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!

| past newsletters |

October 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! 

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



  • 11 (Sat.): Dade field trip (Atlantic Ridge St. Park).
  • 18 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades Nat. Park
  • 28 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Dr. Joyce Maschinski, FTBG)


  • 7 (Fri.): Setup for FTBG Ramble
  • 8-9 (Sat.-Sun): The Ramble - DCFNPS display & plant sale
  • 23 (Sun): Dade field trip (Burn’s Lake, Big Cypress)
  • 25 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Adrian Hunsberger, Miami-Dade Extension)


  • 6 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades Nat. Park
  • 7 (Sun.): Multi-organization Holiday Picnic (A.D. Barnes Park in South Dade)
  • 13 (Sat): Dade field trip (Everglades National Park)

In 2009

  • March 14 (Sat.): Native Plant Day, A.D. Barnes Park in South Dade.
  • May 21-24 (Thur.-Sun.): FNPS Annual Conference, Palm Beach County

See our online Calendar for more details and dates.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public.

"Connect to Protect: Fairchild's Pine Rockland Corridor Program" - Dr. Joyce Maschinski, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Because even small changes in sea level rise are going to make large impacts on South Florida native plant communities in the next century, Fairchild has begun several initiatives to conserve rare plants of South Florida, including The Connect to Protect Network and experimental introductions of rare species.  Public and private cooperators in the corridor project will connect remaining pine rockland fragments and education campaigns are promoting natives plants as economically and environmentally sound choices for landscaping.   Dr. Joyce Maschinski will discuss the concepts, challenges and strategies for achieving the goals of the projects.  (See more details in the "Connect to Protect" article elsewhere in this issue.)  If time allows, she will also discuss recent findings regarding the varieties of native wildflower Lantana depressa and their hybrids with the invasive Lantana camara

Dr. Maschinski has been the Conservation Ecologist/ Team Leader at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden since 2002, leading a staff of botanists (Jennifer Possley, Sam Wright, Joie Goodman, Don Walters, Devon Powell) doing conservation research on South Florida native plants.  She received her doctorate from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.  Her current research centers on understanding factors that limit reproduction, growth and expansion of rare plant populations. She is a member of FNPS.

Nov. 25: Update on insect pests in South Florida gardens - Adrian Hunsberger, UF/IFAS Miami-Dade Extension.

| To top of Page |


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. Time and direction 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 11, 9:30 am - 1:30 pm.  Atlantic Ridge State Park, Martin County.  This park is so new that access is currently by appointment only.  It has over 7,000 acres of 11 different plant communities along the beautiful Halpatiokee River (south fork of the St. Lucie River) and is just north of Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  Much of it was a private hunting camp.  We will visit some of the pristine flatwoods, river, and marsh sites and expect to see wildflowers including Catesby’s lily, deertongue, blazing stars, asters, milkworts, and many more.  This is a special opportunity to be one of the few people who have visited this park.  For more information see: www.dep.state.fl.us/lands/FFAnnual/B_AtlanticRidgeEco.pdf.

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.

| To top of Page |


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

Keys Branch activities will resume in November!

| To top of Page |


See it from inside – volunteer! Please call Jan Kolb (305-378-6104, jankolb123@yahoo.com)

Plants donated for the sale need to be well-established in their pots.   Herbaceous plants (e.g. passion vines, wildflowers, etc) in pots up to 1-gallon are always popular. Shrubs and trees in pots up to 3-gallon are excellent, too.

While some landscaping knowledge is useful, a great deal can be picked up on the job. Anyone with a desire to learn would find volunteering to be very educational.

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

| To top of Page |


Chapter Workday at Everglades National Park: October 18 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 as well as snacks to share.  New helpers, family and children are encouraged to come.  Enjoy the afternoon in the park - your car gets in free after the workday. For more info, contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

The Dade Chapter has a new mailing address:

Dade Chapter FL Native Plant Society
6619 South Dixie Highway, #181
Miami FL 33143-7919

Chapter merchandize at reduced prices!  In keeping with our Chapter's Mission to "Conserve, Preserve and Restore," the Board has approved a reduction in prices of all our educational material (books and field ID guides) as well as other merchandise.  We hope that our members, both old and new, take advantage of these lower prices and purchase our books and guides (as well as gloves, T-Shirts – old and new, loupes and lanyards) to "grow" their knowledge of South Florida's native plants and expand their own libraries.  Remember – the holidays are just around the corner and a gift of a book lasts a lifetime!

