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Newsletter - September 2010

Next Meeting in Dade County
Upcoming Field Trip
Chapter and FNPS News
Dade Chapter FNPS Profit & Loss Statement
Other News of Interest
Crenulate Lead Plant
Native Plant Name Notes
Book Review: Native Bromeliads of Florida
Bushy Fleabane (Pluchea caroliniensis): More Than Just a Pretty Shrub
Update On Passiflora sexflora (Goatsfoot) Reintroduction
A Call for Backyard Biodiversity
Contacts for DCFNPS


Sept. 19 (Sun.):  Field trip - Black Point Park
Sept. 25-26: DCFNPS table at Butterfly Days - volunteers needed
Sept. 28 (Tue.): Monthly meeting in Dade

Oct. 16 (Sat.): Field trip - R. Hardy Matheson Preserve
Oct. 23 (Sat.): Chapter workday at ENP
Oct. 26 (Tue.): Monthly meeting in Dade

Nov. 13-14: DCFNPS participates at FTBG Ramble - volunteers needed for display and sale
Nov 23: Monthly meeting in Dade
Nov. field trip: TBA

Dec. 4: Chapter workday at ENP
Dec. field trip TBA

The Keys Branch is on vacation until December.


Tuesday, September 28, 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.

"Organic Raised-bed Food Gardening" - Andres Mejides, organic farmer and teacher

Growing your own organic fruits and veggies means less fossil fuels burned and healthier meals. Plus, the skill of producing edible plants is priceless: it provides food security, enjoyment, and praise from your community. - From"Organic Gardening with Andres Mejides" course description, Miami-Dade College.

Besides more traditional foods, Andres will include some natives that are edible in his program.  He says "Granted, some are 'survival food', but still native and edible.  These might include an edible hedge, some great additions for compost pile, a native that lowers cholesterol, and one that clears sinuses.  Intrigued?" 

Andres Mejides comes from a family (and culture) of gardeners. He came to the United States from Cuba at age 3 and started gardening at age four, always organically -- by default.  He says "I didn't know there was any other way, I just knew we couldn't buy bug sprays, fertilizer, etc."  Now he and his wife organically grow over 30 types of fruits, row-crops, herbs, microgreens, and ornamentals on their small farm in the Redland.  Andres also lectures and promotes organic gardening all around South Florida and teaches organic horticulture at Miami-Dade Community College Kendall Campus Environmental Center.


If the weather is very bad, please 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 Phares (305-255-6404).

Sunday, September 19: Black Point Park on Biscayne Bay.  We will hike down a path along a mangrove swamp habitat.  This is not natural, pristine habitat, but there are many coastal upland species such as seaside heliotrope, seaside gentian, coastal goldenrod, Christmasberry, bushy fleabane, goatweed, wild sage, and others.  If the tide is low enough, we'll look for a population of Swampbush (Pavonia paludicola), a critically imperiled hibiscus relative found only in few places of south Florida.

Time, address and directions are in the print newsletter mailed to members.  Please join to enjoy all the activities of the chapter! 

  • Bring: Water, sun and bug protection; lunch if you care to eat,
  • Difficulty: Easy, 1-2 miles on a trail.
  • Lost? Try Patty's cell (305-878-5705 - for use only that morning)

Saturday, October 16: R. Hardy Matheson Preserve. (Snapper Creek Canal at Old Cutler Road).


Dade Chapter display at Butterfly Days, September 25-26 at Fairchild.  We need: DCFNPS volunteers to help a few hours (indoors); butterfly larvae, chrysalises, ova; native butterfly plants to loan for display (container plants or cuttings).  Please contact Patty Phares, 305-255-6404,

2010 FNPS Landscape Awards
Two projects submitted for Miami-Dade County projects received awards from FNPS at the annual Conference in May.  We expect to read more about them in an upcoming Palmetto magazine.  In the meantime, congratulations to them both!

