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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March, 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.




  • 17 (Sat): Native Plant Day
  • 20 (Tue.): Keys monthly meeting (Marathon)
  • 24 (Sat.): Keys field trip (Marathon yard visits)
  • 27 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting
  • 31 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades Nat. Park


  • 1 (Sun.): Dade field trip (MetroZoo pineland)
  • 17 (Tue.): Keys monthly meeting (Key Largo)
  • 21 (Sat): Keys field trip (Islamorada)
  • 19-22: 27th Annual FNPS Conference, Gainesville
  • 24 (Tue.): Dade monthly meeting
  • 28 (Sat.): Spring plant sale, Fairchild Trop. Bot. Garden


Tuesday, March 27, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public.

Green Thumb Certified – Working with Nurseries to Stop Invasives -- Alison Higgins, Land Conservation Manager, The Nature Conservancy, The Florida Keys. 

Most nursery and home owners are unfamiliar with the invasive exotic plants of our region and the problems they cause.  The Educational Committee of the Florida Keys Invasive Exotic Task Force is helping change that.  A collaborative partnership between South Florida Water Management District, The Nature Conservancy, Monroe County Extension and countless other partners, "Green Thumb Certified" provides recognition to plant nurseries in the Keys that pledge not to sell invasive exotics and also push "AlterNatives" (native plants that fill the same form and function) and provide customers with Keys-friendly fertilizers, mulch and irrigation options.  It is hoped that like-minded groups will continue this effort in other areas.  Read more about it at  www.KeysGreenThumb.net!

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 is available for sale before and after the program (cash and checks only).

April 24: Rob Campbell – Propagating natives from seed

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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!

Sunday, April 1, 9:30-noon: MetroZoo Pine Rockland. This 195-acre pineland surrounds the zoo.  As part of the Richmond Pine Rockland Tract, it is home to over 180 native plants, 30 of which are listed as endangered or threatened by the state of Florida.  In January, a control burn was set to properly manage this critically imperiled habitat.  We expect to see a profusion of colorful wildflowers boosted by the new nutrients and sunlight from the fire. 

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. A plant list may be obtained for this site by visiting The Institute for Regional Conservation website at www.regionalconservation.org, and registering and then logging onto the Floristic Inventory of South Florida online database.

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For more information, contact Sue Miller at 305-664-9440 or sueorjay@terranova.net.  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.

Meeting: Tuesday, March 20, in Marathon

Location: Marathon Garden Center, 5270 Overseas Hwy
Directions: MM 50.4 bayside (west of Publix, Crane Point Hammock is on the right).
Time:  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.

Program:   "Native Plant Use by Early Settlers" - Dr. Mary Ann Bolla will discuss how native plants helped sustain the early Keys settlers before there were bridges to facilitate travel and access to supplies.  She will include information on edible and medicinal plants and uses of local woods and fruits. Learn about Dills and Sours, how the settlers used buttonwood and "stoppers." How did they cope with mosquitoes? Everyone is encouraged to bring their own stories of how the settlers fared.

Mary Ann was a ranger/naturalist for Everglades National Park and Dade County Parks and also worked at Abbott Laboratories on biological pesticides and plant growth regulators.  Educated at FIU and UF, she has an extensive background in horticulture.

March 24 field trip:  Visit the properties of several Marathon residents to see how they have used native plants.  Don't miss some very special yards that clearly demonstrate the advantages and beauty of native plantings and how the natives manage to survive our extreme weather conditions. 

Time: 10 am. Location:  Meet in the Marathon Garden Club parking lot.

Coming up in the Keys:

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FNPS members should have received their state FNPS magazine, Palmetto, by now.  If you did not, please contact the FNPS office (see info box on the back of the newsletter.

27th Annual Spring Conference hosted by Paynes Prairie Chapter FNPS, Gainesville.  "Conservation Cures: By the Yard and Mile" -  April 19-21, 2007, at the Hilton Univ. of Florida Conference Center.  See details at www.fnps.org (and even register online!) or wait for hard copies to be mailed to members in early March, but remember that conferences in Gainesville are verrry popular.  Field trips, special activities and the hotel may fill up quickly, so don't wait long!

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Our annual May business meeting will be here before we know it and there will be openings on our board.  Perhaps you've wanted to become more involved in our society?  Perhaps you have just the skills we are in need of?  Perhaps you have something to offer to make the Dade Chapter a stronger organization?  Or, perhaps you just want to help? 

Here is your chance!  Every other year, half of our board positions are elected (two of the executive members, in this case, our Treasurer and Secretary, and three Members at Large) and we are seeking interested members.  If you would like to share your talents with the Board, or know of someone who may be just what the organization needs, please contact Amy Leonard at 305-458-0969 or via email at aleonar74@yahoo.com.  A desire to make our already strong Chapter even stronger is the most important qualification!

