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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APRIL 2009

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.


April 2009

  • 5 (Sun.): Field trip (Frog Pond - use this issue for info!)
  • 11 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
  • 19 (Sun): EarthFest at Crandon Park - DCFNPS table
  • 21 (Tue.): Keys meeting - Key Largo (endangered species)
  • 25 (Sat.): FTBG Spring Sale - DCFNPS participates
  • 25 (Sat.): Keys Branch field trip (tentative)
  • 28(Tue.): Dade meeting (program TBA)

May 2009

  • 9 (Sat.): Field trip (Matheson Hammock)
  • 21-24 (Thur.-Sun.): FNPS Annual Conference, Palm Beach Co.  www.fnps.org or 321-271-6702.
  • 26 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Florida Bats)

See our online Calendar for more details and dates.


Tuesday, April  28, 2009, 7:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public. Refreshments begin at 7:15. Merchandise sales are before and after the program (cash/checks only).  Plant raffle follows the program.

Growing, Harvesting, Cleaning and Planting Native Florida Wildflower Seeds - Terry L. Zinn, Wildflowers of Florida, Inc.  

Terry will discuss the tips and techniques learned in 10 years of growing wildflowers for seed.  He will also talk about species that are available through the Florida Wildflower Cooperative (www.floridawildflowers.com) and the Florida Wildflower Foundation (floridawildflowerfoundation.org), whose mission is "to protect and replenish native wildflowers while increasing public knowledge of them as vital members of the state’s delicately balanced ecosystems."  Terry received an MS in Wildlife Ecology from UF but started growing wildflowers as a way to enhance his farm in Alachua County and was later encouraged to become a grower of seed.  "The rest is history!" he says.

Two more of our 2009 Science Fair Award recipients will make presentations on their projects.  (Read more in this issue!)

May 26: Florida Bats - How to Preserve and Protect Native Bat Populations - Cynthia & George Marks, Florida Bat Conservancy.

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If the weather is very bad, call to confirm.  Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and their guests. Collecting is not permitted. Children welcome. For carpooling in May, call Gwen (305-372-6569).Complete details are in the print newsletter - please join FNPS so you can enjoy all the activities! For carpooling in May, call Gwen (305-372-6569).

Saturday, May 9: Matheson Hammock Park.  The hammock on the west of Old Cutler Road is one of the best examples of coastal rockland hammocks in Florida. Over 100 acres of restored forest with unique geological formations such as solution holes covered with tropical ferns, and some of the largest hammock trees remaining in Dade County. If time permits, we can visit the mangrove community (carpool and pay the parking fee for the beach lots).  We last visited in March 2005, before the hurricanes of 2005 altered the canopy, so we'll see the changes and renewed challenges to restoration efforts.

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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These activities are organized by the Keys Branch members. All chapter members are welcome at all activities in Miami-Dade and the Keys. 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. This is the last meeting in the Keys for this season.

April 21: Meeting in Key Largo. State Parks biologist Janice Duquesnel will talk about endangered plant species and a few projects that she is working on.

April 25: Field trip to Long Key State Park We will walk the one mile nature trail as it winds its way through several different habitat types. We'll see a small Sargent’s cherry palm and the gulf graytwig and talk about the population of tree cactus that is found off of the nature trail. 

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29th Annual FNPS Conference and Plant Sale

Wake Up and Plant The Natives!
Planting Today to Preserve Florida's Tomorrow

May 21-24 2009
West Palm Beach Marriott (only 75 miles from Miami!)

Hosted by the Palm Beach & Martin County chapters
For Schedule, Field Trips & Registration: www.fnps.org

(Brochures are not being mailed this year -
 please read online or  contact 321-271-6702 or info@fnps.org)

NATIONALLY RENOWNED SPEAKERS on landscape design, the plight of the honey bee, nature photography, starting a native plant nursery, plant journaling, native American uses of plants, plant research, bringing nature into your backyard or business, plant identification, and MORE !