Can you be an assistant/ co/ alternate Web Master for the chapter web site?  Give Greg Ballinger -- who does a great job ten issues a year plus a Native Plant Day spread (thank you, Greg!) -- a hand or a break.  Please contact him via the web site.

| To top of Page |

Paid Advertising - Your Ad Here!


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). October 21: Asteraceae (sunflower family). See www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp or contact Steve Woodmansee (305-595-5541, Stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net)

Broward Native Plant Society.  Meets at  the Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie (between Central Campus of BCC and Nova Univ. at the Extension Service Building, west side of College Avenue, 1/2 mile south of Nova Drive.  954-370-3725. See www.npsbroward.org. Oct 8: Dr. Randy Ploetz of UF-IFAS - "Lauraceae and Laurel Wilt."  Nov. 12: Pat Howell - "Rare Plants of Broward Parks."  7 pm social time, 7:30 meeting, followed by a plant auction.

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.  

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring, 305-666-5727 or miamiblue@bellsouth.net for details.  Oct 19: Tour and program at the Kampong for NABA members. "Butterfly Mysteries: We See But Don't Understand" by entomologist Dick Smyth.  Join NABA and enjoy the fun!  Butterfly walks: See the web site for walks at ENP, Lignumvitae Key and Nixon Smiley Pineland Preserve.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum. Events (and parking) are free and open to the public. For more information, call 305-284-5364 or visit www.bio.miami.edu/arboretumOct. 30, 5pm - Tour: Sacred and Magical Trees.  Meet at the stone bench in the Arboretum. Nov. 5, 7 pm - Meeting: Tree canopy in Miami-Dade County: What we've got and why it matters by Dr. Francisco Escobedo, School of Forest Resources and Conserv., UF.  Featured family of the month: Meliaceae.  Cox Science Building, Room 166, University of Miami.

Plants Without Borders.  This project looks at "plants and gardens" as a way to encourage cross-cultural conversations among the different ethnic groups.  The project's goals are: (1) To showcase native plants and gardens, throughout Florida and the Caribbean. (2) To introduce you to some interesting people with stories and a love for native plants.  (3) To encourage cross-cultural conversations through native plants. 

The 5th Annual Friends of IRC Fundraising Party
October 25, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
at the Tropical Audubon Society's historic Doc Thomas House 5530 Sunset Drive, South Miami

The event is FREE.  Everyone is invited -- just show up!

Activities include a program on "Landscaping for Wildlife", nature walk, kid's activities, native plant sales, raffle/auction, food and music. 

Support Natives for Your Neighborhood, Floristic Database Online and other programs. Donations are tax-deductible.

October 11 & 18, 8:30 - noon – IRC joins forces with Tropical Audubon Society to restore pine rockland habitat at the Doc Thomas House to make it ready for the IRC party.  Please lend a hand at these worthwhile workdays!

For more information about the party or workdays, please contact Patty Castillo-Trenn at 305-247-6547 or castillo@regionalconservation.org.

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas workdays.  RSVP at 305-257-0933 x227 or eel@miamidade.gov.  Students can earn Community Service Hours and others earn the heartfelt thanks of Miami-Dade County.  These EEL sites are not regularly open to the public. 9am-noon.

| To top of Page |


More about our October program by Dr. Joyce Maschinski

Because even small changes in sea level rise are going to make large impacts on South Florida native plant communities in the next century, Fairchild has begun several initiatives to conserve rare plants of South Florida.  Focusing on the ecosystems and species at greatest risk, we have begun two focused conservation initiatives: The Connect to Protect Network, which includes concentrated seed collections of pine rockland species and collaborations with the educational program Fairchild Challenge, and experimental introductions of rare species into novel suitable sites.   We have begun efforts toward whole ecosystem ex situ representation – collecting common and rare species and storing seeds offsite at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, Ft. Collins, CO, USA.  In an effort to facilitate potential migration and gene exchange, we are enlisting public and private cooperators in the corridor project, The Connect to Protect Network, to connect remaining pine rockland fragments.  Ongoing discussions with Miami-Dade County officials indicate promising opportunities for implementation of the program.  We have begun education campaigns to convince constituents that natives plants are economically sound choices for landscaping that using them can reduce carbon footprints. Theoretically, the more area covered by native plants and the shorter distances between natural vegetation, the higher the probability of pine rockland species' persistence. Another challenge we face is finding "safe sites" to increase the numbers of individuals and total populations in the wild.  Suitable reintroduction sites may only exist outside of the species' historic range and may have considerably different hydrology than the species' historic habitat.  By treating initial reintroductions as experiments to learn about the capacity of species to grow under current available conditions, we are hedging bets against uncertainty and improving chances for species persistence into the next century.

