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! 

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



  • 7 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
  • 17 (Tue.): Keys meeting in Key Largo (Plant Identification)
  • 21 (Sat.): Field trip (Crocodile Lake - see Keys Activities)
  • 22 (Sun.): Field trip (Big Pine Key)
  • 24 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Miami's Native Ferns)


  • 14(Sat.): NATIVE PLANT DAY, A.D. Barnes Park in South Dade.  See announcement for more details.
  • 17 (Tue.): Keys meeting in Marathon (program TBA)
  • 21 (Sat.): Field trip (Fern Forest in Broward County)
  • 24 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Restoring Tree Canopy)

May 21-24: FNPS Annual Conference, Palm Beach Co.

See our online Calendar for more details and dates.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public.
Miami's Native Ferns" - Jennifer Possley, Field Biologist, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Jennifer Possley will review the native ferns of Miami, with a focus on identification, using cultivated samples of several species and many photos taken during her work as a field biologist in county parks.  She will also discuss the natural history of species she finds particularly interesting and describe her ongoing attempts to cultivate some of the rarest ones, despite claiming to have absolutely no natural horticultural ability.   Jennifer has spent over eight years as a field biologist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Center for Tropical Plant Conservation, where she has conducted research on the flora of Miami-Dade County and slowly evolved into a fern enthusiast.  She received a master's degree in Agronomy from the University of Florida and worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Big Cypress National Preserve, removing the invasive tree, Melaleuca.  She is originally from the village of Dexter, Michigan.

Refreshments begin at 7:15. Merchandise sales are before and after the program (cash/checks only).

Mar. 24:  "Efforts of Miami-Dade to Restore Tree Canopy" - Christina Casado, Miami-Dade County.

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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. 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!

Sunday, February 22: Big Pine Key.  We will explore the pine rocklands, then the Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit habitat and Watson Hammock, if we are still full of energy. 

Saturday, March 21:  Fern Forest Nature Center.  See some ferns you learn about in the February program.  Details TBA.

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 many sites by visiting The Institute for Regional Conservation website at www.regionalconservation.org and entering the Floristic Inventory of South Florida online database.

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Welcome back to FNPS for the 2009 season!  If you have questions, suggestions for a future program topic or field trip, or could help out, please contact Lisa Gordon, ledzepllg@bellsouth.net or 305/743-0978.  Your input would be greatly appreciated!   To receive email reminders for activities, please send your request to douville@bellsouth.net.

February 17 Meeting: "Interesting Characteristics of Native Plants and How to Identify Them."  Bring cuttings or potted specimens of your favorite native plants to talk about or to ID.  We will learn how to use the George Stevenson book for plant identification. Call Mary Baker at 305-451-3448 for more info.

February 21 Field Trip: Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge. We will see nests of the endangered woodrat and then drive up to the old missile site for some plant identification.

March 17: Meeting in Marathon.  Subject TBA

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Our annual public outreach event and celebration of native plants will be held on Saturday, March 14, 2009, at A.D. Barnes Park, 3401 SW 72 Avenue, Miami, FL (Bird Road and 72 Ave.) in the natural area at the back of the park.  The event is free and open to the public.  Please join us and encourage your friends and family to come.  A detailed schedule will be in the March Tillandsia and on the Chapter web site by the end of February. A variety of landscaping and nature-related topics will be covered by programs, walks and hands-on activities.  

To make Native Plant Day happen, WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Help spread the word!  Fliers and color postcards will be available at the February meeting.  Please distribute, post them in public places you visit (with permission), and put notices in other groups' bulletins.  Contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com) for more copies or an email version.

Volunteer to help at the event or for Friday set-up.  Can you help us at the chapter information table, book or plant sales, food tent, raffle or plant holding area?  There are also other ways to help for a few hours or all day.  Please contact Jan Kolb (305-378-6104, jankolb123@yahoo.com).