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If you haven't already downloaded the Native Plant Day program from the chapter web site, here are a few details to fuel your interest.  It's free and fun, so don't let yourself or your friends miss it! Bring the kids! Please contact Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com if you need to have a hard copy mailed to you).

We can still use volunteers for Friday setup, camping Friday night (since we will have some items already set up), as well as help at the event on the 17th (contact Jan Kolb, 305-378-6104, jankolb123@yahoo.com ASAP). Also: donations for the chapter plant sale and raffle (Mary Rose, 305-378-0382 or jdrose6@bellsouth.net).  Raffle items may be plants, books, guest passes, garden items, etc.. We will have a special "door prize" and need extra non-plant donations – perhaps a nice book, framed photo or garden art?  Finally, please spread the word to your friends and neighbors!

Native Plant Day, March 17, 2007
Bill Sadowski Park at Old Cutler Hammock
17555 SW 79 Ave, Palmetto Bay, 33157
1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Rd. on SW 176 St.



  1. Conserving Water in the Garden  - Why and How.  Christian Miller, UF/ IFAS Miami-Dade Extension. 
  2. Egg to Imago: A butterfly's life cycle (thanks to native plants).  Miami Blue Chapter, North Am. Butterfly Assoc. 


  1. Good Bugs and Bad Bugs in Your Garden. Adrian Hunsberger, Urban Horticulture Agent/ Entomologist, UF/ IFAS Miami-Dade Extension. 
  2. Rare Native Plants of South Florida: Why are they rare and why does it matter? Kristie Wendelberger, Field Botanist, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.


  1. Gardening for Pollinators. Suzanne Koptur, Professor of Botany, FIU.  The importance of our gardens to pollinating insects and the benefits of native plants in this role.  
  2. Steven's Eleven: Top eleven native trees and shrubs for the South Florida yard. Steve Woodmansee, Senior Biologist, The Institute for Regional Conservation 


  1. Making and Using Compost in Your Florida Garden. George Fitzpatrick, Prof. of Env. Horticulture, UF.
  2. Natives of the West Indies: Plants we share with our neighbors.  Joy Klein, Miami-Dade DERM.


  1. Creating Your Own Pine Rockland.  George Gann, Executive Director, The Institute for Regional Conservation. 
  2. Plants Behaving Badly: The consequences of planting the wrong plant in the wrong place. Gwen Burzycki, Biologist, Miami-Dade DERM.


8:30Early bird walk – Tropical Audubon Society

9:30 -Hammock walk. Jennifer Possley , FTBG.


  1. Natives in the Park - & Ecology, Too.  Suzanne Koptur, FIU. 
  2. Butterfly walk. Miami Blue Chapter, NABA.


  1. Natives for Wildlife – Plants in the arboretum. Joy Klein, DERM. 
  2. Hammock walk. Steve Green, IRC.


  1. Hammock walk – Steve Green, IRC.
  2. What's Bugging Native Plants.  Suzanne Koptur, FIU.

2:15 - Rocks and Plants.  Gwlady Scott.


10-12:00 - Habitat restoration workday (call for info)

12:25 and 3:10 – raffles


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Lots of things to do over the next month! In addition to the regular meeting and field trip we hope to see you at Native Plant Day or Everglades National Park.

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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). Bring at least three flowering/fruiting plants of any species. Mar. 20 topic: Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family). www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp

The Broward Chapter FNPS meets 2nd Tuesdays, 7:30Address: Fraternal Order of Eagles, 560 NE 36 St., Oakland Park. For information: 954-922-9747.

The Broward Native Plant Workshop meets 3rd Tuesdays at the IFAS Research and Education Center, 3205 College Ave. Ft Lauderdale. Contact Jack Lange (954-583-0283, jl_phoenix@comcast.net) for info.

Friends of Gifford Arboretum monthly meeting, March 21, 7-9 pm, University of Miami, Cox Science Center, room 166. "Why save South Florida Native Plants?" by Joyce Maschinski, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Featured Plant family of the month: Sapotaceae. Free and open to the public. Directions: Take 57th Ave to Miller (58 St), go east to UM, turn left, look for the Gifford Arboretum sign (3rd entrance). For info: www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum, Eric Manzane (bioerman@bio.miami.edu) or 305-284-5364.

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Drive, 305-667-7337, www.tropicalaudubon.org for more details and events.  Nonmembers are welcome at all activities.  Meetings are free.  Doors open 7:30 pm, program at 8 pm.   Program meetings:

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management Workdays.  See www.miamidade.gov/parks/preservation.asp or call 305-257-0933.  8:45 AM – noon. 