| To top of Page |


This month's plant profile contributor is The Institute for Regional Conservation.  The IRC began its native plant nursery operation in 2005. The intent of the IRC Nursery is to establish native plants in cultivation that are frequently ignored by the main-stream landscaping industry, but have value when applied as a part of a greater conservation strategy. Thus, the primary focus of the IRC nursery is on native grasses and wildflowers, and various native shrubs and trees.

In conjunction with IRC's Natives for Your Neighborhood (NFYN) Website (see www.regionalconservation.org - click on NFYN), the IRC Nursery provides resources to the public to actively participate in conservation of our highly fragmented landscape through native plant landscaping and small-scale habitat restoration.

The IRC is a Miami-based not-for-profit committed to preserving South Florida's unique biodiversity and to restoring the link between people and nature. The IRC's programs are designed to protect South Florida's unique plants and animals, both in the "wild" and in the city.  Outreach programs include volunteer restoration workdays to maintain natural areas in the urban area.

The IRC is at 22601 S.W. 152 Ave., Miami, Florida 33170.  For more information on nursery hours, available stock and pricing, contact them at irc@regionalconservation.org or 305-247-6547. Caribbean princewoods in one gallon pots ($8) and other hard-to-find natives will be available at The IRC's annual Friends of IRC party on October 25.

| To top of Page |



By Steve Green, Biologist
The Institute for Regional Conservation

This month's featured plant is Caribbean princewood (Exostema caribaeum). Caribbean princewood is a large tree or small shrub in the madder family (Rubiaceae) that can grow to heights of 18 feet. Like other members of the madder family, Caribbean princewood has opposite leaves, leafy stipules, and flowers with five petals. But this is not your average madder; what really separates Caribbean princewood from the more mundane members of its family are the plants ostentatious flowers. photo of CARIBBEAN PRINCEWOODFlowers on Caribbean princewood can vary in color from white, to hues of pink and orange. Structurally, the five, slender petals are delicately reflexed from the long and narrow floral tube, revealing a cluster of five highly exerted stamens, seemingly keen on releasing their pollen. The flowers alsoemit a scent at night, similar to that of the related, but non-native Gardenia flower. Furthermore,the shiny, lanceolate leaves with undulating margins provide an agreeable backdrop to the spectacle thatis the Caribbean princewood flower.

These characteristics, along with its ability to withstand short periods of drought, make Caribbean princewood an excellent native alternative to non-native accent shrubs such as Gardenia species or small trees like Tabebuia species. In order to thrive, Caribbean princewood requires moist, well-drained calcareous soils with humus, and light shade.

Caribbean princewood is found in Central America, the West Indies, and South Florida. In South Florida, Caribbean princewood occurs in and along the margins of rockland hammocks from Elliot Key in Miami-Dade County all the way down to Key West, although, large amounts of this habitat have been destroyed. There is also an early record of this species in Brickell Hammock (just south of present day downtown Miami), which is now almost entirely destroyed. Due to past and continued habitat destruction, and the sparse distribution of populations, Caribbean princewood is listed as endangered by the State of Florida, and imperiled by IRC.

(Photo by Roger Hammer.  Click photo for larger versions. See this photo of the flower in the DCFNPS newsletter online and in the IRC's Floristic Database Online at www.regionalconservation.org.)

| To top of Page |


President: Robert Harris, 954-651-4176, xkensington6x@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 (gregb@netrox.net)

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) office : 321-271-6702, info@fnps.org

Tillandsia editor: Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com)
Co-editor: Vacant (applications being accepted!)  

Dade Chapter Board members:

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

mailing address:

Dade Chapter FL Native Plant Society
6619 South Dixie Highway, #181
Miami FL 33143-7919

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.

| To top of Page |

Past Online Newsletters