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Newsletter - February 2011

February Meeting, Miami-Dade
Tillandsia Goes Electronic
Upcoming Field Trip
Native Plant Day − Make It The Best One Ever!
Chapter News
Chapter Project At Everglades National Park
Other News of Interest
Hammock Shrubverbena
Harvesting and Storing Seeds
Contacts for DCFNPS


Feb. 5: Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
Feb. 22: Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
Feb. 27: Field trip (west end of Loop Road, Big Cypress)

Mar. 12: Native Plant Day in North Miami - save the date!
Mar. 22: Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
March field trip: TBA

Apr. 2: Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
Apr. 26: Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
Apr. 30-May 1: FTBG Food & Garden Festival/Spring Sale

May 19-22: 31st Annual FNPS Conference, Maitland. Registration now open at


Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 7:30 pm, at Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 SW 57 Ave (Red Road), Pinecrest, FL 33156.

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. 

Please label your raffle donations with the plant name (and yours!) and help wipe out "mystery plants."  Even the experts can be hard-pressed to distinguish among related small plants.

"Hybrids in Paradise: Lantana cultivars and rare Lantana depressa varieties."  Joyce Maschinski, Conservation Ecologist, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Thinking of buying a lantana at Home Depot?  Trying to grow good native lantanas to sell?  Come to this program to learn the scoop about cultivated lantanas and their impact on wild rare natives. Cultivated lantanas have been extremely popular, inexpensive, showy plants promoted as great butterfly plants.  As early as the 1980s Roger Sanders showed that cultivars hybridized with three rare Lantana depressa varieties in South Florida.  He warned that this may lead to the extirpation of the species. 

To answer the question of what impact cultivar-native hybridization was having on rare populations, we returned to populations that have been documented by Florida Natural Areas Inventory and collected stem cuttings to propagate and grow under similar conditions in the Fairchild nurseries.  We examined both the morphology and genetic fingerprints of two of the rare Lantana varieties. Variety depressa naturally grow in pine rocklands in Miami-Dade County and variety floridana grows in coastal strand habitats along the eastern coast of South Florida. In this program you will learn about our findings and the general impacts that lantana cultivars have had throughout the world. 

Since 2002, Dr. Joyce Maschinski has served as the Conservation Ecologist leading the South Florida Conservation Program at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  Her applied and theoretical research on rare plants of South Florida focuses on understanding factors that limit or allow the expansion of rare plant populations.  In South Florida, she leads an effort to encourage creating corridors of native plants in public spaces to reduce extinction risk of our rarest native plants. Recently, she coordinated the Center for Plant Conservation review of rare plant reintroductions and is advocating a process for evaluating conservation choices in the face of climate change.

Upcoming meetings:    

  • March 22: "Splish-splash: A Look at South Florida's Aquatic and Wetland Plants" by Chuck McCartney.
  • April 26: Dr. Tom Lodge will discuss the 3rd edition of his book The Everglades Handbook- Understanding the Ecosystem


Pixels or paper?  Our New Year's resolution is "going green" to conserve valuable resources. This month, Tillandsia is being sent by both postal and email delivery to all members. 

Beginning in March

  • Everyone who has an email address on the membership roster will receive the Tillandsia via email.
  • Those members who receive the Sabal Minor (FNPS bi-monthly newsletter) via postal mail will continue to receive the Tillandsia via postal mail. 

The electronic Tillandsia will be available online each month as a pdf file via a link sent to current chapter members.  You can download and print it (just like the paper Tillandsia!) or save it, or simply open and view.  The email will be sent early each month in which the newsletter is published.  (This link is not available to the general public -- just for members!)  The monthly pdf newsletter will remain on the website until the next newsletter is posted.  (Archived newsletters are still viewable in html format.)

If you choose the postal delivery of Sabal Minor and also have an email address on the membership roster, you will receive both print and electronic TillandsiaIf you find that the electronic delivery works for you, please consider switching to electronic only!  Hopefully, you will want to save the paper and postage expense and opt for the electronic delivery of the Sabal Minor and Tillandsia.