Keynote and Plenary Speakers: 

  • Hal Wanless, Univ. of Miami, presents startling research on sea level change in Florida.
  • Doug Tallamy, Wildlife and Ecology Department of University of Delaware, who wrote the recently released book, Bringing Nature Home with incredible statistics regarding native plants.
  • Dan Austin, former professor at FAU, will address the link between plants and people.

FIELD TRIPS to over 20 native ecosystem areas led by botanists and plant experts


WORKSHOPS – Grass ID, Photography, Plant Journaling, How to Start a Native Plant Nursery, Tree Biology



  • Thursday:  Meet and greet and FNPS Jeopardy! 
  • Friday: Author’s Book Signing, Amateur and Advanced Plant ID contests, music by “The Weeds”
  • Saturday: Dinner at Mounts Botanical Garden with Landscape Awards, music by Zach Schwartz Jazz Quartet.

If you would like to get in touch with other Dade Chapter members who want to share a ride or room, contact Lynka Woodbury, 305-667-1651 x 3427 (please leave a message).

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This home is on a small lot, in an old Miami neighborhood, that we visited three years ago. We are returning to see what has happened since then.  For those of you who haven’t seen the yard – it’s special.  It is an opportunity to see successes (no failures, of course).  At this point, the yard plantings are six years old. The Dade County pine trees in the swale have grown tall and healthy and are your best signpost for being at the right place. There is a great variety of almost exclusively native plant species – ground covers, bushes and trees.  They are plantings that work for a small space. A plant list will be available. This is a good yard to learn about the different native plant species, see how large plants can get in six years and get some good landscaping ideas.

This visit is part of an ongoing opportunity to get to know the natives in a hands-on manner and to see them in various settings, formal and informal, and to learn the property owner’s successes and failures at growing them. These visits are being offered approximately once every two or three months. If more information is needed, call Gwlady Scott at 305-238-8901.

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Notice of Annual Meeting of the Dade Chapter FNPS, Tuesday, May 26, 2009.  There will be a very short business meeting before the program at the chapter's monthly meeting. The main item of business is the election of new board members for 2009-2011 terms. 

New Board Members needed!  Is it time for you to serve the Dade chapter?   A new chapter board will be approved at our May meeting.   Positions are open for the Secretary and Board Members-at-Large.  If you are enthusiastic about FNPS, you are well qualified to be a board member and can be a great contributor to its success.  If you'd like to nominate yourself or someone else, please contact Robert Harris, (954-651-4176 cell, xkensington6x@yahoo.com).  You can talk to Robert or other board members about what is involved.  The main qualifications are enthusiasm and a desire to see the chapter thrive -- you don’t have to be a botanist.   Please call now!

Chapter Workday at Everglades National Park: April 11, 9a.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 snacks to share.  It's still a great time to enjoy the park!

EarthFest. April 19, 10am-8pm. at Crandon Park, Key Biscayne. Free admission, $5 parking or take the "B" Bus from Brickell Metrorail.  EarthFest aims to inspire discussion and learning. Workshops, interactive exhibits, demonstrations, music, artists, more.  See  http://crandonpark.wordpress.comDCFNPS will have a table. If you would like to help Susan Walcutt a while, contact her at 305-297-7757 or walcutts@bellsouth.net.

Spring Sale, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  Saturday, April 25, 9:00-4:30.  The chapter will participate, selling plants brought by nurseries and donated by members. Volunteers are needed who have experience with natives in landscaping and can help answers shoppers' questions.  Plant donations are welcome, especially wildflowers and less common species in 4" to 3-gallon.  Please contact Robert Harris as soon as possible (954-651-4176, xkensington6x@yahoo.com).

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Last month we heard from Christopher Sanchez, one of the three students winning George Avery Awards from DCFNPS this year at the South Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair. At April's meeting we will hear from the other two: Victor Moas and Rafael Moas.  Here is a tantalizing preview!

