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.


October 2009

  • 17 (Sat.): Field trip (NOAA pineland, South Miami-Dade)
  • 24 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
  • 27 (Tue.): Meeting in Miami-Dade (Early Miami-Dade Parks Architecture)

November 2009

  • 7 (Sat.): Yard visit in South Miami, 2-4pm.
  • 14 (Sat.): Field trip (Greynolds Park)
  • 20-22 (Fri.-Sun.): Fairchild Botanical Garden Ramble
    (DCFNPS participates - volunteers needed)
  • 24 (Tue.): Meeting in Miami-Dade (archeology and plants)

December 2009

  • 6 (Sun): Holiday picnic (multi-organization).  Details TBA.
  • 12 or 13 (Sat or Sun): Field trip - Dade (TBA)
  • 15 (Tue.): Meeting in the Keys (Details TBA)
  • 19 (Sat.):  Chapter workday, Everglades National Park

May 20-23, 2010: Annual FNPS Conference in Tallahassee (date change from previous announcement)

See our online Calendar for more details and dates.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 7:30 pm at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public. Refreshments begin at 7:15pm. Merchandise sales are before and after the program (cash/checks only).  The plant raffle follows the program.

"Public Paradise: The Early Park Architecture of Dade County" - Rocco Ceo, Professor, Univ. of Miami School of Architecture. 

Greynolds Park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, officially opening on March 29, 1936.  The following is from an abstract of Mr. Ceo's essay, Building Close to Nature, about early Dade County parks architecture.

"The interaction between landscape and architecture so carefully conceived under the direction of William Lyman Phillips, R.C. Ward and Prentiss French and the youth of the CCC established a new building standard for South Florida that intimately linked architecture to the landscape  … The use of graphic design guidelines adapted to the unique regional conditions blended ideal forms to site found materials and local methods of construction.  … the new park architecture reflected the confrontation between man and nature in a unique landscape, a landscape made of seasonal forest fires, devastating hurricanes, and tropical flora and fauna unique to the United States ."

Mr. Ceo teaches courses in Design and Drawing and is the author of several books.  He has produced drawings of the elements of Florida’s landscapes as well as the documentation of seminal sites in the history of South Florida such as Vizcaya and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas home.  His published work includes the award winning books, Redland: A Preservation and Tourism Plan done with Margot Ammidown and Maria Nardi and Historic Landscapes of Florida co-authored with Joanna Lombard.  His architecture practice focuses on the unique relationship between architecture and landscape found in the American Tropics.

November 24: "Weeds and Seeds: A History of Dining in Southern Florida" - Dr. Michele Williams, Florida Public Archaeology Network

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FNPS members and their guests (children welcome) are invited to this event.   If you are not yet a member, please join so you can enjoy all the activities of the chapter!  Address and directions are in the print newsletter sent to members.

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, call Gwen (305-372-6569) or Patty (305-255-6404).

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, 9am - noon: "NOAA pineland" in the south Miami-Dade Richmond Pineland complex.

The NOAA site is used for the South Florida WSR-88D Doppler radar (weather radar) often seen on television.  Our leader, Rusty Pfost, is a member of the Broward FNPS Chapter and is responsible for the general maintenance of vegetation on the 10 acre site. When NOAA took control of the site in 2004, Burma reed had overrun the property.  The National Park Service has been helping with exotic control, but there is more to be done.  We will see the endangered deltoid spurge, fall wildflowers and other pineland flora, butterflies, and maybe even snakes. Rusty will open the gate to the ladder that leads to the radome, so those who want to climb the stairs for a bird's eye view of the pineland.  Afterwards, those who have time might visit the adjacent county-owned Martinez Pineland Preserve.

Saturday, Nov 14, 2009: Greynolds Park in North Miami Beach.  We will see the early park buildings featured in Rocco Ceo's October program and walk through the hammocks in both the west and east sections of the park.  Details TBA.

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Plans are underway for the 2009-2010 season, with meetings alternating between Key Largo and Marathon in December through April, tentatively scheduled for the third Tuesday of the month.  New participants are needed to help with the activities, and every member can contribute ideas!  Please contact Lisa at 305-743-0978 or ledzepllg@bellsouth.net if you have questions or could do any of the following:

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Date & Time: Saturday, November 7, 2009, 2 - 4 pm    

Location: A member's home in the South Miami area. Details in the print newsletter sent to members. Please join to enjoy all the activities!

