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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January, 2007

In This Issue


If you didn't receive this Tillandsia in your mail box,

… then you aren't a member of DCFNPS.

Please consider joining (if you have never joined) or rejoining (if your membership has lapsed).  We'd like to have you counted as a conservator of Florida's native plants and a supporter of FNPS!

drawing of a mail boxGive a gift FNPS membership! 
It comes with a FREE native plant.
Two gifts that will keep on giving.

Contact 305-255-6404 or pphares@mindspring.com.




  • 16 (Tue.): Keys monthly meeting (Key Largo)
  • 20 (Sat.): Field trip (Keys and Dade), Plantation Key
  •                 … followed by pot-luck party in Tavernier
  • 23 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting (bromeliads)
  • 27 (Sat): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park


  • 18 (Sun.): Dade field trip (Loop Road, Big Cypress)
  • 20 (Tue.): Keys monthly meeting (Key West)
  • 24 (Sat.): Keys field trip (Key West)
  • 24 (Sat.): "Open House" at the chapter's project, ENP
  • 27 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting


  • 3 (Sat.): Yard visit (South Dade)
  • 17 (Sat.): NATIVE PLANT DAY (South Dade)


  • 19-22: FNPS 27th Annual FNPS Conference, Gainesville


Tuesday, January 23, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public.  (4th not last Tuesday)

"Florida's Native Bromeliads" – Ken Marks, Florida Director of the Bromeliad Society International.

Ken Marks will show all of the Florida-native bromeliads as seen in the wild in a PowerPoint presentation and discuss their identification.  He will also be happy to answer questions about propagation of these species at home.  He may be able to bring a few live specimens to show as well, but any additions from the group are welcome.

When Mr. Marks moved to Broward County from Chicago 11 years ago, he soon learned that plant obsessions of South Floridians could include more than orchids.  He discovered the Boca Raton Bromeliad Society, a group of like-minded individuals from the Boca Raton Orchid Society with a passion for these relatively unknown plants.  His recent obsession to locate and photograph all of the native bromeliads of Florida started early this year and resulted in tonight's presentation and a two-part article in the Journal of the Bromeliad Society.  In addition to growing bromeliads for his own garden, he is past President of the Boca Raton Bromeliad Society and currently both a Florida Director and Webmaster for the Bromeliad Society International.

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. Merchandise sales are before and after the program (cash and checks only).

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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, January 20: Jeff Scurlock's Mother Ocean Custom Woodworks (west of Tavernier, FL Keys).  See the announcement under Keys activities.  (Followed by pot-luck party in Tavernier.)

Sunday, February 18: Loop Road, Big Cypress.  We will check out a new boardwalk near the west end of Loop Road and then look for places to botanize in cypress swamp and prairie habitats off the boardwalk, possibly including some slough slogging (though in the dry time of year it may be only damp or dry).   Bladderworts and marsh pinks should be in flower, epiphytes abound, and it's the perfect time of year to enjoy the charm of the Big Cypress.

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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Welcome to the Keys members back for the winter and to the new Keys members!  Please note that the meetings have been changed to THIRD TUESDAYS.  Also, thanks to Sue Miller for joining the Keys Committee.  Sue is gathering all the information for Tillandsia and will gladly answer your questions.  Contact her at sueorjay@terranova.net or 305-664-9440.  To receive email reminders of activities (in addition to the newsletter) please send your request douville@bellsouth.net.

KEYS MEETINGS: Third Tuesdays, November to April.

Tuesday, January 16,
Program: "Native Plant Propagation"

Jackie DeGayner will share lessons on how to get your own native plants started from seeds.  We will visit the nursery operation at John Pennekamp to see why they have been so successful at creating a huge inventory of natives for distribution far and wide.

Location: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State ParkMM 102.5, Oceanside.
  7 p.m. – plant identification workshop (bring cuttings of mystery plants). 7:30 p.m. – Meeting and program.  Native plant raffle and refreshments follow the program.


Saturday, January 20,
Jeff Scurlock's Mother Ocean Custom Woodworks, 88888 Overseas Hwy,  (MM 88.9, Oceanside, west of Tavernier).