"Growth analysis of Jacquemontia reclinata using various substrates." Rafael David Moas, Grade 10, Christopher Columbus High School

The purpose is to discern which media is most efficacious for growth of the Jacquemontia reclinata. Two hundred and ten Jacquemontia reclinata clippings were taken, dipped in rooting hormone, and grown in quart-sized containers of perlite until they set root. 120 of the survivors were divided equally and potted in a soil and limestone mix; a soil and sand mix; sand; or a mixture of soil, limestone, and sand. They were grown and observed in partial shade for seven weeks. Observations consisted of: death rate; stem length; leaf, fruit, stem and flower count; and comments on health. Only the sand-grown plants showed an increase in leaf averages. The average stem length measurements showed an increase in every substrate except for soil & sand. This decline was marginal, and not statistically significant. The lowest survival percentage was 63% with the soil, limestone, and sand media. The soil and sand media had the fewest deaths, followed closely by sand, then soil and limestone.  It is concluded that the most efficacious media for growth is sand because it was the only substrate which produced more leaves, a significant indicator of plant health. The soil and sand media yielded the highest survival rates, closely followed by the sand-grown plants. The conclusion disproved the hypothesis, which stated that the soil and sand-grown plants would grow best. This experiment increased the population of Jacquemontia reclinata, a federally endangered species. It also suggests that a longer period of observation would be beneficial, and perhaps provide clearer results.

Rafael has lived in Miami for 16 years - his whole life.  He might be interested in engineering or medicine as a career.  He enjoys camping, hiking, fishing and spearfishing.  Raffi also participates in competitive sports at school (swimming and water polo) and recreational sports (tubing and wakeboarding).

"Are the seeds of Small’s milkpea (Galactia smallii) candidates for frozen storage?"  Victor M. Moas, Grade 12, Christopher Columbus High School.

The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether or not the seeds of Galactia smallii (Small’s Milkpea) are candidates for long-term frozen storage in seed banks.  The hypothesis was that if the seeds were dried then frozen, then they could later be thawed and germinated.  From September 18, 2008, to September 21, 2008, one hundred seeds from Galactia smallii were desiccated in an airtight container.  For the next week, the dried seeds were frozen at -13°C.  From September 25, 2008, to September 28, 2008, another hundred seeds were desiccated.  On September 28, 2008, each was freeze-dried and the dried seed was nicked with a straight-edged razor and set in a Petri dish filled with standard potting sand.  Another hundred fresh seeds were also nicked and sown.  These were the control.  Each dish held ten seeds, receiving equal water and light.  The number of germinations for each set was recorded daily for eleven days. All germination ended after the tenth day of observation.  The set of fresh seeds used as the control displayed a germination rate of 82%. The seed set which received only the desiccation treatment had a germination rate of 86%.  The set that was desiccated and frozen achieved a germination rate of 95%.  Because the seeds of Small’s Milkpea survived desiccation and freezing temperatures, this experiment proves that these seeds are orthodox germinators and candidates for long term storage; therefore, the hypothesis was correct.  With this information, botanists can preserve the seeds of this plant at sub-zero temperatures in a seed bank.

Victor is 17 and has lived in Miami for his whole life.  While uncertain of his post-high school careen, he is considering medicine.  He enjoys the outdoors and especially camping in the Everglades and the Peace River.  He also wrestles and leads the freshman retreats in the campus ministry at his high school.

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Paid Advertising - Your Ad Here!

Keith Schwarz
Native Plant cleanup - restoration


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Everglades National Park lichen project. Immediate help is greatly needed to fold ENP herbarium lichen storage packets and mount and label Fakahatchee specimens from a recent lichen workshop. Work would probably take place at the Beard Center in ENP but some flexibility in time and place are possible. For more information please contact Rick or Jean Seavey at natureguides@mindspring.com or 305-247-5569.

Institute for Regional Conservation: 3rd Annual Restoration Barbeque (and Workday).  April 18, 8:30am to 12:30. Help restore globally imperiled pine rockland habitat at the George N. Avery Pineland, then enjoy a picnic under the trees with the entire crew!  For details, please visit the IRC website at www.regionalconservation.org.  The pineland is on SW 125 Ave. north of 240 St. but is a little hard to find, so see the map online.  Call 305-505-9192 if you get lost.

Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus 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). Apr. 21: Euphorbiaceae, the Spurge 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.  Apr. 8: Speaker is Carol Morgenstern, Broward Parks. 7pm social time, 7:30 meeting.

