Tillandsia Web, Dade Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society
for Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys

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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October, 2006

In This Issue




  • 21 (Sat.) Field trip – Crane Point Hammock (Marathon)
  • 24 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting
  • 28 (Sat.): Everglades Nat. Park chapter workday
  • 29 (Sun.): Yard visit in Dade (new announcement)


  • 11-12 (Sat.-Sun.): FTBG Ramble, chapter display & sale
  • 16 (Thur.): Cordis Employee Env. Fair, vols needed.
  • 18 (Sat.): Field trip – Picayune Strand (Collier Co.)
  • 28 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting
  • TBA: Keys monthly meeting / walk


  • 3 (Sun.): 2nd Annual Holiday Picnic (Dade Co.)
  • 9 (Sat.): Field trip –Trinity Pineland / Kendalwood Hammock (Dade Co.)
  • 16 (Sat.) Everglades Nat. Park chapter workday
  • TBA: Keys monthly meeting / walk

March, 2007

  • 17 (Sat): Native Plant Day at Old Cutler Hammock (Bill Sadowski Park) in South Dade County.  Save the date!


Tuesday, October 24, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public. (4th Tuesday, not the last)

“New Natives” – David McLean, horticulture and landscape design professor

Our speaker will discuss a variety of topics related to landscaping, including growing Florida natives outside their historical range; native cultivars and why you might want to use them (natives which have been hybridized to have a specific size, shape, behavior, color) and what he calls "Not soon to be natives" (dealing with some infamous exotics).

Mr. McLean retired in 2003 from the Horticulture Program at Broward Community College Horticulture, where he taught about many facets of horticulture and landscaping.  He was designer and curator of the Medicinal Garden at Nova Southeastern University.  He operates Trinity Churchside Garden in Fort. Lauderdale, where he gives programs, and also owns Living Systems Consulting and Landscape/Design.

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.

November 28: Forensic Botany – Dr. David Hall, forensic and environmental consultant based in Gainesville. Forensic botany is the analysis of plant material in both civil and criminal law enforcement.  Please spread the word about this special program and our annual “membership meeting”! SPECIAL PRESENTATION PLEASE SEE THE FLYER

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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, October 21: Crane Point Hammock. This preserve in Marathon in the Florida Keys is chock full of trails through pristine rockland hammock along Florida Bay.  Many hardwood hammock species tropical in nature and only found in the Keys may be observed. For meeting place and time see the printed newsletter.

Bring: $5 per person entrance, drinks, sun and bug protection, lunch. 
Difficulty: easy to moderate.
Note: Restrooms, Nature Center available.  After the field trip, you might want to snorkel or kayak nearby in Florida Bay or find a beach on the ocean side.
Leader: Steve Woodmansee
For more info:  http://www.cranepoint.org

Saturday, November 18: Picayune Strand State Forest.  This rarely-visited site (our southernmost state forest) is on 80,000 acres of a former failed Golden Gate Estates development in Collier County.  Although the site has been severely drained it contains remnant strand swamp, prairies, and lovely flatwoods plant communities.  We will pay particular attention to areas with fall wildflowers, and a special surprise will be shown at the end of the field trip. (Note: If you want to take Jane’s Scenic Drive in the Fakahatchee, do your research as there are many ways to get lost in the Picayune!) For meeting place and time please see the printed newsletter.

Bring: lunch and snacks, drinks, sunscreen, bug spray, sturdy shoes.  NO restrooms at the park and closest facilities are 30 minutes away.
Difficulty: moderate (mostly trails but some areas will be a bit off road).  May be some optional wading.
Leader: Steve Woodmansee.

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 (most South Florida natural areas) from The Institute for Regional Conservation’s website, www.regionalconservation.org.  Register to get a password.

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A new season of activities is being planned for November to April, meetings on 3rd Wednesdays rotating among the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys.  Field trips usually follow the next weekend.  In the meantime, come to the Oct. 21 trip to Crane Point.  To receive email reminders (in addition to the newsletter) please send your request douville@bellsouth.net . New helpers on the Keys Committee are greatly needed!

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Saturday, October 28, 9 a.m. - noon. Everglades National Park Chapter Workday.  We’ll trim, weed and admire the new plant signs and lush growth.  Drinks, hand tools and gloves are provided, but you might want to bring your own as well as snacks to share.  New volunteers, family, friends and kids are welcome and encouraged! Free admission to the park for your car, so bring your lunch and head to Long Pine Key or the Anhinga Trail to look for migrating birds and other wildlife.  For more information or possible carpooling, contact Patty (305-255-6404 or pphares@mindspring.com).

Help wanted:

2nd Annual Holiday Potluck Picnic, Sunday, Dec. 3, A.D. Barnes Park (Dade Co.) with DCFNPS, Tropical Audubon, Miami Blue NABA, TREEmendous Miami.  Details TBA.

Welcome new members!  In Dade: Sean Calpini, Linda Delancy, Stephanie Douglas (student), Arlene Ferris, Arcadio Garcia (student), Daniel Ogurcak, Megan Rekow and Ethan Gibney, John Scally.  In the Keys: Ginger Snead.  From other areas: Bill Hanson (Mclean, VA).

