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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May 2010

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 2010

  • 15 (Sat): Dade field trip (Virginia Key)
  • 20-23: Annual FNPS Conference in Tallahassee
  • 25 (Tue.): Dade meeting

June 2010

  • 5 (Sat.): Chapter workday at ENP
  • 12 (Sat.): Dade field trip (Camp Matecumbe Pineland Preserve and Little George Hammock)
  • 22 (Tue.): Dade meeting

Later months:

  • July 24 (Sat.):  Field trip to the Deering Estate pineland
  • August 1 (Sun.): Annual summer evening yard visit and social (in place of a July meeting at Fairchild).

The Keys Branch is on vacation until December.

See our online Calendar for more details and dates.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 7:30 pm, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public. Refreshments begin at 7:15 pm. Merchandise sales are before and after the program (cash/checks only).  The plant raffle follows the program.  

Tram tour before the meeting.  Enjoy a quiet, early-evening view of the garden on FTBG's 70-seat tram.  This free 40-minute ride is open to all attending the meeting.  Be at the plaza next to our usual meeting room by 6 pmPlease RSVP to Lynka Woodbury at 305-669-4072 (leave a short message with your name and the number of people). Even if you don’t RSVP, there still should be room. The tram cannot go in bad weather.

Meeting activities (beginning at 7:30 pm):

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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 guests. Collecting is not permitted. Children are welcome. For carpooling, call Patty (305-255-6404).

Saturday, May 15, 9 am - noon: Virginia Key restoration areas.  City of Miami Parks naturalist (and DCFNPS member) Juan Fernandez will show us the restoration at Virginia Key Beach (a City of Miami park) with its Coastal Hammock Trail, rare species such as Biscayne prickly ash and park nursery.  Juan began this restoration 1996, and you'll see an incredible change from our last visit in 2003.  We will also visit some of the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) restoration areas on Virginia Key shown in Gary Milano's program in March, including dune, wetlands, hammock, coastal strand and beach areas (some still in progress).

Saturday, June 12: Camp Matecumbe Pineland Preserve (aka Boystown Pineland) and Little George Hammock. These two preserves are near each other in SW Miami-Dade (West Kendall area) and are not normally open to the public.  This is a joint trip with the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association.  Details next month.  

Do you have suggestions for chapter field trip destinations and leaders?  Please let us know!  (Contact Patty Phares, 305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com)

Take your own May mini-field trip.  A short, early May stroll in Larry and Penny Thompson Pineland (SW 184th St. and 127 Ave.) offered an abundance of wildflowers (pineland and pond edge) and shrubs in flower, plus thrashers and a family of gallinules, all with the sweet fragrance of the Sabal palmetto and Serenoa repens in bloom.  Look along the paved walking trail through the pinelands and on the south lake shore, away from the picnic shelters.  Or go to your nearest pineland preserve!

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Please bring your cutting, seedlings, or small potted plants for the Deering Estate butterfly garden to our May meeting.  Jennifer Tisthammer, the Exhibits and Collection Manager at the Deering Estate will be at the meeting to talk about the project and can also take plants back to the Deering Estate.  The butterfly garden there is shaping up, and our plant contributions will be duly noted on a sign in the butterfly garden.  This is a great way to get our name and mission out to the general public, so please donate plants!  Some plant suggestions below, but feel free to bring other appropriate native plants as well.  Thanks!

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

Suggested Plants:

Host Plants  

Nectar Plants

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Board nominees. The slate of nominees for 2010-2012 terms has been presented by the nominating committee (which is the chapter board).  The slate is Ted Schaffer as President, Amy Leonard as Vice President, and Directors-at-Large Patty Harris, Lauren McFarland and Buck Reilly.  Lauren and Buck would be new to the board.

The rest of the board will continue to serve the second of their two-year terms (Secretary, Treasurer and three at-Large are elected in alternate years, though none of the members elected last year was designated as Secretary).  These are Amida Frey, Gita Ramsay, Vivian Waddell, Lynka Woodbury and Treasurer Susan Walcutt (replacing Mark Bolla who resigned before the end of his term).  The retiring president Robert Harris will serve in the unelected position of Past-Present.

Chapter Workday at Everglades National Park: June 5, 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 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).

