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.




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


  • 3 (Sat.): Yard visit (Dade)
  • 13 (Tue.): Monthly meeting in the Keys (Islamorada)
  • 17 (Sat.): Keys group field trip (Lower Matecumbe Key)
  • 17/18 (Sat./Sun.): Chapter display & sale at FTBG Ramble
  • 24 (Sat.): Dade field trip (Nixon Smiley pineland and Tamiami  addition (South Dade)
  • 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
  • 16 (Sun.):  Dade field trip (Deering Estate rehydration area)
  • 18 (Tue.): Monthly meeting in the Keys (Marathon)



Tuesday, October 23, 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!

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

Dr. Fitzpatrick will describe the factors that influence the decomposition of organic matter and will show examples of different types and styles of small scale backyard composting systems.  He will explain and show examples of ways that compost can be used to enhance the plant rooting environment.

You will recognize our speaker from his informative and entertaining presentations at Native Plant Day as well as a previous meeting program on pruning.  He is a Professor of Environmental Horticulture for UF and a member of the Florida State Horticultural Society, the American Society of Horticultural Science, the Society of Economic Botany, and the International Society of Arboriculture. 

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).

November 27: The Rehydration Project at 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!

Saturday, October 20: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.  We will visit the park's beach dune, mangrove wetlands, maritime hammock and ponds. (Thanks to environmental advocates, including some of you, there are no soccer fields.)  Time & Location:  Details in printed newsletter. Difficulty: easy.  Bring /wear: money for toll and park entrance, sun protection, drinks.  Shorts are fine. We might lunch at the park restaurant.  Leader: Elizabeth Golden, Park Biologist.  Free lighthouse tours: Call the park at 305-361-5811 for more information (10 am and 1 pm).

Note: Please contact the editor for copy of the August field trip report for the IRC pineland and Silver Palm Hammock

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, please send your request douville@bellsouth.net.

This season's activities in the Keys begin in November.  Except for November, meetings will be on 3rd Tuesdays and will be at the following locations: Islamorada library in November, January, March; Marathon Garden Club in December, February, and April.  The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a plant ID workshop, then the meeting and program at 7:30, followed by refreshments and plant raffle. Field trips are the following weekend, usually on Saturday morning.  Here's a preview of November's activities (more details next month).

Meeting:  Nov. 13, 2007, Islamorada Library, MM 81.5
Algae: The Water, the Reefs, the Urchins -- Martin Moe.    Underwater native plants, mostly algae and submerged grass beds, are the foundation of our marine ecosystems.  However, blooms of algae can be devastating to shallow water ecology and near shore reefs, and algae growth on the reefs is one of the major causes for the decline of our coral reefs. Martin will also discuss a project to return the keystone herbivore, the Diadema sea urchin, to our reefs. 

Field trip:  Saturday Nov 17, 2007, 10 a.m.
Sea Oats Beach, MM 74.5 on the ocean, Lower Matecumbe.Beachcomb at a critical beach along US1 in Islamorada. This is one of the few active turtle nesting beaches in Islamorada.  Storms have eroded most of the beach, but efforts are underway to find a solution to protect both the beach and US1 during storms.

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See it from the inside – volunteer!  Please call Jan Kolb (305-378-6104, jankolb123@yahoo.com) by October 21 to:

Passion vines, wildflowers and other herbaceous plants in 4" to 1 gallon pots are especially desirable for the sale.  Also shrubs and trees up to 3 gallon. Plants need to be well-established in their pots.  The nurseries participating with us are the backbone of the sale, but donated plants are special treats.

Volunteers at the sale need some knowledge of using natives in landscaping, but members with any level of knowledge are encouraged to volunteer for the display – you will have on the job training.  New members -- volunteering for the display is a great way to learn about natives and meet chapter members.

If you have ideas or interesting plants, butterfly larvae with host plants, and other items to loan for the display, please contact Amy Leonard  (305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com).

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When:   Saturday, November 3, 2007, 10 a.m. to noon
Location: Near SW 117 Avenue and SW 56 Street.
Directions: Detailed address and directions in the printed newsletter.

