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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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.




  • 9 (Sun.): Keys Group planning meeting (tentative)
  • 25 (Tue.): Monthly meeting in Dade (global warming)
  • 30 (Sun.): Field trip (Platt Island, Big Cypress)


  • 20 (Sat.): Field trip (Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park)
  • 23 (Tue.): Monthly meeting in Dade (composting)
  • 27 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades Nat. Park


  • 17/18 (Sat./Sun.): Chapter display & sale at FTBG Ramble
  • 24 or 25 (Sat. or Sun.): field trip (Nixon Smiley pineland  in South Dade, location tentative)
  • 27 (Tue.): Monthly meeting in Dade (Rehydration at the Deering Estate)


  • 2 (Sun.): 3rd Annual Holiday Picnic, A.D. Barnes Park.
  • 8 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades Nat. Park
  • 15 or 16 (Sat. or Sun.): field trip (Deering Estate rehydration area, location tentative)

Note: The above activities are for all chapter members but do not include special activities for the Keys group (Nov. - April) which will be planned in early September.



Tuesday, September 25, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public.  

Comes the Sea - How Global Warming will change South Florida.  Dr. Harold R. Wanless, Professor and Chair, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Miami

Florida is extremely low lying and is very vulnerable to even small changes in sea level.  The nine inches of relative sea level rise over the past 75 years has initiated dramatic changes in our coastal wetlands and destabilized our sandy coastlines.  The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has forecast an additional global sea rise of about 1-2 feet for the coming century.  This projection is most certainly dangerously overly conservative because climate and sea level projection models do not incorporate the true stepped nature of climate and sea level change and because projections do not include the recent acceleration in arctic melting observed.  A two foot rise in sea level will be challenging of south Florida. Any rise greater than two feet in the coming century will be catastrophic for south Florida and challenge the area’s inhabitability.

In addition to Professor and Department Chair at UM, Dr. Wanless is a Fellow in the Geological Society of America and member of Society of Sedimentary Geology.

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).

October 23: Making and Using Compost in Your Florida Garden - Dr. George Fitzpatrick, University of Florida

November 27: The Rehydration of the Deering Estate.  Craig Grossenbacher, Miami-Dade DERM , and Jennifer Possley, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

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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, September 30:  Swamp Tromp at Platt Island, Big Cypress National Preserve.

This is truly a remote spot, one of Florida’s treasures.  Several habitats will be visited:  hammock, cypress swamp, pine flatwoods, marshes, and more.  Parts of this area burned in the spring of 2007, so expect to see wonderful wildflowers including blazing stars, pine lilies, and many, many more.  Bears also frequent this area.


  1. There are no restroom facilities.
  2. If you have questions about the suitability of this trip for yourself, please call Steve in advance (number above).  It’s a little more arduous than our usual strolls.  There are always ways to opt out along the way if needed, but plan to get a little exercise and enjoy the scenery

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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The Nature Conservancy’s 9th Annual Native Plant Fair in the Keys was held on August 4 on Big Pine Key.  Thanks to Tina Henize for making all the arrangements for FNPS to participate with a table, and to Hallett Douville for staffing the table and ably representing the Keys Group of DCFNPS.  Over 1500 native plants were given away by TNC to 700 residents, and a record number of organizations participated in helping acquaint local residents with the beauty and ecological importance of native flora in the Keys.

The Keys Group planning meeting for the upcoming season (Nov.-April) is tentatively scheduled for September 9 (details not available at press time).  It is important that Keys members attend and contribute their ideas and support.  Please contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com) if you do not receive an email notification about the meeting.

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Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Ramble, November 17-18.  The Dade Chapter will participate as usual with an educational display and plant sale.  If you have an interest in participating as a plant vendor for FNPS or suggestions for the display, please contact Amy Leonard  (305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com) during September.  Volunteer signup will be during October - save the date or call Amy now!