Miami-Dade College Environmental Center Kendall Campus.  Call 305-237-2600 or see www.mdc.edu/kendall/ce  - Environmental Center.  Free Second Saturday open houses (Mar.10, Apr.14): picnic, bring the kids, feed the fish, plant and bird tours. Register for a course for a small fee: Composting Made Easy (3/10), Prune Like a Pro (4/14).

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.org. Apr.7: National Key Deer Refuge, Big Pine Key.

Florida Keys Green Living and Energy Education Expo March 31, 2007, at the Stanley Switlik School in Marathon. Free, including workshops, exhibitors and vendors.  See www.keysglee.com or call 305-291-7658

Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park Lecture Series.  The Delicate Balance of Nature. 7:30pm - 8:30pm, Key Largo School, MM 105 Oceanside Overseas Hwy.  Free.  Bring a seat cushion for comfort. For more info call the Park Ranger Station at (305) 451-1202. 

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by Sue Miller

Leave it to Jim and Janice Duquesnel and a team of local volunteers determined to spread the word about the benefits of native landscaping - and the plants, too!  In 1995 a native plant nursery was created as part of the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park.  The program is thriving with an all volunteer staff supervised by Jim Duquesnel.  The nursery has an average of 3200 plants at any one time, about 120 different species, nearly all of which have been propagated from plants that are found in the park. 

The Keys members of the Florida Native Plant Society and guests got to see the operation first hand at their January, 2007, monthly meeting. Nursery manager and guest speaker, Jackie DeGayner, has been a loyal volunteer for the last 5 years and has 15 other regular volunteers assisting her at the nursery.  Every year the nursery donates about 3000 plants for landscaping efforts of government agencies and residents throughout the Florida Keys and much of South Florida.  Benefactors include wildlife refuges in Key Largo and Big Pine Key, Sonny McCoy Indigenous Park in Key West, all of the state parks in the Florida Keys as well as several on the mainland, local churches and schools, and community greening efforts.

To avoid competing with commercial nurseries, these donations are made primarily when the plants cannot be obtained from commercial sources (typically a rare species, or one not popular in commercial trade), or when there are no funds available to purchase plants.

As part of its "Good Neighbors" program, the park also gives plants away to Keys residents who live adjacent to the park boundary, often to help encourage their removal of invasive exotic landscaping. Additionally, the nursery volunteers have become native plant "ambassadors," promoting the use of native landscaping in their own neighborhoods and, as several are "snowbirds," even beyond South Florida.

In consideration of genetic issues, plants whose seeds are normally distributed by birds may be distributed as far as 100 miles from the nursery, but wind dispersed seeds are usually not sent beyond 50 miles from the original seeds source.  This helps protect rare species from "genetic swamping."  Parks have even sent seeds from their own local population to the Key Largo facility for rearing, the seedlings are then returned to that park ready for installation.

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by Steven W. Woodmansee

IRC recently began work on monitoring the vegetation at Picayune Strand. Picayune Strand State Forest (PSSF) is located in East Naples west of the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.  Prior to becoming a state forest, roughly 40 years ago PSSF was slated to be developed as part of Golden Gates Estates.  This real-estate boondoggle helped fuel the infamous expression "If you believe that… I've got some Florida Swampland to sell to you.".  Although little of the land was used for houses, an extensive network of asphalt roads and canals was placed throughout the region.  Over time due to drainage and severe wildfires, the plant communities began to change from pristine cypress swamp to disturbed thickets with cabbage palm.  The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) plans to restore this area by filling in the canals and removing the roads in hopes of fixing local hydrology, and preserving the valuable water for the rapidly growing Florida southwest coast.  IRC's role is to monitor the vegetation beforehand (and hopefully after) so that the SFWMD may precisely gauge the success of hydrological restoration on native plants. 

Though many areas are overgrown with dense vegetation, making work difficult, we managed to make a surprising discovery.  Hidden on moist flatwoods soil amidst the many herbs and grasses, growing about one inch high and ½ inch wide, was Ophioglossum crotalophoroides or bulbous adder's tongue, a species never collected nor to my knowledge ever observed in South Florida.  (To see a photo of this plant check out the back cover of Gil Nelson's Ferns of Florida, 2000.)  A native fern of the Southeastern U.S., in Florida where it occurs sporadically, the closest county to where this species is recorded is Manatee, over 100 miles to the north.  Although easily overlooked, it has a charming reproductive structure, which in ferns is called a sporocarp, that looks like a tiny rattle with shiny yellow beadlike sporangia, albeit measuring less than 1/8 of an inch long.  It just goes to show that there are still discoveries to be made, even though you may need to be on your hands and knees when making them.