You can't miss this oasis of native plants in a desert of pavement and grass.  A huge oak, mahogany and lovely strongbark greet you at the curb.  When the property owners acquired the land in 1968 they started out with two trees in the yard, including a Brazilian pepper.  The owner's guide to early yard plantings was Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  Then he discovered Enchanted Ground by Georgia Tasker, and the native plant world entered his life.  There are remnants from the early days, but mostly there is a great variety of natives (80+ species).  The owner is particularly interested in West Indian hardwoods and plants for birds, butterflies and other unexpected wildlife.

This visit is part of an ongoing opportunity for those who wish to know the natives in a hands-on manner and to see them in various settings, formal and informal, and to learn about the property owner’s successes and failures at growing them. These visits are offered approximately every three months. For more information please call Gwlady Scott at 305-238-8901.

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Chapter workday at Everglades National Park:  October 27, 9 a.m. to noon.  Some weeding and pruning, maybe some transplanting, definitely some enjoyable company and nice fall weather.  Drinks, gloves and hand tools are provided, but you may want to bring your own and also snacks to share and a water bottle. Bring sun protection. Your car gets into the park free after the workday.  New helpers, kids and friends are welcome! If you are not on the email distribution for workday reminders but might be interested in helping, or for carpooling, please contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

Help update the DCFNPS handouts - share useful information:  suggestions (general ideas or specifics), examples of good handouts, sources of information that would be helpful to others.  Tell us what you wish you had known when you started learning about natives or planting your landscape.  Or join the handouts committee!  Please contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com). 

Climate Change news list from FNPS.  The FNPS Executive Director receives many documents related to the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change.   If you would like to receive news and copies of scientific papers that are generated, please email Karina Veaudry  executivedirector@fnps.org to be added to the list.

Another global warming resource:  Dr. Hal Wanless, our very informative speaker in September, suggested the web site of the National Environmental Trust to learn more about this critical issue (www.net.org).  Get involved!  Push your elected officials to work for cuts to emissions that cause global warming.

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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 the subject matter). Oct.16 topic: bromeliads.  See www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp

Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival, Oct. 12-14. 305-852-4486 or www.keysbirdingfest.org. Friday: Opening reception, music by Grant Livingston, talk by butterfly expert Dr. Marc Minno.  Saturday: Field trips, Environmental Fair.  Sunday: Family Day fun and educational activities.

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 p.m.

Miami-Dade College Environmental Center. Free Second Saturday open houses: Bring a picnic and the kids, feed the fish, enjoy plant and bird tours.  Check the web site for courses and activities for kids and adultshttp://www.mdc.edu/kendall/ce/env_center/, 305-237-2605.

Friends of Gifford Arboretum meeting, November 7, 7-9 p.m., University of Miami, Cox Science Center, room 166. "Saving endangered species in living collections: exploration and conservation of cycads at the Montgomery Botanical Center" Michael Calonje, Montgomery Botanical Center. Featured Plant family: Cycadales. 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).  Oct. 27: Butterflying trip to Everglades Nat Park.  Nov 4: Quarterly meeting, Castellow Hammock Park. "Identifying the Yellow Butterflies, Large and Small" - Dennis Olle, President of Miami Blue.

Volunteer workdays, Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management and the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) program. Help protect and restore native habitats, learn to identify invasive non-native plants, and gain a greater understanding of our ecosystems.  And now, enjoy new activities, including birding, nature hikes and planting.  Pre-register by calling 305-257-0933 x227.

Ongoing restoration of Virginia Key's coastal hammock, November 3.  City of Miami Parks naturalist Juan Fernandez needs leaders for the Hands on Miami volunteers who will be planting trees and removing exotics.  Orientation for leaders will be before the workday, with volunteers from 9:30- noon.  Please contact Juan for more details and to volunteer (305-856-6801, jgfernandez@ci.miami.fl.us).