  • Highland Oaks Mitigation Project (property owned by Miami-Dade Parks) - Award of Excellence, Ecological Restoration Category.  Submitted by the designer, Coastal Systems International.
  • Kendallwood Park and Neighborhood Landscape Mitigation (owned by Miami-Dade Expressway Authority) - Award of Honor, Transportation Category.  Designer: Leticia Fernandez-Beraud, Fernandez-Beraud, Inc. Submitted by Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. (Leticia is a member of DCFNPS)


July 2009 - June 2010

Ordinary Income/Expense


                 ADMINISTRATION INCOME                  105.00

                 DONATIONS                                      3,897.06

                 EDUCATIONAL INCOME

                       Monthly Meetings                         1,695.00

                       Native Plant Day                           2,084.85

                        Newsletter Ads                           15.00

                       Ramble                                        375.16

                       Spring Plant Sale                           50.00

                KEYS BRANCH INCOME                         559.25

                 MEMBERSHIP DUES                             3,362.40

         Total Income                                           12,143.72


                ADMINISTRATION                               1,444.69

                 EDUCATION EXPENSE

                       Event Outreach                            61.60

                              Dade Room Rental                 1,365.00

                              Speaker Fee                          300.0

                       Native Plant Day                           1,539.52

                       Newsletter                                  1,215.57

                        Ramble                                       368.66

                 KEYS BRANCH EXPENSES                    250.00

                 MEMBERSHIP                                     11.15

                 MERCHANDISE FOR SALE                    -1,805.26

          Total Expense                                         4,750.93

   Net Ordinary Income                                         7,392.79

   Net Other Income(Expense)                              -14.93

Net Income                                                       7,377.86

We were fortunate enough this past year to end with a healthy profit thanks to the very generous donation of books from our past Treasurer, Mark Bolla.  A portion of his gift ($3,800 as part of the total of Donations Income) enabled us to show a profit for Native Plant Day and continues to provide much needed funds to the Chapter through the sale of his books at monthly meetings.

Our operating bank balance at June 30, 2010 was $6,559.  A DCFNPS Money Market account holds the Bob Kelley Memorial Fund and the Mary Ann Bolla Fund.  Bob Kelley, a long time DCFNPS member, left funds in his will for our Chapter.  The Kelley Memorial Fund was created for Chapter use on special projects.  When Mary Ann Bolla, also a long time member, passed, donations created the Mary Ann Bolla Fund to support field research for college and graduate students.  No distributions were made from either Fund this past year.

A change in the way our Inventory (books, T-Shirts, gloves, etc.) is tracked resulted in a one-time accounting entry that created the negative balance in the Merchandise for Sale expense.

Our major source of funding is our Membership Dues.  The Florida Native Plant Society forwards us 25% of the dues received from Dade Chapter Members on a quarterly basis.  Please continue to renew your membership in a timely manner.  We welcome all guests at our Monthly Meetings and hope that they will become Members as well.

-- Susan Walcutt, Treasurer


Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Bring at least three flowering/fruiting plants, even if you do not have any pertaining to the topic.  Contact Steve, 786-488-3101,  See Sept. 21 topic: the genus Symphyotrichum (formerly Aster). This genus in the family Asteraceae used to have nearly 600 species in Eurasia and North America.  Research in the 1990s resulted in reclassifying the North American species into other related genera, the largest of which in Florida is Symphyotrichum.

Broward Native Plant Society.  Meets 7-9pm at the Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or

  • Sept. 9 (rescheduled): Chapter meeting.  Dr. John Pipoly will talk about urban forests.
  • Broward Parks' native plant sale, September 11 at Julia Assembly Hall, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach. For info: 954-791-1030 or

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. 305-667-7337, for more details and activities.  Nonmembers are welcome at all activities. To receive a free monthly e-mail TAS newsletter with up to the minute information on activities and conservation news: send your name to

  • Sept. 8: Monthly membership meeting - Jeff Bouton, Digital Photography through a Scope. Doors open 7:30, program at 8pm.
  • Sept. 18: Workday. Help restore native habitat at Doc Thomas House, 8:30 am-1 pm.
  • Sept. 22: Conservation meeting - the discussion is open to all
Oct. 3: BIRD DAYS at Fairchild - programs, bird walks for adults and kids, plant and art vendors. See schedule online.

