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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MAY 2008

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.


May 2008

  • 15-18 (Thu.-Sun.):  FNPS Annual Conference, Bradenton.
  • 27 (Tue.): Meeting in Dade. “Man-o-War, Manatee & Mormon Key: Places Names in South Florida’s National Parks” - Larry Perez
  • 31 (Sat):  Dade field trip, County Line Scrub (north Dade)


  • 7 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
  • 24 (Tue.): Meeting in Dade.  "South Florida Horticulture" - Jeff Wasielewski.  Learn how to plant and maintain your landscape.
  • Field trip TBA.


  • Evening yard visit and social meeting (in place of meeting at Fairchild).  Date and location TBA.

Keys Branch activities will resume in November!

See our online Calendar for more details and dates.


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

“Place Names in South Florida’s National Parks” - Larry Perez, National Park Service.

Larry Perez, author of Words on the Wilderness: A History of Place Names in South Florida’s National Parks, will share some of the colorful stories in the history of the Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve.   In addition to the natural beauty of the parks, the parks also preserve a deep cultural history reflected in place names.  Larry’s book delves into the origin of names for places like Chatham Bend, Gannet Strand, Ochopee, Cape Sable and Dildo Key.  

Larry is a lifelong resident of Miami and a long-time interpreter and ranger in Miami-Dade Parks and the National Park Service (presently at Everglades National Park).  He is a graduate of Florida International University (and current graduate student), the writer and producer of Everglades by Car: A Narrated Audio Tour of Everglades National Park, and  author of the Journal of Florida’s Watchable Wildlife: Reptiles and Amphibians, and many articles.   Learn more at www.WordsOnTheWilderness.com.

Refreshments begin at 7:15; merchandise sales are before and after the program (cash/checks only).  Check out our brand new chapter t-shirts and denim shirts as well as a wide selection of books, ID cards, tote bags and other items.

The Dade Chapter FNPS Annual Meeting will also be held. This very short business meeting will include election of board members for 2008-2010 terms and a vote on a proposed amendment of the bylaws to require annual instead of quarterly Treasurer’s Reports to the membership.

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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, May 31: County Line Scrub.  This property (purchased under Dade’s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program) is one of the county’s few preserved scrub sites and has some unusual plants, including Dade County records.  Some species present that you don’t see every day are Myrtle oak, Chapman’s oak, Rolf’s oak, Piedmont black senna, Florida’ elephant’s foot. At the end of the morning, those so inclined will discuss a possible visit to the nearby Dolphin Center Scrub Park.  We last visited County Line Scrub in October 1996.

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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To receive email reminders, please send your request douville@bellsouth.net

Keys Branch activities will resume in November!

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Chapter board member nominations are being accepted for the slate to be approved at our May 27 meeting.  Members at large, President and Vice President will be on the proposed slate.  If you or someone you know might make a good board member, please contact Robert Harris, (954-651-4176 cell, xkensington6x@yahoo.com).  The main qualifications are enthusiasm and a desire to see the chapter thrive.

Chapter Workday at Everglades National Park:  June 7, 9 a.m.-noon. Help with our native plant habitat landscaping maintenance around the Coe Visitors Center.  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.  Enjoy the afternoon in the park - your car gets in free after the workday.  Contact Patty Phares with questions or to carpool (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

July Evening Yard Visit & Social meeting - in your yard?  Instead of meeting at Fairchild, we visit a member’s yard for a casual yard tour and potluck dinner.  The yard does not need to be all native or a fancy showcase!  The night is traditionally our usual meeting night, but this is not required!  If you might be interested, please contact Jan Kolb as soon as possible (305-378-6104 or jankolb123@yahoo.com).

Do you have ideas for future chapter programs, field trips, projects, newsletter articles/authors, handouts, web site … or anything to help the chapter educate and inform,  preserve and promote natives, enjoy nature and each other?  Please contact Jan Kolb (see above) or see contact box on the back of this newsletter, or send a note to the chapter box. 