The Summer Evening Yard Visit and Social meeting.  Mark your calendar for Sunday, August 1, when the chapter will meet at the home of a member in the Redland to enjoy her 1¼ acre pineland garden and our annual summer potluck social (time TBA).  As usual, this replaces our July meeting at Fairchild.  FNPS members and their guests are invited - this meeting is not open to the general public.

Welcome new members!  Miami-Dade: Beyte Barrios Roque, Jessica Cabral.  Keys: W. Entemann, Rick and Beryn Harty.

FNPS 30th Annual Conference: Rooted in History, Forever Blooming.  May 20-23, 2010, Tallahassee, Florida. Register and see the schedule online at www.fnps.org.  For questions or for information by mail, contact FNPS at 321-271-6702 or info@fnps.org.  Field trips fill up fast, so register soon! This is a beautiful area, and wonderful programs and activities are scheduled -- you should definitely try to go.

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Broward Native Plant Society.  Meets 7-9pm at the Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or www.npsbroward.orgMay 12: David McLean will talk about coastal hammock communities.

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. 305-667-7337, www.tropicalaudubon.org.  These activities are open to the public and most are free.

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring, 305-666-5727 or miamiblue@bellsouth.net for more info and schedule of butterflying trips.  Miami Blue's Butterfly Days at Fairchild will be on September 25-26.

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.  Contact Steve, 786-488-3101, Stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net.  See http://nativeplantworkshop.ning.com/.  By joining the networking site you will receive notices of meetings and may post your own photos of plants, but you don't have to join to see the site.  May 18 topic: Rubiaceae or Madder family (e.g. wild coffee).  This workshop will be led by Theresa Chormanski, Co-Chair of the Workshop and faculty member at MDC.

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by Patty Harris

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood . . .

Saturday, March 27th, Bill Sadowski Park and Nature Center was the place to be for nature lovers.  The 15th NATIVE PLANT DAY, sponsored by the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation, offered a free, one-day event jam-packed with activities for all ages.

Ted Shaffer, Chapter Vice-President said, "Native Plant Day is our most important outreach event to the community."  Past president and event chairperson Amy Leonard added, "This was an excellent chance for the public to learn about native plants, natural areas, landscaping and water conservation."  Over 450 nature lovers enjoyed the beautiful weather and event-filled day.

Educational programs were offered where you could learn about everything from owls in South Florida to real Florida landscaping for real Floridians.  Steve Woodmansee, local native plant expert, led a group of eager gardeners on a walk through the hundreds of native plants offered for sale to introduce his twelve favorite for home landscaping.  Butterflies fluttered amongst the flora while experts from the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association offered tips and tricks to attract butterflies and birds to your yard.

There were experts of all kinds with literature available to answer questions on bad insects, geology, wildflowers, native palms, and local wildlife.  The South Florida Woodturners amazed everyone with the beauty of various woods turned on their lathes resulting in bowls, plates, vessels, and even holiday ornaments.  Park staff led interested folks along woodsy trails to enjoy nature=s beauty and learn how to identify native plant species.  Children delighted in fun hands‑on take‑home projects.

If you were lucky, you took home some native plants offered for sale by several local commercial growers.  Competition was heated during the raffles, where member-grown, out-of-the-ordinary plants, original art work, nature books, gardening items, and gift certificates to Duffy=s Tavern were among the various items available for the low price of two tickets for a dollar.

Those who came early enjoyed an Early Bird Walk led by Tropical Audubon Society expert birder, Roberto Torres.  Over 15 species of birds were observed in less than an hour during the stroll along park nature trails and included high flying fish crows, palm, Cape May, and prairie warblers, a chattering company of yellow chevron parrots, and even a nesting pair of great horned owls who sat high up in their tree and stared back at the observers until they (the owls) got bored and flew silently away.

Mark your calendars now for next year=s event when you can enjoy more educational programs, walks, displays, and plant sales during the 16th Native Plant Day to be held at Elaine Gordon Enchanted Forest in North Miami, March 12, 2011

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Cotton Seed Bug Could Threaten Commercial Cotton

Last year we were reminded of the state regulations prohibiting possession of the native plant “wild cotton” except by special permit from the state of Florida.  These rules originated to prevent reappearance of the cotton boll weevil in Florida, which could threaten commercial cotton.  In addition, in south Florida, there is another old threat to cotton, the "pink bollworm moth", Pectinophora gossypiella, which feeds on the cotton seeds.  Now there is one more worry.