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The Institute for Regional Conservation’s (IRC) 4th Annual Friends of IRC Fundraising Party. Saturday, October 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tropical Audubon Society’s Doc Thomas House (5530 Sunset Drive). This year’s emphasis is on pine rocklands.  Activities include educational opportunities for adults and children, plant sales, raffle, auction, lunch and music.  Dr. Suzanne Koptur will give a talk on "Gardening for Pollinators  - Restoring for the benefit of pine rockland plants and their partners", and there will be a tour of the restored pineland at TAS. Nonmembers are welcome with a donation. For details and to RSVP, please contact Patty Castillo-Trenn at castillo@regionalconservation.org or 305-247-6547.

The IRC is dedicated to the protection, restoration, and long-term management of biodiversity on a regional basis, and to the prevention of regional extinctions of rare plants, animals and ecosystems. Help restore a healthy South Florida by using their free online tools (www.regionalconservation.org) and joining their support group, Friends of IRC.  You can even participate in activities as diverse as searching for the endangered Rimrock Crown Snake and helping restore South Florida pine rocklands.

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             By John Pancoast
             Illustration by Wes Jurgens

[This article was first printed in the May 1985 Tillandsia.]

Some plants have the power to evoke pleasant memories when we see them.  A coconut palm, for example evokes memories of tropical beaches, trade winds and the scent of suntan lotion.  This month's plant, Crossopetalum ilicifolium, evokes memories of the house where I grew up.   The house was built in an area that had been pine flatwoods and little patches of the pines and palmettos had been kept as part of the landscaping.  Somehow a Crossopet-alum became established on a crevice in an oolite rock wall.  It grew there on the wall for many years until it seemed to be a part of the wall itself.    It never became a large plant, its branches never growing longer than a foot, but the memory of its holly-like leaves and bright red berries left an indelible impression.Drawing of Crossopetalum ilicifolium

Recently Wes Jurgens and I found this plant growing on a [Brickell area] lot where a house appears to have been torn down many years ago.  There is very little soil covering the underlying rock and the lot is covered with plants that are adapted to dry, rocky places.  The ground is covered with centipede grass and scattered colonies of lavender Polygala grandiflora, yellow Neptunia pubescens and Crotalaria pumila and vines of white Jacquemontia curtissii and Evolvulus sericeus.  All these plants are no more than six inches tall and in bloom, as they are in the spring, form a sort of a fairy garden.

Crossopetalum ilicifolium has the common names of Christmas berry or pineland quailberry and is a member of the bittersweet family.  It is a low-growing shrub with spreading pubescent stems.  The flowers are small, the petals are less than 1 mm, and greenish white.  Incidentally, both Small and Long and Lakela state that the flowers are red; this was not true for our samples.  The berry, however, is a bright red drupe about five mm long.

I think it would be very rewarding to cultivate.  It would be very difficult to transplant because it grows in rocky places.  I have collected some seeds from the plants recently discovered and I hope they will grow.

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More notes on quailberry (from the Editor):

Photo of quailberry at Everglades National ParkTwenty-seven years later, this plant is indeed cultivated and sometimes available at native plant nurseries, sales and DCFNPS meeting raffles.  However, it grows very slowly and is not widely available.  Plant grower Rob Campbell recommended to us in his April 2007 program that quailberry be  grown in a pot.  Others have suggested rock gardens, piles of rocks, a pot placed in a pile of rocks, rocks in pots … (rocks rock!)  At the chapter's landscaping project at the Everglades National Park Visitor Center, a quailberry was planted in a small hole in a boulder which holds a plaque (see photo). They seem to do well (maybe best) planted in a place with little soil.  The in-ground plants in my yard tend to form mats that are very dense and may remain too moist.  Nevertheless, they have flourished for years.  I have never seen any bird (forget a quail!) eat the fruits, but who cares -- they are a beautiful addition to your garden or patio. For photos and more details, see www.regionalconservation.org - Natives for Your Neighborhood. 

Photo by Leon Howell, National Park Service

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

General information and memberships: Patty Phares (305-255-6404)

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 Chapter representative: Lynka Woodbury (305-667 1651x3427,  lwoodbury@fairchildgarden.org)

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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