The Dade Chapter is now an associate member of the Association of Florida Native Nurseries (AFNN).  From the web site http://www.afnn.org: “[AFNN] is a not-for-profit corporation whose membership includes nurseries, landscape architects and designers, environmental consulting services, nursery suppliers, and individuals in related professions. AFNN members seek to improve conditions in the native plant nursery industry; to promote, foster, and encourage more efficient and progressive methods of growing and marketing native plant nursery stock and plants; to enjoy the manifold benefits of joint and collective effort; and to share in scientific knowledge.”  The chapter will receive bulk copies of the Guide for Real Florida Gardeners, a useful resource when you are landscaping, with articles, photos, and listings of AFNN member’s plant sale events and nurseries.

Florida Native Plant Society Annual Conference: Estuaries to Uplands:  Celebrating Florida’s Native Plant Heritage. May 15-18, Manatee Convention Center - Palmetto (Near Bradenton). Field trips, programs, vendors, exhibits, workshops, social events. See http://www.fnps.org - What’s Happening.

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Paid Advertising - Your Ad Here!

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Movie Extravaganza:  Wind Across the Everglades

The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) and Tropical Audubon Society (TAS) join forces to bring you this 1958 classic movie, never released on DVD or video in the U.S., staring Burl Ives, Chris Plummer and Gypsy Rose Lee. Get a glimpse of Miami in its pioneer days and a conservation battlefield where the Audubon Society takes on the Cottonmouth Gang to protect wading birds from plume hunters. Elements of the Everglades become weapons… beware death by manchineel!

Dade Native Plant Workshop.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m., at the Deering Estate, just east of Old Cutler Road on SW 168 St. Bring at least 3 flowering/fruiting plants of any species (even if not the subject matter). May 20: Oaks; Campanulaceae (bellflower). See www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp  or contact Steve Woodmansee (305-595-5541,Stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net)

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring, 305-666-5727 or miamiblue@bellsouth.net).  May 24, 9 a.m. Field Trip: Castellow Hammock, Mary Krome Park, Camp Owaissa Bauer, and Roger Hammer’s yard. June 7, 14, 21: Butterfly counts in several Dade County locations.  Your eyes are needed! 

Miami-Dade College Environmental Center Kendall Campus.  Call 305-237-2600 or see www.mdc.edu/kendall/ce  - Environmental CenterFree Second Saturday open houses, 9a.m. - 2 p.m.  Bring a picnic and the family.  The birds have been great lately.  The migrants might be gone by then there will still be plenty of other birds, butterflies, fish and plants to enjoy.

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

June 7-8: NATIVE PLANT SALE at the Doc Thomas House.  A great selection of plants, with knowledgeable sales people to help you choose the best ones for your yard. (Bales of pine needles may be available.)

Adopt-a-Tree 2008.  The county’s premier tree canopy replacement program once again gives Miami-Dade homeowners 2 free trees per year.   There are at least four species available at each event - check to see if the trees offered are what you would like before you go.  Adopt-a-Tree events take place rain or shine! Tree species are subject to change.  Arrive early to ensure that the species you want is still available and bring a valid picture ID.  For more information and eligibility requirements, see http://www.miamidade.gov/derm/adoptatree.asp or call 305-372-6555 or 3-1-1.  May 10: 9am-noon. Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds, 11200 SW 24 St.: pigeon plum (native), vera wood, longan, avocado.  June 8: 9am-noon. Miami-Dade College-North, 11380 NW 27 Ave., Bld. 400: green buttonwood (native), red mulberry (native), orange geiger, mango.

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MEET A MEMBER: Marge Brown

 by Jan Kolb

Dr. Marjorie T. Brown retired as a pediatrician with the Dade County Health Department 12 years ago. But we know her as the brownie maker at chapter meetings, and lately as a talented botanical illustrator of native plants.  Marge is a long-time DCFNPS member, but became active just a few years ago.  She comments, “At first I thought the only way I could get involved was to make brownies.”  But this changed in a big way.

Marge and her husband have enjoyed going to art museums and shows.  Watercolors always caught her eye, but her first watercolor class was at Fairchild about 6 years ago, followed by botanical illustration.  She decided to focus on native plants and followed the lead of her classmates in making note cards with explanations of each plant on the back of the card.  Marge didn’t want to go into business, so decided to donate a portion of her proceeds to DCFNPS.  Her first sale was at our Native Plant Day in 2007.  She was not able to attend her debut due to a foot injury, but friends helped make it happen.  Since then she has donated $565 to the chapter.  She has also branched out and paints larger pictures of native plants suitable for framing. 