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. 305-667-7337, 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 great field trips.

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas workdays.  RSVP at 305-257-0933 x227, eel@miamidade.gov. 9am-noon. Apr. 25: Kendall Indian Hammocks , 11325 SW 79 St.

Baynanza 2009 - Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day, April 18.  Join thousands of volunteers for the largest local shoreline cleanup of its kind. Or help TREEmendous Miami plant native plants.  Register at 305-372-6784 or www.miamidade.gov/derm.

Darwin’s 200th Birthday
and the

Twenty-first Gifford Arboretum Lecture

Thursday, April 16, 2009 -  7:00 pm
James M. Cox, Jr.  Science Center, Rm 145, Univ. of Miami

Opening remarks by
Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, 
Michael R. Halleran

Lucia Lohmann, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

Disentangling one of Darwin’s great mysteries:
The story of climbing plants

  • Guided arboretum tour at 6 pm
  • Birthday cake and champagne reception at 8:30 PM
  • Charles Darwin meets “Sebastian” the Ibis

Information: 305-284-5364, www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum

Free admission and parking. 

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AN FNPS MEMBER IN CALIFORNIA Or "When You Realize You're a 'Lifer'"

by Steve Ng, Key Largo

Let me introduce myself, since I've not been active, particularly in Dade County, in recent years. I'm Steve Ng, and I have been a member of DCFNPS since Don Keller was but a Little Green Thing himself.  (Actually, no one is that old, not even Don.)  All kidding aside, it has been a wonderful time being around great people, field trips and even board meetings!  I look forward to continuing this in Texas, where my family and I have moved.  It is a continuing experience, as you shall see.  I am actually a native Californian, though I have spent over half my life in Florida, so botanically-wise I shall forever be comparing things to South Florida plants, which are by far the most interesting!

About fifteen years ago, I flew to Marin County, California, to visit my father in the hospital.  His room was on an upper floor and had a view overlooking a meandering creek between the hills.  When I looked down I saw a number of small people moving around like ants, with shovels and potted plants in their hands. One thought immediately filled my head: WORKDAY!

So I told my mom I was going outside; she could see me out the window if she wished (Moms, you know).  When I got to the creek, the people told me that they were a local greenspace restoration group who were putting in native plants along the creek beds.  They had the usual Western suspects like cayote bush - imagine, a Baccharis that can be a ground cover!  - and a number of things growing out of white plastic ice cream cone size containers that we don’t use in Florida. (I used to own a nursery in the Keys, so I was impressed.)  As it turned out, I was wearing work boots that day. (I probably wore them every day.  There would come a time when I wouldn't be wearing them on Sundays - but that is a different story, how I got to Dallas.*)

I was only too happy to dig rows of holes to put in baby wetland plants and everybody was smiling and having a good time.  A little perplexed to learn that I had come all the way from Florida to stick some plants in the dirt - but hey, I'm a LIFER!!

* [My wife Chris has a calling, went to seminary, and is now a United Church of Christ minister in Dallas.]

[Steve was a member of DCFNPS since the 1991 and a chapter board member in 1995-1997 before moving to Key Largo.]

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This year's Native Plant Day introduced well over 500 attendees to the wonder and joys that native plants can bring!  Over a dozen speakers, a dozen community organizations, four plant vendors, and several dozen Dade Chapter members came out to A. D. Barnes Park on March 14, 2009, to celebrate the beauty of the park, and to promote the conservation and restoration of native habitats in South Florida!  An extra-special thank you to Jan Kolb, for her countless hours contacting so many to make the event a success; Ted Shaffer, for coordinating the excellent programs; and Carl Barta, who was enthusiastic and helpful throughout set up and the day of the event! 

The activities tent was booming with business constantly all day, thanks to the enthusiastic planning by Linda Van Leer and DCFNPS Board members: planting coreopsis flowers and mahogany trees; making leaf rubbings for covers of Japanese folding books; hand puppets of talking plants, butterflies, animals; Native Plant Concentration games; treasure hunts; drawing and cut out leaves, animals, etc., to put in our big bare tree; folded newspaper bags; sidewalk chalk art; and hand lenses generously supplied by Fairchild's Youth Education Manager Gillian Drake, who also provided a Nature Hunt game; and thin translucent aromatic slices of Pinus elliottii provided by Robin Luker. The time and energy from everyone who helped this year make Native Plant Day a community event not-to-be-missed! 