Normally, I say you will find a yard visit site as you travel down the road and you suddenly see the native plants in lonely splendor.  Not this time!  You will drive into a forest of natives on all sides, particularly north and west of the property and say “Wow.”   Another difference from our previous yard visits is that these are older homes with larger, mature trees, notwithstanding hurricane damage in 2005.  There is a long list of mostly natives and some exotics planted along the perimeters. There are surprises and delights everywhere – with butterflies galore.

This visit is part of an ongoing opportunity for those who wish 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 three or four months.  If more information is needed, call Gwlady Scott at 305-238-8901.

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Get the inside perspective – volunteer!

Contact Gita Ramsay (786-877-7168, gita.ramsay@gmail.com) to volunteer.

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

Display items needed: Please loan/donate small native plants (in pots), butterfly plants, or caterpillars for the educational display.  Contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com).

Note about the plant sales: Rules for the plant sales are different this year, and each vendor is responsible for renting their own space (under the auspices of FNPS) and handling financial transactions for all plants purchased.  Plant sale volunteers would not be responsible for handling money, only for helping monitor the vendor’s plants and guiding potential buyers to appropriate plants. 

Note about donating sale plants to DCFNPS for the Ramble: Because of the new vendor rules, DCFNPS is not able to sell plants at the Ramble.  Pro Native Consulting has offered to take (a maximum of 50) plants on consignment, if they are in 3 gallon containers or smaller and in good condition.  Plants donated for sale must be delivered to Pro Native Consulting by November 10; be sure to call ahead.  Donors are responsible for picking up their unsold plants (if desired) at Pro Native Consulting.  Please contact Steve Woodmansee DBA Pro Native Consulting (786-488-3101 or stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net) if you are interested in donating plants for the chapter's benefit.

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October 24, 9am-noon. Help with our native plant habitat landscaping maintenance around the Coe Visitors Center.  Drinks, gloves, hand tools and bug spray are provided, but you may want to bring your own, and snacks to share.  Bring sun protection!  New helpers and friends are welcome and encouraged to come!  Everyone in your car gets into the park free after the workday.  For more information contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

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Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Bring at least three flowering/fruiting plants of any species (even if not the subject matter).  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 7-9pm at the Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or www.npsbroward.org. 

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.  

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum, Univ. of Miami.  See www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum or 305-284-5364. 

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring, 305-666-5727 or miamiblue@bellsouth.net for details of walks and other activities.

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas workdays.  See www.miamidade.gov/derm/endangered_lands.asp for details. RSVP at 305-257-0933 x227, eel@miamidade.gov.  Students earn Community Service Hours and others earn the heartfelt thanks of Miami-Dade County.

Deering Estate at Cutler.  16701 SW 72 Ave., Miami, 305-235-1668.  Most walks are free after admission   There are also kayak rentals on weekends and canoe tours on Sundays.  See http://www.deeringestate.com/pages/TourClassesPrograms.aspx

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).

Where can you recycle everything your local recycler doesn't?  See http://earth911.com/.

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We are happy to announce that the news in some local media in August and the September Tillandsia reporting an earlier discovery of laurel wilt in Homestead was apparently wrong - for now.  This does not mean that local members of the Laurel family, including avocados and the native redbay and lancewood trees, are safe from the deadly laurel wilt, so keep an eye out for and report possible infestation by the redbay ambrosia beetle.

A Homeowner handout posted on August 6, 2009 by the University of Florida IFAS Miami-Dade Extension states:

"Update on the redbay ambrosia beetle – laurel wilt disease. Currently the redbay ambrosia beetle-laurel wilt disease infestation has continued to spread west and south in Florida.  Avocado trees have been reported as infested in Duval and Brevard Counties.  Although one test for laurel wilt on avocado was positive in Homestead, efforts to detect and confirm the presence of laurel wilt disease in additional samples have been negative.  As of this writing the red bay ambrosia beetle has not been detected in Miami Dade County.  More sampling and testing is in progress."