Raffle and Chapter Plant Sale donations.  Wildflowers, passion vines, or other herbaceous plants (4" to 1 gallon) and less common shrubs and trees (1-3 gallon) native to Dade, Monroe, or Broward are highly desired and appreciated!  Non-plant items (books, presses, art, entrance passes, services, etc.) are also popular in the raffle.  Please contact Robert Harris in advance (954-651-4176, xkensington6x@yahoo.com) so that we can prepare signage and arrange transportation if needed.

Loan butterfly larvae, potted larval host/nectar plants or other interesting display plants.  Please contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

Thank you to Jan Kolb and Ted Shaffer, who have been hard at work getting the preliminary portions of NPD ready!  Additional questions or ideas may be directed to those listed above.
                                                                                           -- Amy Leonard


Saturday, March 14, 2009

A.D. Barnes Park
3401 SW 72 Avenue (Bird Road & SW 72 Ave.), Miami

Programs, Activities, Nature walks, Plant sales, Book sales,
Displays, Raffles, Children's activities
Schedule of activities will be available in February


Save the date and tell your friends!
Co-sponsored by DCFNPS & Miami-Dade County Parks


Members - If you can help out in any capacity (large or small!) please contact Amy Leonard at 305-458-0969 (preferably, after 3pm) or aleonar74@yahoo.com.

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Help FNPS while searching and shopping.  FNPS has recently subscribed to www.Goodsearch.com.  This free resource enables you to download the free Good Search search engine (powered by Yahoo).  Using this for online searches will generate funds for FNPS.  In addition, FNPS will also benefit if you use GoodShop for purchases.  These are easy ways to support FNPS at no additional cost to you.  Please visit the website and select Florida Native Plant Society (Melbourne, FL) as the recipient of the donations.  If you have questions, contact Steve Woodmansee, FNPS VP for Finance, at stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net or 786-488-3101.

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Paid Advertising - Your Ad Here!

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Connect to Protect Network.  Do you live on an existing Pine Rockland fragment in Miami-Dade County?  If you are interested in participating in the newly launched Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden "Connect to Protect Network" (CTPN), see: http://www.fairchildgarden.org - Center for Tropical Plant Conservation - Connect to Protect.  CTPN is also seeking homeowners interested in becoming rare plant "foster gardeners."   For more information, please contact Joyce Maschinski (jmaschinski@fairchildgarden.org or 305-669-4069).

Gardenfest Key West, February 27 to March 1, 2009, at Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden.  South Florida's top nurseries will sell natives and other plants.  Landscaping workshops, tours, booths featuring garden supplies, arts and crafts. Gates open 9am.  Free! www.keywestbotanicalgarden.org.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum, Univ. of Miami. Free! For more info:  305-284-5364 orhttp://www.bio.miami.edu/arboretumFeb. 11: Tour. "Trees of Africa and the African Diaspora."  Meet at the stone bench in the Arboretum.  5pm March 4: Meeting. "Growing a green planet: The future of botany teaching."  Dr. John Cozza, UM Biology Dept. Featured family: Ebenaceae.  7pm.  Cox Science Building, Room 166.  

Dade Native Plant Workshop.  NEW LOCATION: MDC Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Bring at least 3 flowering/fruiting plants of any species (even if not the subject matter). Feb. 17: Boraginaceae (Heliotrope Family). Contact Steve,  305-595-5541, Stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net; www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp   Free!

Broward Native Plant Society.  Meets at the Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or www.npsbroward.org.  Feb 11: Master Gardener Art Constantine speaks about using Water Barrels. 7pm social time, 7:30 meeting.  The Native Plant Workshop, first Saturdays, 9am, Secret Woods. Contact Molly (954-989-1417, motaylor@broward.org.