[This article was previously printed in the Autumn 2005 Friends of IRC News (www.regionalconservation.org. Steven W. Woodmansee is Senior Biologist at The Institute for Regional Conservation and past-president of the Dade Chapter FNPS.]

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by Roger L. Hammer

Photo of grass pink orchidBy the time you receive this newsletter, the grass-pink, Calopogon tuberosus, will be flowering in the open, marl prairies in Everglades  National Park. If you've never seen this terrestrial orchid in flower, you should make it a point to do so. If you have seen it before, then you should  make it a point to do so again. One good place to look is in the wide prairie that is bisected by the road to Royal Palm Hammock. Look especially on the east side of the road and scan for pink (or white) flowers waving in the breeze just above the prairie grasses. Some plants might be seen right along the edge of the road. If none are found there, return to the main park road and head west (toward Flamingo) and scan the open prairies on both sides of the road. Another good way to find them is to bring a bicycle and ride along the firebreak roads on Long Pine Key (stop by the main visitor center and ask for a map of the hiking and biking trails of Long Pine Key).

When you come to the Long Pine Key turnoff, head south to the first firebreak on your right. Park and begin your trip westward. The map will be helpful in seeing where the forks and intersections of other firebreaks lead you. If you continue west, you will eventually come to Pine Glades Lake, which will be 7 miles from your car, so round trip you will peddle 14 miles.   Look for grass-pinks along the way, again in open prairies.  The grass-pink has flowers that are about one inch tall and wide, and the lip is held uppermost. There are bristles on the lip that resemble stamens, in size and color. These are meant to fake out bees that are visiting other flowers for pollen or nectar. The grass-pink offers no reward but it deceives pollinators with its enticing, fake stamens. When a bee lands on the lip, it collapses and presses the hapless insect upside down on the pollinia below. This act of deceit works well for the orchid because it is a common, widespread species throughout the eastern United States.

The grass-pink is but one of the wonders of the seemingly monotonous prairies that make up the Everglades. They flower from late February through May in South Florida, and are at their height in March and April. So stop what you're doing and go admire the grass-pinks in flower. You can thank me later.

[Reprinted from the March 2001 Tillandsia][Photo scaled from: Thomas G. Barnes@USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database, click on photo for original source, Photo © Tom Barnes University of Kentucky]

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by Roger L. Hammer

If you're a taxonomic "lumper," then there is only one species of snowberry in Florida. But, if you're a "splitter," then there are two species. To anyone who sees the two "forms" of this plant in the wild, you will surely be convinced that they are two distinct species; a large, sprawling vinelike shrub of hammocks (Chiococca alba), and a small, procumbent, spreading plant of pinelands (Chiococca parvifolia). The current consensus, however, is that there is only a single, highly variable species in Florida, with C. parvifolia reduced to a synonym of C. alba.

This seems to be an odd determination but both plants do seem to intergrade, at times, in size and growth habit.  But, if you plant seeds of the pineland form you get plants with small leaves, flowers, and fruit.  Plant seeds of the hammock form and you get a large, woody shrub with larger leaves, flowers, and fruit.  Grow them side by side in the same conditions and they usually maintain their characteristic growth habits.  So make your own decision on this one.

Typically, snowberry has small (3/8" long), trumpet-shaped yellow flowers that hang downward in two ranks.  The flowers are produced in July and August and are followed by rounded, snowwhite 1/4" fruit that closely resemble little balls of styrofoam (I've eaten them and I think they ARE little balls of styrofoam!).  A fruiting specimen is highly decorative in the wild as well as in the home landscape.  Grow the larger, hammock form on a fence, arbor, or allow it to clamber over other shrubs as it does in nature. The smaller pineland form can be used as a groundcover, border planting, or grown in a hanging basket.

In 1993 I encountered an unusual color form of snowberry growing in Castellow Hammock.  The flowers, rather than being clear yellow, were peach-colored. I gathered cuttings and gave them to Don and Joyce Gann to propagate.  I still today have a fine specimen of this color form gracing the fence next to my front gate and it faithfully produces peach-colored flowers each year.

Neither form of snowberry is commonly cultivated but both are worth of horticultural attention. 

[Reprinted from the September, 2001, Tillandsia]

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by Martin Roessler

On February 18, 2007, we visited a cleared trail along an old tramway called the Gator Hook Trail in the Big Cypress at the western end of Loop Road. We passed through short hydroperiod marsh, dwarf cypress and  cypress dome habitat. After lunch we walked a short way down Pace's Dike where we examined hydric pineland, short hydroperiod marsh and a shallow cypress dome. Contrary to expectations, the rainy weather cleared and it was a beautiful if brisk day. For a detailed plant list of species observed 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) for new members is $25 for the first year and $30 after that. 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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