From Homeowner Detection of and Recommendations for Mitigating Redbay Ambrosia Beetle – Laurel Wilt Disease on Avocado Trees in the Home Landscape by Jonathan H. Crane, Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida.  See http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu  - Redbay ambrosia beetle recommendations.

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Lopsided Indian grass (Sorghastrum secundum) by Steven W. Woodmansee

Sedges have edges,
Rushes are round,
And Grasses I passes wherever they’re found. 

This is a variation of a common rhyme used to help remember characteristics of Graminoids, a term used for grass-like plants.  Despite the difficulty of identifying them, one shouldn’t pass up on the grasses, as they are an important part of our flora.  Grasses (Poaceae) comprise the most diverse assemblage of vascular plants in South Florida (264 total, 164 of which are native).  In Miami-Dade County there are 184 species, of which 113 are native.  This represents greater than 10% of the Miami-Dade County’s and South Florida’s native flora.

One of my favorite grasses is the strikingly graceful Lopsided Indian grass (Sorghastrum secundum).  Both the common name and the species epithet are so named for its characteristic of having flowers present on one side of the blooming stalk (inflorescence).  This grass is native to pine rockland and pine flatwoods habitats.  It typically grows to about 1 ½ feet in height, with blooming stalks greater than three feet.  Leaves are flat, and contain a ligule, located at the collar where the leaf blade meets the leaf sheath, that resembles a rabbit’s ears.  Plants are cespitose, forming medium sized clumps, and do not spread aggressively in the landscape.  In nature, Lopsided Indian grass flowers from August to early October, and it occasionally flowers during other times of the year after fires.  In cultivation, I find that it may flower two to three times a year.  Plants are typically shortlived perennials, but often seeds germinate in the landscape, and new plants may pop up.

Lopsided Indian grass
Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer
Natives For Your Neighborhood. The Institute for Regional Conservation, Miami. www.regionalconservation.org.

What I enjoy most about this grass are its splendid inflorescences.  The yellow anthers, which are large for a grass, dangle and tremble gently in the wind.  Long awns (hairs on the each little grass flower termed “spikelet”) twist slightly, are dark, and contrast nicely with the honey colored flowers and the bright yellow anthers, which all hang on one side.  This effect is most notable in areas that have several dozen or so plants, where the “amber waves of grain” are most striking. 

Plants are often difficult to obtain as native plant nurseries have had a tough time marketing some of our native grasses.  So if you wish to add a new grass to your landscape, encourage your local nurseries to carry this elegant plant, and encourage your friends to use it.  I hope to have some available by Spring 2010.

Steve Woodmansee, DBA Pro Native Consulting, is the FNPS Vice President for Finance and former President of the Dade Chapter FNPS.  You can reach him at 786-488-3101 or stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net.

See photos of Lopsided Indian grass at www.regionalconservation.org - Natives For Your Neighborhood.

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

General information:  786-340-7914

Refreshment coordinator, Dade meetings: Vivian Waddell 305-665-5168

Memberships: Patty Phares (305-255-6404)

DCFNPS Web page: http://dade.fnpschapters.org

Webmasters: Greg Ballinger and Haniel Pulido Jr. (dadefnpsweb@gmail.com)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dade-Chapter-of-the-Florida-Native-Plant-Society/110373246810

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 editors: Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com) and Elizabeth Kelly

Dade Chapter Board members:

President: Robert Harris  Vice-President: Ted Shaffer
Secretary: TBA Treasurer: Mark Bolla
At Large: Amida Frey, Patty Harris, Jose Luciani, Gita Ramsay, Vivian Waddell, Susan Walcutt
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

2009 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.

Join or renew FNPS online! Try it! If you are renewing, check your green card or send email to info@fnps.org with your full name to obtain your membership number (or ask you local membership manager).  Otherwise, reenter your personal information.  When renewing, please update your membership record. Family/household or higher level memberships can list two members, including complete contact info for each.  See https://www.fnps.org/secure/membership.php

Thanks to those who have renewed FNPS memberships recently!  Your continued support helps FNPS achieve its mission:

The purpose of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida.

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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