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. 305-667-7337, http://www.tropicalaudubon.org for more details and activities.  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 more activities. Feb 21-22: Field trip to the Lower Keys.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park -- The Delicate Balance of Nature 18th Annual Lecture Series. Wednesdays, through March, 7:30-8:30pm at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, MM 102.5 Oceanside, Overseas Highway. Free. Gate opens at 7 p.m.  Limited seating.   (305)451-9570.

Coral Gables Museum - First Fridays Architecture and Design Lecture Series at the Old Spanish Village Sales Gallery, 2901 Ponce de Leon, 7 pm. Free but RSVP to 305-910-3996, info@coralgablesmuseum.org.  www.coralgablesmuseum.org. Mar. 6: "Building Close to Nature:  The Early Architecture of Dade County's Park System." UM professor Rocco Ceo.

White-crowned pigeon is featured.  DCFNPS member Jane F. Hill has written an article on Florida's White-crowned Pigeon, emphasizing the bird's importance as a seed disperser for tropical hardwood hammock forest in the Keys.  The article, "Florida's White-crowned Pigeon: Threatened in a Forest It May Sustain," appears in the January 2009 issue of the American Birding Association's Birding magazine (Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 48-55).   The article argues for the importance of preserving hardwood hammock patches, which the pigeon depends on for food, and also for protecting this ecologically important bird species.  

Ethnobotany: The Interactions Between People and Plants.
Saturdays Feb. 14 - March 14, 2-4pm, at the Deering Estate at Cutler (305-235-1668, ext. 233 or www.deeringestate.com). Classes include a lecture and hands-on activity and are taught by Gita Ramsay, M.S in Biology/Ethnobotany from FIU.

The Urban Paradise Guild and the Vertical Butterfly Garden Experiment (VBGE).  Butterfly habitat has been replaced in the urban environment with buildings and pavement.  The VBGE will provide butterfly-friendly native plants for a balcony, window-box, roof-top or patio to see if butterflies will visit higher locations.  Sam Van Leer, Executive Director of the Urban Paradise Guild, is asking for donations of native plants and trees of all sizes (to use in coastal, hammock and pineland habitat projects, and butterfly nectar and larval hosts to distribute in the VBGE).  Volunteers can even come to your yard and dig up small plants.  The VBGE launches on February 28, 2009, 9am-4pm, at the Miami Museum of Science. If you can come to help by giving plant advice that day, please contact Sam (sam@urban-paradise.org or 305-758-5119). For more details and to learn about other events and habitat creation activities, see http://urban-paradise.org.

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[Summary of information provided to the Tillandsia editor]

In recent years Wild cotton has been used as a native landscape plant in South Florida.  Wild cotton, or Upland cotton, (Gossypium hirsutum) is in the Malvaceae, or the Mallow family, which includes hibiscus and many other plants, some native to Florida.  According to the Institute for Regional Conservation, it is a leggy shrub inhabiting coastal hammocks and thickets in Florida from Monroe County Keys to Palm Beach and Pinellas counties.  It is also found in the West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America.  It has creamy white to pale yellow flowers and is a larval host plant for gray hairstreak butterflies.  And it has a fruit that is filled with cotton covering the seeds, just like commercial cotton -- and there's the rub!

Because Wild cotton is related to commercial cotton, the USDA feared in the early 1900s that it could be infested by the cotton boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis, a native to Central America) and attempted to wipe the plant out of South Florida.  However, eradication of Wild Cotton is no longer the goal, and it is listed as endangered by the state of Florida.  But control of the boll weevil is still a concern.

Tyson Emery of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, has explained the situation.  Two rules are involved (see http://www.flrules.org).

Emery says, "The noncommercial propagation, planting and growing of any species of Gossypium in Florida is prohibited unless under special permit by the Department of Agriculture.  This is due to the possibility of the cotton boll weevil becoming established and moving to production areas in North Florida.  For Wild cotton, it is illegal to harvest from another's land without written permission from the land owner and a permit issued by DPI." 