“Marge the artist” will be attending her third national artists conference and will take her artwork to the state FNPS Conference.  She belongs to a group nicknamed the “T-Bags” (Tropical Botanical Artists Group).  When asked about her talent she replies, “Who knew?”  Thanks to Marge for the inspiration she gives us all and her generosity to DCFNPS!

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Excerpts from remarks by Joyce Gann at The 37th Annual Native Plant Holiday Party Postponed, April 17, 2008, presented in memory of Mary Ann Bolla.

Mary Ann Hollingsworth Ogden Bolla knew who she was.  She was proud of being a Hollingsworth from Arcadia, a Florida pioneer family.  She had faith in herself, determination and persistence.  She was genuinely interested in people, proof that friendship was important to her.  Wherever she went, she was like a snowball rolling downhill as she collected friends.   She was always on the lookout for things she could do for friends.  (Don, my husband, will always treasure a shirt she made for him from an Everglades pattern cloth.)  At the same time, she was outspoken and told it like she saw it.

She had a prodigious memory and thirst for knowledge and contributed herself to causes she believed in, volunteering and serving on boards.  She was a long-time Dade Native Plant Workshop member and a storehouse of plant lore, especially locations of rare plants known from her years working at Everglades National Park, attending Native Plant Workshop field trips, and botanizing with her friend George Avery.

I first met MAO (we called her by her initials then) at the Native Plant Workshop in the early 1970s.  She was prepping Castellow Hammock Environmental Education Center for its opening.  We later became coworkers, and I found her to be a knowledgeable naturalist, friendly, helpful and hardworking.  When we presented a workshop on edible plants, she provided recipes and cooked all the plants we gathered.  When I was assigned a Native American workshop, she was the one able to land an interview with Miccosukee chief Buffalo Tiger.

MAO’s parties began years before we met, but when they outgrew her space, I volunteered my house while MAO continued to do all the cooking.  Over the years, the party expanded from her friends at ENP to include friends from a wide variety of nature and agricultural interests.

A few years later, MAO left to attend the University of Florida.  Her will and perseverance saw her through many grueling trips with young children between Gainesville, where she attended classes, and Homestead, where she carried out her research on grafting fruit crops to native root stock under Dr. Carl Campbell.  After becoming Dr. Ogden, she worked in NC for Abbott (one project was biological control for mosquitoes), then moved to Chicago.  She met her husband, Mark Bolla, who shared her love of cooking.  All the while she continued to come to South Florida to host her parties.

After Mary Ann retired, she and Mark moved to the Keys, where, not surprisingly, they bought a Cracker house and renovated it -- and began again to host parties at her own home.  She never forgot to toast her late friend George Avery with his bottles of “Christmas cheer”, as though he had brought them that night.

Many years ago Mary Ann, George Avery and I were always on the lookout for the “newest” old botanical books to add to our collections. When George died, he left all his books to Mary Ann.  Appropriately, when the Bollas moved to the Keys, she began, with Mark’s assistance, her new career of M&M Books, finding and selling old and rare books.  Whenever she found a book she thought a friend would like, she saved it for them.

I think of Mary Ann as a force.  We miss her.  Mary Ann’s family has established a fund in her memory to be used to assist students in their field research.  Donations may be sent to the Dade Chapter FNPS (contact Amy Leonard, 305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com). 

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by Bob Pemberton

I am tracking and studying two naturalized orchids in southern Florida, and request your help to detect these orchids, particularly in natural areas.

photo of Eulophia gramineaOne orchid is the newly naturalized Eulophia graminea, a native of Asia, which colleagues (Suzanne Koptur and Tim Collins both of Florida International University) and I first found in South Miami in September 2007.  Thus far we have found it in four residential areas and in a parking lot island at a supermarket in Miami-Dade County.  The area where we have detected this orchid stretches 35 km from north to south.  We have found it most commonly growing in mulch in residential areas. In the native region, the plants grow in many open habitats including beaches, grasslands, open forests and disturbed areas, all habitats that the orchid could probably occupy here.