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Leave message at 305-261-8441
Be sure to mention the
Florida Native Plant Society!

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HELP WANTED – TREEmendous Miami

    TREEmendous Miami, the people who plant trees, is looking for a part-time, bilingual (Eng/Sp), independent person to conduct phone calls to elderly/disabled homeowners who have signed up for DERM's Adopt-a-Tree Program. 

    Work from your own home, $10/hr, est. 20-30 hours/month, hours are flexible with certain deadlines, record keeping, and phone logs on designated forms.  Telephone personality a must; tree expertise not required.  Contact Amy Creekmur, Program Coordinator, 305-378-1863 or treemendousmiami@mail.com.

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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).  October 17: Please bring at least three flowering or fruiting plants of any species.  For info and monthly topic: www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp

The Broward Chapter FNPS meets 2nd Tuesdays.  The Broward Native Plant Workshop meets 3rd Tuesdays.  Contact Jack Lange (954-583-0283, jl_phoenix@comcast.net) for info and new room location.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum meeting: 7-9 p.m., room 166, Cox Science Center, UM.  Program, discussion of “plant family of the month”, refreshments, raffle.   See www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum or contact Bob Muscarella muscarella@bio.miami.edu for more information.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  www.miamiblue.org or Elane Nuehring (305-666-5727, miamiblue@bellsouth.net) for walks. Nov. 5 meeting, 1 p.m. at Castellow Hammock: “Endangered Butterflies of South Florida.” by Sandy Koi.  Come early to “butterfly.”

Citizens for a Better South Florida’s “Last Sunday” native plant sales, 9 am - 6 pm, Oct. 29 and Nov. 26. 3191 SW 21 St., 305-648-0000, citizens@abettersouthflorida.org. See www.abettersouthflorida.org for events and volunteering.

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Drive, 305-667-7337, www.tropicalaudubon.org for more events.  Nonmembers are welcome at all the activities.

TAS NATIVE PLANT SALE at the Doc Thomas House.  Nov. 4-5 (Sat. 9 to 5, Sun. 9 to 3).  A great selection of plants with knowledgeable sales people to help you choose the best ones for your yard. Come early for the best selection, stay late to enjoy the company.  5530 Sunset Drive.

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 see  www.treemendousmiami.org. Upcoming plantings need you!  Saturday, Oct. 21: North Miami area.

Natural Areas Management Workdays. Help our rare native habitats by removing exotic plants, restoring native plants, enhancing trails and conducting clean-up activities.  Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation NAM and the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program need your support!  305-257-0933 or www.miamidade.gov/parks/preservation.asp

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ADVOCACY: Metrozoo Expansion

This Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners has placed a referendum on the November ballot which will impact an important natural area.  The referendum ‘Allowing Further Development At Metrozoo Property’ asks voters to approve the following:

 “Provided that revenues will be used to expand Metrozoo facilities and educational and conservational programs, shall the County be allowed to develop and operate an entertainment district, to include commercial uses and structures such as water park rides and attractions, related retail concessions, food and beverage establishments, a hotel, and a family entertainment center, on Metrozoo property on land that is not environmentally sensitive and is outside of the animal attraction?”

Source: Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, Resolution 820-06.

After looking at the plan, it is evident that further development would occur on a large piece of South Florida’s critically imperiled pine rockland community.  In addition, it could likely impact remaining pine rockland adjacent to it and throughout the Richmond Pineland Tract because of potential conflicts between operation of the new facilities and land management activities to maintain the pineland.  It is not clear in the referendum language, but the County would contract with a private company to build and operate the new facilities.  It is not clear how this would impact management of the pineland or how this might impact the current park budget if the revenue from the new facility does not meet projections.  Meanwhile it is clear that we have a long road ahead of us to protect pine rockland.  Despite the fact that this is the largest remaining tract of contiguous pine rockland outside of Everglades National Park, private interests, county officials, and politicians continue to make attempts to whittle it away further:  1) Zoo management continues to ignore the invasion of exotic pest plants elsewhere in its remaining pine rockland. 2) The University of Miami still plans to develop pine rockland next door into a neighborhood with 3,000 residential units and several businesses at its South Campus.  3) The Coast Guard Communications station next door may be selling its property to Miami-Dade County, which may then turn some of it around to developers. 4) SW 117th Avenue is being widened, impacting more pine rockland.  For more information about the proposed project on which you will vote, see http://www.miamitodaynews.com/news/060119/story4.shtml

Tropical Audubon Society will provide an opportunity to learn more about this issue at its Conservation Committee meeting on October 25 (announcement below).  Please try to attend.

Steve Woodmansee

Learn more at the Tropical Audubon Society Conservation Committee Meeting:

Barbara Falsey from the Miami Dade County Department of Park and Recreation will present information on the November 7, 2006, referendum concerning development adjacent to Miami Metrozoo.  The County is seeking to develop a water park and other family entertainment.  The referendum specifies that development will not occur on environmentally sensitive lands and that revenue from the water park and other family entertainment operations will be targeted to support the zoo’s mission.  The discussion will be focused on the potential impacts of the development plans on the critical natural resources of area

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by Roger L. Hammer

[Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article appeared in the October 1990 Tillandsia.]