The Adopt-a-Tree Program.  Miami-Dade single-family or duplex homeowners, may be eligible to receive 2 FREE trees in 2010.  Bring a valid photo ID with your current address (e.g., Driver's License).  Renters should bring a letter from the property owner giving permission to adopt the trees on his/her behalf, along with a photocopy of the property owner's ID.  See  

  • Saturday, Sept. 25, 9am-noon, J.C. Bermudez Park, 3100 NW 87 Ave, Doral.  Rain or shine! The intended distribution includes the natives green buttonwood and paradise tree, as well as non-native fruit/shade trees.  The species list could change, but an update will be posted online on the Monday before the event.  Arrive early to ensure that what you want will still be available.

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See or contact Elane Nuehring, 305-666-5727 or for schedule of butterflying trips, from North Florida to the South Glades of Miami-Dade.

September 25-26, 2010
9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Co-sponsored by
Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.
& Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Robert Michael Pyle, whose most recent book Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year documents the status of butterflies around the country speaks on Saturday.  On Sunday he presents "The Magic of Monarchs."
Rick Cech, author of Butterflies of the East Coast, shares photographic techniques and an update on butterfly biology.  
Alena Edwards talks about butterflies of Puerto Rico.
Sandy Koi gives an update on Atalas. 
Roger Hammer presents South Florida’s Wild Butterfly Habitats & Food Plants, followed by book signing.
… And more!

Special programs for gardeners: Pineland Restoration Gardening for Butterflies by Steve Woodmansee; also Growing Your South Florida Butterfly Garden, and Butterfly Gardening with Herbs.

Childrens activities: Stories, music and crafts.
Butterfly observations and walks in the garden.
Butterfly plant sale - all your favorite vendors

Free after admission to Fairchild.  See or www.fairchildgarden for more details, or contact Fairchild at 305-667-1651.


Have you seen this plant, or do you have it in your yard?

Private landowners can play an important role in conserving rareCrenulate lead plant (Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata) plants.  To determine how important a role they play, Fairchild's Connect to Protect Network would like to find out how many endangered crenulate leadplants may be growing on private land.

If you have this plant growing in your yard and would be willing to participate in our study, please send your name, the number of plants growing, and the address where you've seen the plant to Joyce Maschinski at  With this information we will create a map that shows the number and areas of crenulate leadplants.  It is possible that the plants growing on private land significantly increase the total living plants and help connect the wild populations currently growing in public parks.  Thank you for your participation!

From Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's web site (, in an article on releasing the endangered crenulate lead plant (Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata) into the wild:
"Called the lead plant because of an historic belief that plants of this genus indicate metals in the soil, our local lead plant is imperiled. A combination of a restricted natural distribution and burgeoning development has reduced the available habitat for this species." - Meghan Fellows

Encyclia tampensis - Florida Butterfly Orchid

By Chuck McCartney

On July's Dade Chapter field trip to the Deering Estate, we were lucky to see a number of blooming plants of the so-called Florida Butterfly Orchid. This common name, as pretty as it is, doesn't really make as much sense because the flowers don't particularly resemble butterflies and the species is not known to be pollinated by them. The blooms are more typical of bee-pollinated flowers. Native orchid old-timers called this the Onion Orchid, a name which, although less “poetic,” accurately describes the look of the plant, with its rounded to conical pseudobulbs and long, thick green leaves.