Jeff is a master at turning salvaged indigenous wood and fossil coral into fabulous works of art, furniture and hardwood flooring.  His property on Plantation Key has a most unusual studio, a small museum, galleries, a Red Cross hurricane house built after the 1935 hurricane, and natural native plant gardens.  The facility is a specialized studio that includes woodworking machinery and a fully operational sawmill equipped for both large logs and massive blocks of fossil coral.  You'll get to see a huge inventory of indigenous hardwoods both aged and cured ready for milling.  A trip you won't want to miss.

After the field trip:  You can head straight to the party in Tavernier (just a few miles east) if you are planning to go (see announcement below). Or some of the group might decide to botanize elsewhere before going to the party or home.

Coming up in the Keys in 2007:

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The next workday is Saturday, January 27, 9 a.m. - noon.  Please come help us spruce up for our February event at the Coe Visitors Center.  Drinks, hand tools and gloves are provided, but you might want to bring your own water bottle as well as snacks to share.  We will be doing light maintenance and cleanup.  New volunteers, family, friends and kids are welcome and encouraged.  (What a great group of new folks we had in December – not only were they unfazed by the threat of rain, but they kept it away!)  Free admission to the park for your car -- bring lunch and enjoy the winter wildlife.  For more information or possible carpooling, contact Patty (305-255-6404 or pphares@mindspring.com)

On February 24, we will celebrate the 6th anniversary of the project and show park visitors what it's all about. We will have an "open house" with tours, refreshments, educational handouts and perhaps even lunch for our volunteers.  Stay tuned for details.  If you were one of the 40 volunteers on the first workday in January, 2001, we hope you will join us.

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Native Plant Day, our annual public event, will be at Bill Sadowski Park at Old Cutler Hammock.  It's a full day of learning about native plants with programs, nature walks, displays, children's activities, plant and book sales and all-around good time. Plan to attend and/or volunteer and start telling your friends and neighbors!  Programs and walks will cover a variety of landscaping and plant care topics and plants in natural areas.  Free!  Details will be in the Tillandsia and on the chapter Web site in February.

Please contact Amy Leonard (aleonar74@yahoo.com , 305-458-0969) if you can help, have suggestions (food vendors, activities, etc.), can post announcements in newsletters or elsewhere, or would like to participate as a vendor of plants or plant-related items.  Please call ASAP as the final plans will be wrapped up in January.  We will sign up volunteers at the upcoming meetings, or contact Amy.

Plants to donate to the raffles or chapter sale?  Please groom them now – prune, pot up into decent pots, fertilize so that they will be beautiful in March.  Most desired are wildflowers, passionvines (lots of them) and other herbaceous plants (4" to 1 gallon) and less-common trees and shrubs (1 to 3 gallon).

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Saturday, January 20, following the morning field trip
A member's home, Tavernier.
All afternoon/evening – potluck at 3 p.m.balloon picture

All Dade/Keys FNPS members & families invited.

Mary Ann Bolla and Joyce Gann's annual (Post-) Holiday Party again will be preceded by a morning field trip (see this newsletter for details).  In the afternoon and evening, we will gather for socializing, local outdoor activities and potluck.  During the afternoon, you can scour the neighborhood for native plants or a grave marker from the 1935 hurricane, use two canoes for a trip to Little Tavernier (please call to reserve), or browse the members' extensive library.  For brave souls there is also a natural beach within 100 yards.  The pot-luck will begin around 3 p.m., but come whenever you can -- earlier or later.  Snacks will be provided between the field trip and potluck.   For those who stay into the evening, there will be a choice of movies this year: "Hurricane of 1935", "Wind across the Everglades" or "Key Largo."

If you wish to spend the night, there are a few beds available or you can bring a sleeping bag.  Call the hosts to let them know what potluck side dish you plan to bring (our hosts will provide the main dish), how many people are coming and if you plan to stay overnight.  If you spend the night you can also bring something to share for breakfast served on the balcony.   They are a smoke-free but pet-friendly house.