Julieta Brambila, Entomologist with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) in Gainesville reports that the “cotton seed bug”, Oxycarenus hyalinipennis, recently was found on wild cotton at Stock Island in Key West. Arrival of this pest had been expected for several years. 

According to Brambila, now, more than ever, we need to pass the word to everyone not to plant or in any way move or distribute wild or commercial cotton plants or seeds. We need to keep this infestation isolated in the Lower Keys for as many years as possible. We need to keep this infestation away from the commercial cotton plantings in north Florida. The insect damages cotton cultivations primarily by staining the cotton fibers and feeding upon the seed.  If it reaches north Florida, this pest subsequently may spread to the rest of the US cotton production areas, including Georgia, Alabama, and Texas, where cotton is grown on millions of acres. 

What is wild cotton?

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.  In Florida, it inhabits coastal hammocks and thickets in Florida from the Keys in Monroe County to Palm Beach and Pinellas counties. Wild cotton also is known from several other countries. It has creamy white to pale yellow flowers and a fruit filled with cotton fibers covering the seeds, just like commercial cotton.  The USDA feared in the early 1900s that it could be infested by the exotic cotton boll weevil and attempted to eradicate the plant in South Florida.  However, eradication of wild cotton is no longer the goal, and it is listed as endangered by the state of Florida.  (See "Don't Plant Wild Cotton At Home" in the February 2009 Tillandsia at “http://dade.fnpschapters.org”.)

State rules governing wild cotton

Tyson Emery of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services explains the two rules governing wild cotton (see “http://www.flrules.org”).  Note that these laws are already in place -- the arrival of the seed bug has not changed the laws.  In 1987, Florida's commercial cotton producers voted to assess themselves a per acre assessment to join the Boll Weevil Eradication Program. This program was so successful that Florida is now considered to be free of the cotton boll weevil.  Rule Chapter 5B-52, Boll Weevil Eradication allows only commercial cotton to be grown in Florida. This law is intended to keep the boll weevil from being re-introduced into Florida, thus protecting the large investment which Florida's 300-plus cotton producers have made over the last 23 years. This rule prohibits the planting of (noncommercial) Gossypium in Florida unless a special permit is issued. Special permits typically are given only for research and demonstration plots, with these sites trapped by FDACS plant inspectors for the early detection of boll weevil.  Land owners would be in violation of Rule Chapter 5B-52 and could face a fine if cotton is planted on their property without a permit issued by the Division of Plant Industry.  In addition, Rule Chapter 5B-40 lists wild cotton, Gossypium hirsutum, as an endangered plant protected from being harvested on the private land of another or on any public land. Harvesting a listed endangered plant requires written permission of the land owner and a permit from the Division of Plant Industry.  This permit is not required if the individual that is harvesting owns the land.

It is strongly recommended that you remove cotton plants on your property to prevent being fined by the state if the plants are found on your property in upcoming surveys.  If you have cotton on your property without the appropriate permit, you are in violation of Rule Chapter 5B-52. Destroying the cotton on your own property is permissible. Make sure all cotton plants that you remove are securely double-bagged so as not to spread the cotton seed bug. All trash from the Keys ends up in Broward County.

Identifying and reporting the cotton seed bug

For photos and more information see the Pest Alert at “http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/pest_alerts/pdf/cotton-seed-bug-pest-alert.pdf ”.  Several closely related species can readily be confused with each other and with the exotic species, and several have similar hosts; however, if you find a large number of small bugs in a cotton boll, the bugs are very likely to be the cotton seed bug.  In this case, please contact DPI immediately at 352-372-3505. Please mail your specimens by USPS to:

FDACS, Division of Plant Industry
P.O. Box 147100
Gainesville, FL 32614-7100

Please send only dead specimens (killed in alcohol or frozen, then placed in alcohol). You can use rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol for this purpose.  Indicate in a letter your name, the date and location where the specimens were collected, and a phone number and email address with which we can contact you.

[Information provided by Julieta Brambila and Tyson Emery]

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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 Harris (305-262-3763)

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

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

Facebook: http://www.facebook.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 editors: Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com)

Dade Chapter Board members:

President: Robert Harris  Vice-President: Ted Shaffer
Secretary: TBA Treasurer: Susan Walcutt
At Large: Amida Frey, Patty Harris, Jose Luciani, Gita Ramsay, Vivian Waddell
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, alternating between Key Largo and Marathon.

2010 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, 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.

© 1999-2010 Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society, Inc.

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Past Online Newsletters

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