Merchandise news: Thanks to new board member Susan Walcutt for becoming a Merchandise co-chairs (along with Mary Ann Bolla) for the chapter’s ever-growing stock of books and other items!  The board is considering options for a new t-shirt design and various items with an updated chapter logo -- stay tuned during the fall.  Special thanks to outgoing merchandise chair Steve Woodmansee who has lugged around and stored all our inventory, kept an eye open for exciting new stuff, and reviewed books for their suitability for the past few years.

Help update the DCFNPS  handouts.  The chapter board is reviewing and revising the handouts we distribute at public events.  If you might like to join the committee (help with content or design) or have suggestions, please contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).  The initial handouts to be produced will concern (1) general resources for native plants and information, and (2) the use of natives in landscaping or creating different small-scale native habitats.  Do you have examples of brochures that impress you, know of good resources for information, or can tell us what you wish you had known when you started your landscape?  Let us know!

Tillandsia co-editor needed to help with layout and/or other steps in producing the chapter newsletter.  Please contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

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July 2006 - June 2007

Dear DCFNPS Members,

Fiscal year 2007 has drawn to a close and I am passing the treasurer baton to Mark Bolla after this last financial report.  Thank you Mark!  I would like to thank the DCFNPS board of directors and Tillandsia editor for their support during my three years as chapter treasurer.  And thank you to YOU, members.  Your passion for native plants is what keeps us going.  We appreciate you!

(Note: The value of merchandise we hold in stock is not included in the report below.)

Jennifer Possley, Past Treasurer

Bank Account


June 30, 2007 Ending Balance



Jul-Jun Income


Membership (NET)


General Raffles, Auctions


General Donations


Ramble Plant Sale (NET)


Merchandise Sold (NET)


Native Plant Day (NET)


Spring Plant Sale (NET)


Newsletter Ads


Keys (NET)





Jul-Jun Expenses


Newsletter (printing, mailing)


Meetings (Fairchild, speakers, refreshments)











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Sign up now to receive Sabal Minor electronically.  To receive email notification that the bi-monthly Sabal Minor is available on the FNPS web site and be taken off the hardcopy snail mail list, please send email to info@fnps.org and provide the following: your membership number (if you know it), your first and last names, your email address.

Read all about these at www.fnps.org:FNPS Amazon  Jungle  Safari,  Oct 19-28, 2007.  $2795 per person double occupancy, starting and ending in Miami. Contact the FNPS escorts, Jo Anne and Fred Trebatoski, at plantnative@earthlink.net or call 800-466-9660.

Shop online and raise funds for FNPS.  Buy books, movies, music, electronics, housewares, etc., at Giveline.com. A portion of your purchase will be donated to FNPS.   Click on the special link on http://www.fnps.org/ that notifies the Giveline company to record your purchase for FNPS.

FNPS members retreat, October 5-7, 2007 at Pine Lake Retreat near Clermont, FL.  Mingle with FNPS members, learn something new and enjoy the beautiful ecosystems of Central Florida.  Anyone interested in participating in their chapter in a leadership role, those interested in advocacy, people who like the outdoors or gardening … all should attend!

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Paid Advertising
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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 (even if not from the subject matter). Sept. 18 topic: blazing stars and goldenrods (Liatris spp. and Solidago spp.).     See www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp

Lighthouse Day needs native plant lovers.  On September 15, Cape Florida Bill Baggs State Park will host Lighthouse Day, where scores of Girl Scouts and adults will be hiking from 3 pm to sunset.  A couple people with a modest knowledge of natives are needed to answer questions from kids and adults (and perhaps even talk up FNPS!).  If you might be interested, please contact: Ken Llewellyn (24/7 answering machine, leave message) 305-545-5070 or Cynthia Stewart ( 305-326-6023 x 2 at work 5 pm to midnight, or cstewart@med.miami.edu). Ken and Cynthia are Lighthouse Day committee and DCFNPS members.

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

Miami-Dade College Environmental Center. Organic gardening, worm composting for kids, teacher workday camps “Wildlife Gardens” taught by Steve Woodmansee, Project Learning Tree Workshop for environmental educators (9/8).  www.mdc.edu/kendall/ce - Environmental Center, 305-237-2605.