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Dr. Carl W. Campbell passed away at his home on November 25, 2006.  He was an Professor of Horticulture, Emeritus, and  Consultant on  Tropical Fruit Production.  He retired in 1988 from the University of Florida Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida.  He was best known his research on introduction of new tropical fruits to Florida, selection of superior varieties adapted to local conditions, propagation, water and fertilizer requirements, pruning methods, tree care, and commercial production systems for tropical fruits.  Additionally, he was a local expert on native plants and joined Native Plant Workshop shortly after coming to South Florida in 1957.  He led field trips and mentored many newcomers on native plant identification.   Both he and his wife Becky, were staunch supporters of environmental causes and worked tirelessly in the Nature Conservancy to preserve Fuchs Hammock, which is now a Dade County  Park.  His home garden was a showcase for both native plants and tropical fruits.

Carl was an early member of Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and one of his last programs given to the society in 2002 was "Combining Fruit Trees and Natives in the Home Landscape."  Carl will be missed by us all within the horticultural community.

---Mary Ann Bolla

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Yard Visit, Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m. - noon.   We will visit a member's home in South Dade (near the Deering Estate).  The owner has an artful mix of native areas (a hammock with solution hole he created), lawn with beds of exotics, and collections of other interesting plants in his patio/shade house.  Details and directions in the February Tillandsia.   Yard visits are for everyone -- not just for "new learners."

Thanks to volunteers, plant donors and nurseries at the Ramble in November.  The chapter sold 456 plants, including 52 donated by chapter members, grossing $8773. 30% of the proceeds support Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. With the donations of a portion of the nurseries' proceeds to the chapter, we earned $598 to help support educational efforts and operating costs of the chapter.  Thanks to Veber's Jungle Garden and Casey's Corner Nursery for their continued participation and support in the plant sale.

Please note that FNPS membership rates have changed (the first time in many years).  Membership renewals and applications postmarked after December 31 are subject to the following new rates:

If you are about to join or renew, please check to see if you have an old form and adjust as needed.  Your membership and support of FNPS and its activities are greatly appreciated!

Welcome new members!  In Dade:  Barbara Berman, Hillary Burgess (intern at ENP), Orlando Comas (Comas and Assoc.), Elizabeth Garcia-Granados, Gloria Golightly, Steven Holmes, Robert Knight, Larry Liggett, Craig Morell, Dashiell Morris, Jacquie Neetz, Nancy Penn, Teresa Pooler, Nancy Rodriguez, Pilar Rodriguez, Judy Rzeszutko, Sandy Seaton, Rhitu Shrestra (intern at ENP), Marjorie Wright.  In the Keys: Matt Below, Jackie Low.

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Drawing of a tilandsiaDrawing of tilandsia

Saturday, March 17, 2007

9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. -- Rain or shine

Bill Sadowski Park at Old Cutler Hammock
(SW 176 Street just west of Old Cutler Road in South Dade).

Have totally green Saint Patrick's Day!

Learn about about native plants (in landscaping and natural areas) and South Florida nature.
Programs, walks, displays and demonstrations by
local experts and organizations.
Books for sale and a huge native plant sale.
Plant raffles.
Nature activities for children by the park staff.

And it's FREE!    drawing of pointing finger

Co-sponsored by the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and Miami-Dade Parks.

Details will be available in February -- check this web site or call the Florida Native Plant Society at 305-255-6404 to have a flier mailer to you.


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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).  Jan. 23: 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 location.

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. Program meetings and conservation meetings are free and open to the public. Doors open 7:30 pm, program at 8 pm.

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  www.miamiblue.org  or Elane Nuehring (305-666-5727, miamiblue@bellsouth.net) for upcoming meetings and walks.

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!

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management Workdays. Help rare native habitats by removing exotic plants, restoring native plants, enhancing trails and cleaning up. See www.miamidade.gov/parks/preservation.asp or call 305-257-0933.   Jan. 20 and Feb. 10: Kendall Indian Hammocks, 11345 SW 79 St.  Jan 27: Deering Estate, 16701 SW 72 Ave.

Miami-Dade College Environmental Center.  New year, new classes!  Check out new offerings at The Environmental Center of Miami Dade College Kendall Campus.  Call 305-237-2600 or see www.mdc.edu/kendall/ce  and click on Environmental Center.  There are classes and activities for adults and children and lots to see on their 9-acre nature preserve.

Gifford Arboretum, University of Miami.  See www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum  or contact Bob Muscarella (muscarella@bio.miami.edu) for more information about upcoming meetings (with a variety of interesting botanical topics) and other activities.

