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 |

MAY 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.


May 2009

  • 9 (Sat.): Field trip (Matheson Hammock)
  • 1-24 (Thur.-Sun.): FNPS Annual Conference, Palm Beach Co.  www.fnps.org or 321-271-6702.
  • 26 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Florida Bats)

June 2009

  • 13 (Sat): Field trip - Tamiami Pineland addition
  • 20 (Sat): Chapter workday at Everglades National Park
  • 23 (Tue): Dade meeting (History of South Florida)

July 2009

  • 18 (Sat.): Chapter workday at Everglades National Park
  • 25-26 (Sat-Sun): Butterfly Days at Fairchild (DCFNPS display table)
  • 28 (Tue): Annual "Summer Evening Yard Visit and Social Meeting" (in lieu of meeting at Fairchild)

See our online Calendar for more details and dates.


Tuesday, May 26, 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.

"Florida Bats - Preserving and Protecting Native Bat Populations" - Cynthia and George Marks, Florida Bat Conservancy

Yes, there is a plant-bat connection! Living and dead native plants (snags, Spanish moss, cabbage palms) provide habitat, and native habitats support many of the insects on which bats feed. We can't describe the organization or speakers any better than the Bat Conservancy's website (www.floridabats.org):

"Bats are disappearing at alarming rates. Disturbance or destruction of roost sites due to development and vandalism is the greatest threat to the world's bats. Most bats living in Florida prefer to roost in mature or dead trees or in caves. However, many bats are squeezed out of urban areas due to loss of habitat or take up residence in buildings and become the targets for abuse. … Cynthia and George Marks, founders of the organization, began working with bats in 1989.  In 1994 they established the Florida Bat Center, a non profit organization for the purpose of protecting and preserving Florida's native bats. Over the past fifteen years they, along with staff and volunteers, have presented hundreds of educational programs about bats, rescued and cared for hundreds of injured and orphaned bats, worked with state and local agencies on numerous bat conservation projects, and helped home and business owners with bats in their buildings.  In 2006 the board of directors changed the name to the Florida Bat Conservancy."

Annual Chapter Meeting. A very short business meeting will be held before the program. The main item of business is the election of new board members for 2009-2011 terms. Contact President Robert Harris (see info box on back page) to nominate.

Tram tour before the May meeting. Enjoy a quiet, early-evening view of the garden on FTBG's 70-seat tram. This free 40-minute ride is open to FNPS mem bers and guests. Be at the plaza next to our usual meeting room by 6 pm. Please RSVP to Lynka Woodbury at 305-669-4072 (leave a short message with your name and the number of people). If you don't RSVP, it is "as available," but there should be plenty of room.  The tram cannot go in bad weather.

June 23: "The Human and Natural History of South Florida" - Naturalist and author Roger Hammer.

| To top of Page |


If the weather is very bad, call to confirm. Collecting is not permitted. Children welcome. For carpooling, call Gwen (305-372-6569) or Patty (305-255-6404). Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and their guests. Complete details are in the print newsletter - please join FNPS so you can enjoy all the activities!

Saturday, May 9, 9:30 - noon: 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.

Saturday, June 13, 2009: Tamiami Complex Pineland Addition in Kendall. 9am-noon. This conservation land was acquired by the Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) program. It consists of eight acres of pine rockland and marl prairie habitat. Most of the preserved burned in a March, 2009, wildfire, providing an excellent opportunity now to see wildflowers.  Expect to see tons of wildflowers, including Blodgett's ironweed, Deering Partridge Pea, Large Flowered Candyweed, Wand goldenrod, Pineland Petunia, and many many more. In addition, several rare species occur here including Coker's Beach Creeper (Ernodea cokeri), Pineland Poinsettia (Poinsettia pinetorum), Man in the Ground (Ipomoea microdactyla), and Marl Prairie Ladies Tresses (Spiranthes torta), which flower this time of year. We visited this site in November 2007, but large amounts of Neyraudia and Brazilian pepper have been cleared since then.

| To top of Page |


The Keys Branch is on vacation until November. Please have your suggestions and volunteering spirit ready when the planning meeting occurs after the summer break.

Welcome New (or long-lost rejoining) Members!

In Dade: Liliana Agron, Stanley Boynton, Bruce Chesney, Sylvia Dolnick, Allen Kaplan, Dianne Love, Devon Powell, Cynthia Shore (student), Bradley Stark, Joseph Yeager, Alex Zayas (student) as well as our three science fair award recipients, Victor Moas, Rafael Moas and Christopher Sanchez.

In the Keys: Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, Sally Buehler, Harry Delanhmutt (Biosurveys Inc)

Out-of-state: Dave Mitchell (Matrix Designs, Racine WA).

Thanks to all who have renewed and rejoined! Your continued interest and moral support are as valued as the financial support your membership provides.

You can now join or renew online. Try it! See https://www.fnps.org/secure/membership.php If you are renewing but don't know your membership number, check your green card or send email to info@fnps.org with your full name. Otherwise, you will need to reenter your personal information. When renewing online, please update your membership record. If you have a family/household or higher level membership, you can list two members, including complete contact info for each.

29th Annual FNPS Conference: Wake Up and Plant The Natives! Planting Today to Preserve Florida's Tomorrow.

May 21-24 2009 - West Palm Beach Marriott

For Schedule, Field Trips & Registration: www.fnps.org

(For a paper version, 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!  There will also be a huge plant sale and social events.

| To top of Page |


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).