Botanically, this widespread native species is known as Encyclia tampensis. The species name, tampensis, was first applied by John Lindley, the foremost orchid expert of the first half of the 19th Century. He chose the name because the first specimen was sent to him from the Tampa Bay region of Florida by Dr. John Torrey in 1846. The -ensis ending just indicates that the plant is from the place shown in the part of the name that precedes it.

The genus Encyclia to which E. tampensis is now assigned was once included in the giant, diverse New World genus Epidendrum, which has now been split into smaller, more closely related groups by taxonomists (the people who classify living organisms). As now understood, Encyclia includes 158 species ranging from Florida as far south as northern Argentina. The name was first assigned to a Brazilian species where the side lobes of the lip encircle the reproductive column (the structure combining the stamens and pistils that makes the orchid family unique). It is derived from a Greek word meaning “to encircle.”

[Editor's note: See photos of Encyclia tampensis by Shirley Denton at and decide for yourself  -- "onion" or "butterfly"?]

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Book Review:

Reviewed by Chuck McCartney

Among plants adding to the tropical ambience of South Florida's natural landscape are members of the plant family Bromeliaceae, the bromeliads. These are our so-called “air plants,” and they are the most commonly seen and widespread group of epiphytes, or tree-growing plants, found in our state.

Bromeliaceae is sometimes called the pineapple family because that ground-growing species, Ananas comosus from Brazil, is the most familiar representative of the group. But equally familiar to people who have traveled in the American South is Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides, which is, at first glance, about as un-pineapple-like as you can get. But this most widespread of all bromeliads – it ranges from coastal Virginia all the way south to central Argentina and is found in all 67 counties of Florida – is one of the 16 species and two presumed natural hybrids in the family considered native to our state.

These plants are spotlighted in an excellent new book titled Native Bromeliads of Florida by Harry E. Luther and David H. Benzing. At just 126 pages, this concise, informative book is published – appropriately enough -- by Sarasota's Pineapple Press for the modest price of $16.95.  It is nicely illustrated with black-and-white pictures and a few line drawings plus 38 generally high-quality color photographs depicting all the species discussed.

Harry Luther is the resident bromeliad expert at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. David Benzing, who holds a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Michigan, has researched and written extensively on vascular epiphytes, especially bromeliads and orchids. Thus, the reader of Native Bromeliads of Florida could not ask for a more authoritative pair of writers on the subject.

The book delineates Florida's 18 native bromeliads, including the three that do not occur in the southern end of the state -- Tillandsia bartramii, the apparently endemic Tillandsia simulata, and Tillandsia x floridana, a putative hybrid of T. bartramii and T. fasciculata var. densispica.

It also discusses familiar South Florida species, such as the widespread and beautiful Tillandsia fasciculata, with its flame red flower spikes (even though the red comes from colorful bracts protecting the small, tubular purple flowers) and the even more widespread but not so beautiful Ball Moss, Tillandsia recurvata. There's a discussion of our largest bromeliad, Tillandsia utriculata, which is unique among our native species in that it flowers only once then dies. The rarities also are covered, including the tiny Catopsis nutans, which is known in the state only from the Fakahatchee Strand, and the comical and/or eerie little Fuzzy-Wuzzy Air Plant, Tillandsia pruinosa, which doesn't venture very far from the Fakahatchee. Also with its major Florida populations in the Fakahatchee is Guzmania monostachia, the only member of that genus in the state. And then we learn about our insect-eating “carnivorous” air plant, Catopsis berteroniana.

Each of these bromeliads and the other natives is treated with a short chapter that includes a brief taxonomic history of the species, a dot distribution map showing in which of Florida's 67 counties the species occurs, a description of the plant and a discussion of its habitat as well a mention of its distribution outside Florida, plus other interesting tidbits about the species.

There is also a dichotomous key to help distinguish among the three native bromeliad genera (Catopsis, Guzmania and Tillandsia), with further keys to the three Catopsis species and 14 tillandsias. The keys are written in language that's fairly easy to understand for the amateur, and there is a glossary in the back of the book to help with any unfamiliar terms.