We are already beginning to prepare for next year!  If you would like to participate or have a greater role, please contact Amy Leonard (aleonar74@yahoo.com, 305-458-0969).  Unsure of how we can use your skills?  Currently we are seeking someone who can offer to give one or two hours once a month for some simple data-entry.  Doing some Spring cleaning?  We could use a few extra staplers, a couple of bungee cords, or other small office supplies.  Contact Amy if you have items you would be willing to offer.  Thank you!  And here's to looking forward to a GREAT Native Plant Day in 2010!

Amy Leonard

And a note from volunteer coordinator Jan Kolb: I want to thank our 32 dependable member volunteers. Every year we have about 30 member volunteers. It amazes me that some always call and ask if they can volunteer. It shows how much people enjoy this special day and want to make it enjoyable for our guests.

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By Patty Harris

with contributions from Rick Cohen and Marty Roessler

Rick Cohen led the walk and about 15 people participated, most of whom acknowledged that they were not presently using natives in their landscape.  They were an eager-to-learn group and had lots of questions.  As with most new-comers when fruit or berries are pointed out, someone asked if they were “edible” Rick’s sly response that “they might be edible, but they may not be palatable,” brought chuckles from the group.

The understory was lush, but limited. The many, many pine trees have blanketed the floor with pine needles. Rick’s comment that this area of the park sorely needs a burn prompted much interest and many questions. The park’s lack of any significant rainfall was also quite obvious and a bit embarrassing when trying to point out to beginners that natives can be used to enhance their personal home landscapes.  All in all, the group was pleased with the entertaining walk and quite surprised with the variety of native plants which were pointed out. I am so sorry now that I didn’t think to bring a camera. Dried up ole shoestring fern, although fairly abundant, was almost unrecognizable.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Abrus percatorius

rosary pea

Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata

Miami lead plant

Ardisia escallonioides


Bidens alba var radiata

beggar ticks

Bursera simaruba

gumbo limbo

Chiococca alba


Chrysobalanus icaco


Encyclia tampensis

Florida butterfly orchid

Erythrina herbacea


Eugenia axillaris

white stopper

Ficus aurea

strangler fig

Hamelia patens


Oeceodades maculate

 monk orchid

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper

Persea palustris

swamp bay

Pinus elliottii

slash pine

Pleopeltis polypodioides michauxian

 resurrection fern

Poinsettia cyathophora


Psychotria nervosa

wild coffee

Quercus virginiana

 live oak

Sabal palmetto

cabbage palm

Serenoa repens

saw palmetto

Sideroxylon foetidissimum

false mastic

Sophora tomentosa

necklace pod

Tillandsia fasciculata

stiff-leaved wild pine, cardinal airplant

Tillandsia recurvata


Tillandsia usneoides

Spanish moss

Toxicodendron radicans

poison ivy

Vitis rotundifolia

muscadine grape

Vittaria lineata

shoestring fern

Zamia pumila


Zanthoxylum fagara

wild lime

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by Martin Roessler

On February 22, 2009, Keith Bradley led members of the Native Plant Workshop and Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society on a trip to the rocky pineland, tropical hardwood hammock and coastal prairie habitats of the Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key. The trip was attended by many members from the Keys as well as mainlanders. The list of plants that were observed to be in flower and ferns observed is contained in the print newsletter.

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by Martin Roessler

On March 21, 2009, members of the Dade and Broward County FNPS Chapters were led by Ms. Jennifer Possley of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden along the boardwalk through the cypress and hydric hardwood hammock of the Broward County Fern Forest Nature Center. Unfortunately our trip was cut short by a heavy rain shower.  The ferns and seed plants that were flowering is in the print newsletter.

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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.

Articles, announcements and news items are invited for Tillandsia from Dade and Keys members.  Please submit items for consideration by the 15th of each month.  

Advertising rates from $12/month.

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

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