The Adopt-a-Tree Program is back better than ever in 2009, helping residents of Miami-Dade County "plant for the future."  If you are a Miami-Dade single-family or duplex homeowner, you may be eligible to receive 2 FREE trees in 2009, even if you have adopted trees in past years.  Bring a valid photo ID with your current address (e.g., Driver's License).  If you rent your home, please bring a letter from the property owner saying that it's OK for you to adopt the trees on his/her behalf, along with a photocopy of the property owner's ID.  For more information visit:  http://www.miamidade.gov/derm/home.asp. Please tell your neighbors to come, too! June 6: Harris Field Barn Pavilion, 1034 NE 8th Street, Homestead. Species: native Inkwood and Jamaica dogwood as well as several non-native fruit and flowering trees.

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). May. 19: Coastal plants. Contact Steve, 305-595-5541, Stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net;

www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp Free!

If you have never attended this workshop but would like to learn more about native plants, give it a try!  It works for beginners and old hands alike. It's not just about identification - the group also discusses all sorts of interesting tidbits and experiences with the plants in home gardens.

Broward Native Plant Society. Meets at the Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or www.npsbroward.org. May 13: Gloria Witkus, Broward County Extension. "Moths: lesser loved Lepidoptera."  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.  

May 13, 7:30-9:30pm. Special program cosponsored by TAS and the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association: "Dragonflies!" by Raul Urguelles.

May. 16:  Help restore native habitat at TAS. Workday 8:30am-1pm.  Also every Thursday evening 3pm until dark.

June 6-7: NATIVE PLANT AND BOOK SALE.  9am-5pm on Sat, 9am-3pm on Sunday.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum. May 6, 7 pm: "Plant collections-based research at botanic gardens" by Dr. Patrick Griffith, Executive Director of the Montgomery Botanical Center, Miami. Featured family of the month: Surianaceae. Cox Science Building, Room 166, University of Miami. Free. 305-284-5364 or www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum.

| To top of Page |


By Chuck McCartney

An orchid species last seen in Florida nearly 30 years ago was rediscovered in March – at a place where it had never been reported before. And on top of that, it was the largest colony of this species ever reported in the state.

The rediscovered orchid is a small tropical spiranthoid called Cyclopogon elatus, and it was found in Florida's fabled Fakahatchee Strand during the annual weekend Central Slough Survey organized by biologist Mike Owen of the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park in Southwest Florida near Naples.

The "new" orchid is the rarer relative of Cyclopogon cranichoides, a species reported from seven Florida counties scattered from Miami-Dade to Alachua. In the past, both have been included in the genus Beadlea and, for a long time, in the very broadly defined genus Spiranthes, the Ladies-Tresses Orchids. With orchid nomenclature that is somewhat behind current taxonomic thinking, the University of South Florida's online Institute for Systematic Botany website called the Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
(http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Sponsor.aspx) persists in keeping these very different plants in Spiranthes, despite the fact that the generic concept of that genus is now more narrowly defined.

Cyclopogon elatus was first discovered in Florida by Allen Hiram Curtiss in April 1881 in Hernando County. It was first seen in what was then Dade County in February 1961 in a hammock that apparently was slated for destruction to make way for a housing development and last was reported in Florida 1980 in a different Dade County hammock by George Gann, now head of the South Dade-based Institute for Regional Conservation.

Miami environmental scientist Chris Little gets credit for the rediscovery of Cyclopogon elatus on March 14. Central Slough Survey regular Russ Clusman, who, in his real-life persona, is assistance police chief at the University of Miami, and South Florida field botanist extraordinaire Keith Bradley of the Institute for Regional Conservation were quickly there to verify the identify of the find, and Fakahatchee preserve biologist Owen collected a single specimen to voucher the discovery, a first for Collier County.

Bradley reports that in all, some 90 plants were discovered, most in a small Pond Apple swamp, where they grew with other orchids such as Bletia purpurea and Habenaria repens on what would normally be mossy fallen logs floating in the water of the swamp. But since this is the dry season in the strand, the logs rested on the black mud. Bradley says a second location also was found, although there were just three plants at that site and they grew semi-epiphytically on the base of a Pop-Ash tree.

The plants in flower, although hardly showy, are rather elegant in their own way. The stalked green leaves are held somewhat upright in a basal rosette. From the center, the inflorescence emerges, growing to a height of about 8 to 12 inches. The species epithet, elatus, refers to this relatively tall flower stem. Up to 30 or more small, hair-covered flowers are borne at the tip of the stem and bend downward slightly. In the Fakahatchee population, the flowers are rather tubular, with greenish-brown sepals and petals and a whitish lip that flares outward at the apex.

Cyclopogon elatus is reported to be fairly common in Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the islands of the Caribbean, but it remains rare in Florida. Although the plants and flowers might not win any prizes for aesthetics, it's comforting to know that this species is still part of our native flora.

Cyclopogon elatus

Illustration by Gordon W. Dillon

1 = plant, 2 = flower, 3 = lip expanded, 4 = column.

Cyclopogon elatus Cyclopogon elatus

[Keith's striking photos of these orchids and other plants can also be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/35605280@N05]

| To top of Page |


by Martin Roessler

On April 5, 2009, members of the Dade County Native Plant Workshop and Dade and Broward Chapters of the FNPS were lead by Ms. Gwen Burzycki from Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management, through a restored short hydro-period marsh and a pinnacle rock shrubby marsh. The list of plants that were observed to be in flower and ferns observed is contained in the print newsletter.

| To top of Page |


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.

| To top of Page |

Past Online Newsletters