It often comes as a surprise to many people to learn that the royal poinciana (Delonix regia) is not native to Florida. Postcards, tourist brochures, and travel agency ads often use images of exotic flowers to advertise the Sunshine State, including pictures of the royal poinciana, a native of Madagascar.  Other popular flowers used to advertise Florida are the hibiscus, frangipani, bird-of-paradise, and oleander, none of which are native species. But sometimes the distinction between natives and exotics isn’t always clear.

The black olive Bucida buceras) is widely planted as an ornamental throughout southern Florida. John Kunkel Small (1933) lists the species as native to “hammocks, upper Florida Keys.” Elbert Little (1976) states that it is “not known in recent years as a wild tree in Florida,” while P. B. Tomlinson (1980) describes it as widely distributed in the West Indies and Central America, and concluding that “it has been recorded in error as native to Florida.” Two separate collections of this species were made in 1886 and 1895 by A. W. Curtiss on Elliott Key in Miami-Dade County. There was, however, a cultivated grove of black olive trees located on Elliott Key at the time, and this species is known to escape cultivation. Although Richard Wunderlin (2003) once considered it to be native to Charlotte, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe (Florida Keys) counties, currently Wunderlin and Bruce Hansen (2004) recognize it as exotic.

A single specimen of tamarindillo, or cinnecord, (Acacia choriophylla), was discovered by Taylor Alexander on Key Largo in 1967. It was quickly listed as an endangered species by the Florida Committee on Rare & Endangered Plants and Animals (FCREPA), and Wunderlin (2003) considers it to be native to Miami-Dade and Monroe (Florida Keys) counties. The Florida Natural Areas Inventory in Tallahassee considers it to be nothing more than a tropical waif. Whether or not it should be regarded as a rare native tree (now apparently extirpated), a tropical waif, or an exotic species that escaped cultivation is difficult to determine.

There are other very rare plants that have been known only from rather minuscule populations. The pitch-apple, or autograph tree, (Clusia rosea), was definitely known to be native to the Lower Florida Keys, even as recently as 1968, but is now considered to be extirpated. Its current natural range includes the Bahamas, the West Indies, and Mexico south to Venezuela. It is still today a popular landscape tree in southern Florida and has escaped cultivation well outside its historic natural range in Florida, often growing epiphytically on palms. Wunderlin (2003) lists it as native to Miami-Dade and Monroe (Florida Keys) counties.

Black calabash (Amphitecna latifolia) is another tree that was once apparently native to Florida but may now be extirpated. Wunderlin (2003) lists it for Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties and there are cultivated specimens in such areas as the City of Miami’s Simpson Park, and at the Deering Estate at Cutler. Curiously, there is no mention of this species in The Biology of Trees Native to Tropical Florida (Tomlinson, 1980).   IRC lists Black calabash as native to a handful of local parks and not extirpated.

I should also mention the specimen of Bahama manjack (Cordia bahamensis) that was discovered growing in a pine rockland in Florida City in the 1970s, and documented by George N. Avery. It has since disappeared but is listed by Wunderlin as being native to Miami-Dade County based on that single specimen. It is rather common in the pinelands of the Bahamas. A close relative of this species, our beloved geiger tree (Cordia sebestena), is now being regarded as an escaped exotic species by Wunderlin (2003), which is based on reports from the turn of the 20th century that it was introduced and escaping cultivation in and around Key West. Because the fruits float, and the tree is native to the nearby Bahamas and Cuba where other coastal native trees and shrubs occur, it seems to me that it should be regarded as a native Florida species. It occurs in the Florida Keys in the proper habitat, and is actually quite rare.

To determine what is truly native (defined as plants that arrived here not abetted by man) is difficult because plant introductions began in Florida as soon as European explorers made landfall here. Another definition of a native Florida plant is one that occurred here naturally before the arrival of explorers on ships. In other words, before Christopher Columbus. But this doesn’t take into consideration that many of our native plants of tropical origin arrived here naturally in the bellies of migratory birds, by favorable ocean currents, or by tropical storms and hurricanes. These natural distributors of plant seeds are all still in progress, so if a plant that got here during a hurricane this past summer from the Bahamas or Cuba, and was able to establish itself in the proper southern Florida habitat and then spread on its own, is just as native as a species that arrived here prior to 1492. So sometimes, what is native and what is not is nothing more than a good educated guess. If only the people who were here in Florida before the arrival of Europeans had made plant lists!

Literature cited:

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 by Martin Roessler

On September 16, 2006, we visited  the Snapper Creek Hardy Matheson Preserve. Steve Woodmansee and Dallas Hazelton led us into the pine rocklands and coastal rockland hammock. We observed the following ferns and plants in flower.  For a detailed plant list of species found please see the printed newsletter. For a detailed plant list of species found please see the printed newsletter.

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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, info@fnps.org

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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