But what makes his book equally informative is the introductory material. In just 42 pages, the authors provide a primer on the family Bromeliaceae, which is made up of some 3,400 species mainly in the New World tropics and subtropics, with an odd outlier in adjacent West Africa. In clear, accessible prose, the authors discuss the anatomy and physiology of bromeliads, as well as providing a brief look at the general taxonomy of the family, always putting the Florida species into context within the topic being discussed. There is also a discussion about the threat to our bromeliads by the invasive Metamesius beetle.

This introductory material is invaluable, as is the whole volume. Students and lovers of our indigenous flora will definitely want to add Native Bromeliads of Florida to their library. And it's a publishing bargain to boot.


By Steve Woodmansee
Pro Native Consulting

Bushy fleabane (Pluchea caroliniensis)

Often times, while in the woods, I see some native plants and wonder Why isn't that in cultivation?  Well, now that I am in the business of selling native plants, I have started dabbling with some of these potential gems.  One such plant is Bushy fleabane (Pluchea caroliniensis) in the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae), whose native habitat is the edges of hammocks and disturbed areas in South Florida.

This plant has long been used for its medicinal properties, explaining its other common name “Cure-for-all”.  Leaves are fragrant when crushed, and Santeria practitioners call it Salvia (although it is not related to Sage).  Medicinally they use it as a poultice (with camphor or menthol) for curing bronchial congestion or as a tea for headaches or sore throats.  It has also been used to cure fungal infections on the skin.  One use I need to try out one of these days is to stuff a bunch of leaves under your hat in order to keep you cool!

Another major highlight of this plant is that it is an absolute favorite nectar plant for butterflies and other pollinators.  I have stood in front of Bushy fleabane flowering in the Florida Keys and counted over 10 different types of pollinators on a single cluster of plants.  It is a fast growing medium sized shrub, usually 5-6' in height, and as broad as tall.  It is best for full sun (where the butterflies love to be).  One seeming drawback is that it is short lived; rarely lasting more than 4 or 5 years in the landscape, but that is okay.  We too often view our yards as something permanent, however, Nature doesn't work that way, so why should we?  

If you want oodles of butterflies and other pollinators in your yard, make a place for bushy fleabane!

[This plant and other attractors of pollinating insects will be for sale at the 7th Annual Butterfly Days, September 25-26th, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.]


By Jennifer Possley

Passiflora sexflora, or "goatsfoot" is a Florida-endangered passionflower vine whose global range includes the tropical Americas and the West Indies. Protected areas in Florida that contain wild populations of goatsfoot include Camp Owaissa Bauer, Castellow Hammock, Fuchs Hammock, Hattie Bauer Hammock, and Everglades National Park.

Due to local rarity of this species, Fairchild staff conducted field surveys, mapped individuals, and propagated plants in the nursery from 2002-2005. Goatsfoot propagates very easily from stem cuttings. Our collections flourished in the nursery and before long we had over 100 plants.

Goatsfoot (Passiflora sexflora)On June 14, 2006, staff and volunteers from Fairchild, Miami-Dade, and DCFNPS planted 106 goatsfoot in two separate locations at Hattie Bauer Hammock: interior hardwood hammock (N=61) and disturbed hammock edge (N=45). The habitats differed in that the "interior" was relatively dark yet had few understory species, while the "edge" was bright but was home to many aggressive ruderal vines and herbs. When we last monitored survival in December 2009, we found no plants living in the hammock interior, but plants on the hammock edge continued to fare well, with 49% survival, and the majority climbing up into the canopy, fruiting and flowering.

 These results suggest that light, not space or competition from weed species, is a limiting factor in the success of a goatsfoot population.

 Thank you to the many tough people who helped to plant the goatsfoot (in solid rock!), including volunteers from DCFNPS Lauren McFarland, Linda Peters and Larry Whipple.