Friends of Gifford Arboretum meeting, October 3, 7-9 p.m., University of Miami, Cox Science Center, room 166. “Gardening for Pollinators” Suzanne Koptur, Florida International University. Featured Plant family of the month: Fabaceae. Free and open to the public. For info: www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum, Eric Manzane, 305-284-5364 or (bioerman@bio.miami.edu).

Miami-Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring (305-666-5727, miamiblue@bellsouth.net) for upcoming Sept. and Oct. walks, including great “butterflying” at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve and Crandon Park.

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Simpson Park and Alice Wainwright Park   

by Martin Roessler

On July 21, 2007, the Dade County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and the Native Plant Workshop were guided through Simpson Park and Alice Wainwright Park by City of Miami Parks Naturalist, Juan Fernandez. Both of these parks were part of the original “Brickell Hammock,” a tropical hardwood hammock which extended southward from the Miami River to Coconut Grove. A park was established in 1915 as a tropical garden in a part of the original William Brickell section. Fortunately Charles Torrey Simpson, for whom the present park is named, was able to persuade the public to preserve and restore part of the hammock in its natural state. Wainwright Park was obtained much more recently and named in honor of the  commissioner who supported acquisition of the park by the city. The following lists of flowering plants observed in Simpson and Wainwright Parks indicate the mature nature of the forest canopy and lack of flowering shrubs and groundcovers except in the open cleared and storm related areas.

For a detailed plant list please see the printed newsletter.

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If you have visited Simpson Park -- recently or not -- you know how important this small remnant of Brickell hammock is.  Please write a letter of appreciation to the Miami parks director to let him know how much you value the park and support for its continuing restoration after being damaged by the hurricanes of 2005 -- and how much you enjoyed the field trip.

Send your letter to:
Ernest W. Burkeen, Jr.
Director, Department of Parks and Recreation, City of Miami.
444 S.W. 2nd Ave., 8th Floor,  Miami, FL 33130
E-mail: eburkeen@ci.miami.fl.us

(And please copy Juan Fernandez, the park naturalist and our field trip leader:  JGFernandez@ci.miami.fl.us or Simpson Park, 55 SW 17 Rd., Miami 33129)

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             By John Pancoast
             Illustration by Wes Jurgens

[The following is reprinted from the January, 1985, Tillandsia.  The name has since been changed from Satureja rigida.  Remember that you may not collect plant material from parks or other places without the landowner’s permission.  See  www.regionalconservation.org - Natives for Your Neighbor-hood for photos and more details. 

Other species are also called “pennyroyal” in other places and may have severe effects when used as a medicinal tea, but this plant has been used as a mild tea and as a soup flavoring by the Miccosukees (Wild Plants for Survival in South Florida - Julia Morton, 1977). Research before consuming wild plants!   - Ed.]

A delightful plant found is Florida’s pinelands is Piloblephis rigida, the pennyroyal.  Even if you do not at first see the small purplish flowers on this low-growing plant, you may become aware of its presence when you walk on it and release the pleasant scent contained in the leaves and stems.

A member of the mint family, pennyroyal grows in low clumps, about a foot tall and one to two feet in diameter.  The stems are covered by numerous leaves that are narrowly lanceolate and less than one half inch long.  The plant flowers throughout the year.

You can grow this plant in your home garden.  It makes an excellent ground cover for areas with sandy soil and a moderate amount of sun.  Some growers may be beginning to propagate it, but it is still hard to find in nurseries.  If, however, you’re lucky enough to know where it’s growing in the wild, why not take a few cuttings home when you take your next walk in the woods.  If you grow it around your house, it will be an attractive reminder of those pleasant pineland walks.

To propagate: take cuttings 3-6 inches in length; place in a mist bed with a mixture of peat moss and perlite until well established.  If you do not have a mist bed, then a shady, protected corner where you can maintain high moisture may do.  Do not dig mature plants from the wild, as they may not survive.

Drawing of pennyroyal
Pennyroyal, Piloblephis rigida

(click image for larger image)

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by Rob Campbell

[The following was first published in the May 1986 Tillandsia.]

