants which will potentially be used. (These are not all of the species needed, so the list will be updated.)

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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: Amy Leonard, 305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com

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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