Jennifer Possley is a Field Biologist with the Center for Tropical Plant Conservation, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.


You probably have seen e-mails urging you to read this article by Douglas Tallamy, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.  If you haven't done so, follow through -- go to and scroll down to the link to the article from American Forests, Autumn 2009.  Then go out and plant some more natives.

Below are some excerpts from "A Call for Backyard Biodiversity."  Read the full article online.  Tallamy has also published a book, Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife.  These are not the usual "how to landscape for wildlife" but more "why it is so critical to do so."

"You have probably never thought of your property as a wildlife preserve representing the last chance we have to sustain plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S. But that is exactly the role our suburban and urban landscapes are now playing - and will play even more in the near future."

"… We humans have taken 95 percent of nature and made it unnatural. But does this matter? Are there consequences to turning so much land into the parklike settings humans enjoy?  Absolutely, both for biodiversity and for us. Our fellow creatures need food and shelter to survive and reproduce, and in too many places we have eliminated both. State Natural Heritage Centers have estimated that as many as 33,000 species of plants and animals in the U.S are now imperiled - too rare to perform their role in their ecosystem."

"We have planted Kousa dogwood, a species from China that supports only a few insect herbivores, instead of our native flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), which supports 117 species of moths and butterflies alone. In hundreds of thousands of acres, we have planted goldenraintrees, ginkgos, and dawn redwoods from China instead of one of our beautiful native oaks, and in doing so we have lost the chance to grow and support 534 species of caterpillars, all of them nutritious bird food. My research has shown that alien ornamentals support 29 times fewer animals than do native ornamentals."

"We can no longer landscape with aesthetics as our only goal. We must also consider the function of our landscapes if we hope to avoid a mass extinction that we ourselves are not likely to survive.   As quickly as possible, we need to triple the number of native trees in our lawns and underplant them with the understory and shrub layers absent from most managed landscapes. Homeowners can do this by planting the borders of their properties with native trees … Those trees should be underplanted with woodies …"

"Studies have shown that even modest increases in the native plant cover on suburban properties raise the number and species of breeding birds, including birds of conservation concern. As gardeners and stewards of our land, we have never been so empowered to help save biodiversity from extinction, and the need to do so has never been so great. All we need to do is plant native plants!"

DCFNPS member Steve Woodmansee says about the article: "Individual species are bent toward more temperate realms, but the general data are applicable to our own area.  In my own lifetime once common species are now gone in the urban landscape.  At our homes, no longer does one see corn snakes, skinks, scorpions, golden silk spiders, green tree frogs and the many song birds and other creatures which are now extremely rare in our neighborhoods.  The message is clear, native plant landscaping with the goal of attracting insects (combined with zero pesticides) is essential to preserving biodiversity here as well as in natural areas; and this article eloquently states this."


Chapter Contacts

Dade Chapter Board members:
President: Ted Shaffer,
Vice-President: Amy Leonard
Treasurer / Secretary: Susan Walcutt
At Large: Amida Frey, Patty Harris, Gita Ramsay, Vivian Waddell, Lynka Woodbury, Buck Reilly, Lauren McFarland
FNPS board: Lynka Woodbury
Past-President: Robert Harris
Mailing address:

Dade Chapter FL Native Plant Society
6619 South Dixie Highway, #181
Miami FL 33143-7919

General information: 786-340-7914,

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

Memberships: Patty Harris, 305-262-3763

DCFNPS Web page:

DCFNPS Facebook:

Webmasters: Greg Ballinger and Haniel Pulido Jr.,

Tillandsia editors: Patty Phares, 305-255-6404,

State Organization

FNPS Chapter representative: Lynka Woodbury,

FNPS Web Page:

FNPS Blog:

FNPS Facebook:

FNPS Twitter:

FNPS Eco Action Alert List:Send email request to

FNPS (state) office: 321-271-6702,