Plants can be propagated in many ways.  In general the best method is seed germination.  However in some cases this is impossible.  Seed may be unavailable, or the seed may not be viable.  Also, you may want to produce an exact copy of a certain plant (seedlings vary between individuals).  In these cases you should try root cuttings.  Most cuttings require very high humidity in order to root.  Commercial operations use mist houses for this purpose.  Most homeowners could make do with a portable “mist house.”


The rooting medium you use should be sterile when you start the cuttings, otherwise fungus will probably grow in the bag.  Fill the pot with rooting medium, pack it lightly, then water lightly.  Prepare about 5-10 cuttings.  Generally you should take the last 4-5” on the end of a twig.  Remove ½ to ⅔ of the bottom leaves.  Stick the cuttings in the center of the pot.  Compress the medium around the cuttings to hold them up.  Water the pot well. 

Next, cut the stick so that it will extend from the bottom of the pot to well above the top of the cuttings (this is to keep the bag from collapsing on the top of the cuttings).  Place the stick in the pot and firm the medium around the stick.  Hold the bag with the open end facing up and carefully slide the pot into the bag.  Tie the top of the bag.  Place the pot in a shade place that gets some light, but not direct sunlight.  The best thing about this method is that the pot should not have to be re-watered once you tie the bag.  The water continually condenses on the top of the bag and drips back down.

The cuttings should take 2 to 3 months to root.  When they are rooted, carefully remove them from the pot and place them in small individual pots filled with a standard growing medium.

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by Patty Phares

To eat or not to eat?  On our field trips, when admiring an attractive fruit on a plant in the woods, the question is frequently “Is it edible?”  Usually the answer is “edible but not eatable” (I think Roger Hammer’s standard answer).   Here are a couple native fall fruits you may be tempted to try -- or not. 

Pond apple, Anona glabra.  Kendal and Julia Morton deemed it “nearly worthless as a food fruit.”  While it is related to the tasty Custard apple (A. reticulata), “… pond apple is also known in disdain as Alligator Apple or Monkey Apple and is often called Corkwood, because of the lightweight, spongy wood of its roots, which is used as floats, bottle stoppers and so forth, … The yellow fruits, smooth-skinned and glossy and frequently in fine form, look appetizing but are highly deceptive.  Their yellowish to peach-colored pulp is relatively dry and scant, with a multitude of large seeds and an unpleasantly strong, resinous flavor.  Raccoons and other animals, however, appear to enjoy them…” 

You can easily see these small trees in fruit along Loop Road off US-41 in Big Cypress and in the Everglades this time of year.   There are a couple small trees with fruit in the chapter’s planting at the Visitor Center at Everglades National Park (south of the bridge to the building).   Be content to leave them to the alligators (and monkeys).

Sea grape (Cocoloba uvifera).  Also ripe this time of year is the trusty tourist favorite, sea grape (as in sea grape jelly that your aunt brought home to New Jersey), but it’s amazing how many people have never enjoyed it fresh.  Just pick a purple fruit and pop it into your mouth for a tiny squirt of intense flavor and spit out the seed.  There is hardly any pulp.  From Morton and Morton: “The trees are often planted, too, as ornamentals in seaside gardens, for their wide-spreading branches, densely clothed with stiff, rounded leaves, make excellent backgrounds and striking silhouettes, outlined against water and sky.  And the stiff leaves, smooth, leathery, six to eight inches or more across and remaining firm for a long time off the tree, served the early Spanish explorers as emergency stationery, messages being inscribed on them by forming the characters with pinpricks.”

The sea grape fruits can vary in taste, but I find them all nice as a juice which can be made into jelly or punch when sweetened.  Instructions for extracting the juice and making jelly abound, so just check local cookbooks and the Internet.  Even though fruits do not ripen as a bunch, you can collect a lot of ripe fruits at once by picking them up in the morning from the ground under a large tree (a female one). A quart or so is enough to start making some juice, which you cook out of the fruits rather than mashing them.

Fifty Tropical Fruits of Nassau.  Kendal and Julia Morton, 1946, Text House, Coral Gables, Florida.

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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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