The small flowers, usually about 2.5 cm (1 inch) across, are not showy but are attractive when viewed close up, with a white lip is marked with rose-pink, contrasting nicely with the somber green petals and sepals.  The inflorescences arise from spherical to conical pseudobulbs, usually about 5-8 cm in diameter, which typically sit completely or partly above the ground. The slender inflorescences range from 30 cm to 1.5 m tall and bear up to 60 flowers.  

Many plants are producing capsules which ripen and dehisce seed quickly. Because parts of the native range are colder than most of Florida, we expect that this orchid may spread to Georgia and perhaps beyond. The robust pseudobulbs probably help plants survive cold and dry conditions. We suspect that Eulophia graminea entered Florida as an import for cultivation because they are sold on eBay by nurseries in Thailand.

photo of Cyrtopodium polyphyllumThe other naturalized orchid, is the yellow cowhorn orchid (Cyrtopodium polyphyllum), which I am studying with Hong Liu (FIU and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden). The yellow cowhorn orchid (below) is a Brazilian species which resembles our native cowhorn orchid (Cyrtopodium punctatum). The yellow cowhorn, however, grows on the ground, whereas C. punctatum grows in trees. Instead of barred and spotted yellow flowers like C. punctatum, C. polyphyllum has unmarked yellow flowers. The pseudobulbs of the two orchids are similar in size and shape, but the yellow cowhorn’s pseudobulbs usually retain their leaves during the dry season.

The yellow cowhorn orchid is thought to be naturalized only in Miami-Dade, where first reported (mistakenly as Cyrtopodium andersonii) to have escaped cultivation during the early 1970s.  It grows mostly in Boystown pineland, a closed protected area, and in residential areas where it pops up in mulch.  We suspect, however, that it is spreading.

photo of E graphnia in mulchWe are studying the pollination of both cowhorn orchids. Interestingly, the alien cowhorn orchid is being pollinated by an oil-collecting bee (which we recently found to be also naturalized), while the native cowhorn orchid is being pollinated by a native oil-collecting bee. The suspected spread of the yellow cowhorn orchid may be due to greater seed production because of pollination by the alien oil-collecting bee. 

If you encounter plants of either Eulophia graminea or Cyrtopodium polyphyllum, please send me photos and some details of the location and occurrence.  Thanks!

Bob Pemberton, Ph.D., Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

2121 SW 28th Terrace, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312, USA.

(e-mail Robert.Pemberton@ars.usda.gov).

(Editor’s note: Click on photo for larger image.)

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by Rick Seavey

Of all living organisms, North American lichens have to rate very low on our knowledge scale concerning their life history, taxonomy and even simply what they are.  On this continent they have been poorly studied, which is surprising for an organism that covers about 8% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface. By contrast, European lichens are well known, well studied and have long been used as a gauge of air and habitat quality.  In South Florida, an area that could certainly benefit from such a gauge, the lichen flora is largely unknown.  For the last 3-4 years my wife Jean and I have been trying to correct this gap in our understanding of the natural world.  It should be a surprise to no one that, considering our very different flora and weather as compared to the rest of the United States, our lichen flora would be different as well.  Accordingly, after several thousand collections, we have identified many species new to North America (mostly West Indian species) and a dozen or more new to science.

What exactly are lichens?  In short, lichens are considered by most to be a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and an alga.  Fungi are not capable of producing their own sustenance.  They must draw nutrients from dead and/or rotting organic matter or parasitize living things.  Therefore, most fungi spend their entire lives within organic soil, within tree bark or attached to a host.  Chained to these habitats, their mobility is severely limited.  Algae, on the other hand, are capable of producing their own nourishment in the form of starches and sugars through photosynthesis.  But their niche within the natural world is also very limited.  Too much or too little sunlight will rapidly lead to their demise as will desiccation or predation by a number of organisms.