In addition, Juileta Brambila, Entomologist with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine in Gainesville, says:  "Deep in the Everglades, the Pink Bollworm Moth, Pectinophora gossypiella, a moth pest on commercial cotton fields, occurs ...  So, I would not promote using it as a garden plant since it does harbor the moth, can harbor the [boll] weevil, and now it could also harbor, host and spread a lygaeid, the Cottonseed bug, Oxycarenus hyalinipennis, not a good thing.  It is definitely a complex issue."

So the bottom line is: get rid of your Wild cotton plants in the landscape and seeds you have been given, and don't collect cotton from the wild.  Just enjoy seeing it on field trips!

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This month's plant profile contributor is Kelly's Tropicals, owned by Pat Kelly.  This new native plant nursery in South Dade specializes in hard-to-find, durable, and beautiful shrubs, trees and groundcovers.  It is a small wholesale nursery committed to making more species available to the landscape trade, but they are happy to accommodate retail customers as well (call in advance to make sure someone is there to help).  Pat was probably destined to become a native plant grower.  His father was in the nursery business in Central Florida, and Pat was drawn to the South Florida flora by his wife's family (including his late mother-in-law, Mary Ann Bolla) and friends involved in plant and nature-related pursuits.  Pat says he is quite passionate about natives and receives real joy from propagating and growing them.  The nursery is located south of Homestead near the "Robert is Here" fruit stand, at 19475 SW 344 St. (786-444-7714, kellystropicals.com).  They have 3-gallon little strongbark at the nursery that are about one and a half to two feet tall.    

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by Pat Kelly, Kelly's Tropicals

 We were up all night in the nursery in late January during the cold snap that threatened to damage some of our tender tropical natives.  Most at risk were plants that recently had been flushing with new growth like the white stopper (Eugenia axillaris) and pigeon plum (Coccoloba diversifolia) and also some that are more susceptible when young than after they get a woody trunk, such as locustberry (Byrsonima lucida) and crabwood (Gymnanthes lucida).  We escaped the night without any significant damage but saw some leaf die-back on the newer growth of Geiger trees (Cordia sebestena) and a little leaf burn on all three species of strongbarks (Bourreria spp.), all members of the Borage family (Boraginaceae).  Of the three strongbarks native to South Florida, the one that came through best that night was the little strongbark (Bourreria cassinifolia).

Little strongbark, (also called pineland strongbark or smooth strongbark, or strongback, if you prefer) is a gorgeous shrub with fine, delicate leaves.  It grows to about ten feet tall and has small fragrant white flowers and 1/4-inch round orange berries all year long, making it an excellent butterfly and bird attractor. 

Little strongbark is one of the rarest native shrubs in South Florida with perhaps less than two hundred individual plants scattered in about a dozen sites in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties and, along with the Bahama strongbark (Bourreria succulenta) and the rough strongbark (B. radula), is a state listed endangered species.  It is interesting, though, that the little strongbark propagates easily from seed while the much more common Bahama strongbark is more difficult for us to get to germinate well. To propagate little strongbark, gather the seeds, clean them well from the pulp and rinse in a colander, let dry and sow in lightweight potting mix, covered by just enough of the mix so as to make them unseen.  Keep moist until germination, about 6-8 weeks planted in the fall.  They produce seed year round, but there are a couple big flushes during the summer.

Little strongbark grows reasonably fast with regular water and occasional fertilizer and will look great as a specimen plant.  As a native to pine rocklands, it is drought tolerant, grows in partial to full sun, and needs very little care after it is established. 

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President: Robert Harris, 954-651-4176, xkensington6x@yahoo.com

General information:  786-340-7914

Refreshment coordinator, Dade meetings: Patty Harris, 305-262-3763 eve., 305-373-1000 day

Memberships: Patty Phares (305-255-6404)

DCFNPS Web page: http://dade.fnpschapters.org
Webmaster: Greg Ballinger (Greg_Ballinger@excite.com)

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
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.

© 1999-2009 Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society, Inc.

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