The Nature Conservancy Greensweep workdays in the Keys.  Get involved in restoration and management of Keys natural areas. Contact 305/745-8402 or knorris@tnc.orgFeb. 3: Tropical Crane Hammock, Marathon.  March 3: Key West Botanical Garden.

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The Delicate Balance of Nature. Wednesdays through March 28, 7:30pm - 8:30pm, Key Largo School, MM 105 Oceanside Overseas Hwy.  Free.  Bring a seat cushion for comfort in the cafetorium. For more information call the Park Ranger Station at (305) 451-1202.

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photo of calecarpa americanAmerican beautyberry, Callicarpa americana. (Credit: Stephen Duke, ARS)Swatting mosquitoes and dodging other biting bugs is nearly a year-round chore in the Southeast, but such pests are swarming across the country with the advent of summer weather. And with warnings about West Nile virus and other insect-borne diseases out, keeping the pests away has taken on new urgency.

A traditional folk remedy, known among people in Mississippi's hill country for at least a century, may provide some relief without all the worries of DEET and other harsh chemicals. Scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service housed at the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi have isolated compounds in the American beautyberry plant, Callicarpa americana, that may keep chomping insects away.

"My grandfather would cut branches with the leaves still on them and crush the leaves, then he and his brothers would stick the branches between the harness and the horse to keep deerflies, horseflies and mosquitoes away," said Charles T. Bryson, an ARS botanist in Stoneville, Miss. "I was a small child, maybe 7 or 8 years old, when he told me about the plant the first time. For almost 40 years, I've grabbed a handful of leaves, crushed them and rubbed them on my skin with the same results."

Bryson told his supervisor about the folklore repellent, and in 2004 the USDA-ARS at the UM natural products research center began investigating the beautyberry plant as a potential natural insect repellent.

Charles Cantrell, an ARS chemist in Oxford, and Jerry Klun, an ARS entomologist in Beltsville, Md., confirmed that the natural remedy wards off biting insects, such as ticks, ants and mosquitoes: "I've rubbed the leaves on my arms, and it works," Cantrell said.

"Traditional folklore remedies many times are found to lead nowhere following scientific research," he continued. "The beautyberry plant and its ability to repel mosquitoes is an exception. We actually identified naturally occurring chemicals in the plant responsible for this activity."

Three repellent chemicals were extracted during the 12-month study: callicarpenal, intermedeol and spathulenol. The research concluded that all three chemicals repulse mosquitoes known to transmit yellow fever and malaria. Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were not tested as part of the study, but the USDA-ARS has since filed a patent application to use callicarpenal as an arthropod repellent.

There are barriers, however, to producing the repellent for mass consumption. The product must be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, which may cost millions of dollars, and a cost-effective manufacturing procedure must be determined.

"It's difficult to bring a repellent onto the market," Cantrell said. "We still have many unanswered questions: both the toxicity levels and evaporation rates are unknown. We're still in the early stages.

Cantrell also said, "It's quite unusual to find a plant producing this type of compound, but it's synthesizing it for some reason. Perhaps, it's naturally defending itself against insect attack."

The National Center for Natural Products Research is the nation's only university research center devoted to improving human health and agricultural productivity through the discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals derived from plants, marine organisms and other natural products. University of Mississippi researchers at the center are studying hundreds of natural products that show promise to help treat a broad range of human illnesses, including cancer, AIDS, malaria, fungal infections, tuberculosis and emerging tropical diseases.

Other studies by both university and USDA scientists at the center may yield better products to control weeds, insects, fungal diseases in food crops and algae growth in commercial catfish ponds.

[Source: Inside Ole Miss, June 26, 2006
University Of Mississippi

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by Martin Roessler

On Saturday 18 November 2006, members of the  Native Plant Workshop, Broward and Dade County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant  Society and Friends of the Picayune Strand State Forest visited parts of the Belle Meade Tract. Steve Woodmansee and several Picayune Strand staff members guided us along paths through pine flatwoods, wet prairies and a cypress swamp. The 70,000 acre was purchased by CARL and other Florida and federal agencies. The Picayune Strand State Forest was officially named in 1995. Restoration has included the blocking of canals, road removal and restricted entry and use. 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 Tuesdays 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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