But in a lichen symbiosis nearly all of these problems are overcome.  When a fungus and an alga join forces their physical state is altered and each is unrecognizable from their former self. In this relationship the alga is considered the passive partner doing what it has always done, i.e. producing food through photosynthesis but now enough for two.  The fungus does everything else.  It constructs a suitable shelter, sometimes incredibly elaborate and brightly colored, to house itself and its partner.  It regulates the amount of sunlight and water reaching the alga.  As an aide in accomplishing this, it may metabolize substances that block the sun’s deadly ultraviolet light, or substances that repel water or substances that taste foul or are even poisonous as a protection against marauding snails.  Some lichens produce antibiotic compounds to protect them from bacterial invasion.  And some can even produce chemicals that inhibit plant growth preventing them from being overgrown, which would be fatal to its algal partner and thus to themselves. Lichenologists have isolated and identified over 1000 substances produced by lichens as a whole.   Many are used by humans as medicines, dyes, foods, poisons and perfumes.

In its lichenized form, the fungus and alga are now tremendously more mobile.  They may live on rocks, soil, wood, bark, leaves, bare metal, glass, roof shingles, tombstones and even underwater.  They can be found on every continent and at nearly all altitudes if the surface is ice free at least part of the year.  Some are finicky accepting only one rock type or one tree species or a particular soil.

More than in most places of North America, the lichen life cycle of South Florida is tied very closely to its flora, trees in particular. This makes sense as we have only one rock type which eliminates all the silicaceous loving species, and our “soil”, unless imported (not good for lichens), is in short supply.  Of all the species Jean and I have documented from this region, over 90% occur on tree bark, leaves or lignum.  We have tentatively divided these lichens into three clades:  cosmopolitan species, inhabitants of minimally altered communities and those that don’t seem to care where they occur.  A little over half on our current lichen list fall into the second clade, and some of these are found only on one tree species.  To complicate matters further, it seems that that tree has to be among its communal associates.  A lone backyard tree of the preferred type does not seem to attract these arboreal specific lichens.

What is the message here?  Well, it’s kind of complicated.  The thinking is that environmental health can be judged by what organisms occur within it. And as lichens do not move and are readily detected, they are often used for this purpose.  This is a common practice in Europe and is beginning to be used in the northern part of this country.  But in both those areas the lichen flora is fairly well known and the clade distinctions pretty well identified.  Here in South Florida the opposite is true and this is what Jean and I are trying to correct.  With the billions of dollars supposed to be spent on Everglades Restoration and so many managed “natural” areas within our highly developed part of the state, it would be nice to know if we were doing things right or not.  Can lichens provide any insight into this question? Well, many countries throughout the world think they can and are using them exactly for that purpose.

But first we need a solid lichen inventory of our area complete with clade distinctions.  This requires a process called “thin layer chromatography.”  We have applied for grants to purchase such a system but have been unsuccessful to date.  Ironically, all of the support we have received for this project has come from far off.  Both Harvard University and the New York Botanical Gardens have offered the use of their thin layer chromatography systems for free and the Farlow Herbarium at Harvard has even offered a fellowship to pay our expenses to do so.  While we very much appreciate this support and use it, the progress of the project is slowed greatly.

Eventually our goal is to put a lichen flora, complete with keys and pictures, on the web for all to use.  For a preview, you can view some 80 odd lichen pictures Jean has put on seaveyfieldguides.com.  Click the lichen tab and then any species on the left to view the exterior and interior parts.  Perhaps one day, armed with flora, keys and pictures, you will be able to go into your own backyard, create your own lichen checklist and decipher the message lichens are communicating to us.

[Rick spoke about lichens at the April 2008 DCFNPS meeting.]

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             by Martin Roessler

On March 30. 2008 members of the DCFNPS and Native Plant Workshop visited short hydroperiod marshes, cypress heads, pine flatwoods and mesic mixed hardwood communities along the Florida Hiking Trail north of the Oasis Ranger Station in the Big Cypress National Preserve. For a detailed report of the field trip, please see the printed newsletter.

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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)

Dade Chapter Board members:

President: Amy Leonard  Vice-President: Robert Harris
Secretary: Jonathan Taylor  Treasurer: Mark Bolla
At Large: Patty Harris,  Jan Kolb,  Ted Shaffer,  Susan Walcutt
FNPS board:   Lynka Woodbury Past-President:  Steve Woodmansee

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

2008 FNPS membership rates: Donor $250, Business $125, Supporting $100, Contributing $75 ($25 to endowment), Non-Profit $50, Family $50, Individual $35, Student $15, Library $15, New Member $25, Gift $25, Lifetime $1000.

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.

© 1999-2008 Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society, Inc.

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