Current and archived Tillandsia are also available for viewing in html, as usual, at However, some details of events not open to the public may be removed in this public version.

If you experienced any problems receiving the electronic Tillandsia sent to you in January or February (or in the future) or have questions, please let us know by sending a message to  If you need to talk to someone, please leave a message at the chapter phone (786-340-7914).

To add or change your email address or change your delivery preference for Sabal Minor (and Tillandsia), please contact FNPS at or call (321) 271-6702. Updates will be reflected in the monthly membership roster sent to the chapter at the end of each month.  It may take up to 6 weeks or so for changes to be reflected in our records.


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, February 27, 2011, 9 am - 2 pm.  Gator Hook Trail, Loop Road, Big Cypress

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

This trail, opened in about 2004, runs along an old tramway through short hydroperiod marsh, dwarf cypress and cypress dome habitat.  On our visit in February 2007, tillandsias were in full color in great abundance, as were quite a few wildflower species. We will walk some of this trail and eat lunch, and depending on the conditions, visit hydric pineland and other habitats nearby along Loop Road.

  •  Difficulty: Moderate - on trails but rocky, uneven, possibly muddy or a bit wet -- we won't know until we get there.  We will avoid real wading.  A walking stick can be helpful!
  •  Bring/wear: Wear sturdy closed shoes that can get muddy and long pants. Carry water and snacks.  Bring lunch if you care to picnic with the group.
  •  Leader: Marty Roessler

 Lost?  Try Patty's cell (305-878-5705, only use that morning).


Native Plant Day will be held on March 12, 2011, at Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park in the City of North Miami.  Our annual public outreach and education day will have activities for all ages: walks, programs, plants for sale, and more!  Bring your family and friends to enjoy this free day of fun and learning with us!  Our program will be available on the chapter website as we get closer to the event.  

As a chapter member, we hope that you'll help us make the day a big success!  

  • February 20th: Can you give an hour or so of your time placing address labels on the postcards that we mail out?  We'll be meeting at the Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 De Soto Boulevard) at 2 p.m..  Contact Amy if you're able to give your time or for more information.
  • Help distribute stacks of postcards.  Pick some up anytime after the 20th and place them at your grocery store, doctor's office, library, or other well-trafficked area (with permission, of course!).  Contact Amy or pick some up at the February meeting at Pinecrest Gardens.
  • Help set up on March 11th.  We need about a half-dozen people to help us prepare the day before NPD.  Setting up the raffle and other stations, as well as moving tables and hanging signs are easy yet essential things you could help us with Friday afternoon.  Contact Amy if you can help.
  • Loan butterfly larvae, potted host/nectar plants or other interesting display plants or items.  Contact Patty Phares.
  • Raffle Donation and Plant Sale donations: We sell plants (in addition to our usual merchandise selection) to raise funds for the chapter at Native Plant Day.  We also hold a raffle of some of the best and most rare plant specimens and gardening items you'll find.  Please start grooming your plants now to prepare!  Contact Amy if you need to drop them off in advance of the event or so we can prepare for the selection you'll bring.
  • Help at Native Plant Day!  On March 12th we will need about 40 volunteers to make the event happen.  If you can give us part of your morning or afternoon, you'll still have plenty of time to enjoy the event!  Please contact Gita if you, your family members, or a group of young people you know might be able to give us some of your time.

Contact information:

Amy Leonard (305-458-0969 or
Patty Phares (305-255-66404 or
Gita Ramsay (786-877-7168 or


Native plant photos needed.  If you have a digital camera and a few minutes of time in your own yard, you can help!  The Chapter is seeking photos for a few projects.  We would like close ups of flowers (with or without wildlife) and growth habit, whole plants and landscapes.  High resolution photos are desired, but any help from you would be a great start!  Next time you walk around your yard or favorite natural area, please take your digital camera with you. Email photos to Photo credit will be given in the upcoming projects.

Keys Branch News.  At the present time there are no activities scheduled for the 2010-2011 season.   If you would like to help get the Keys Branch going again, please contact Ted Shaffer, the Chapter President, at

Welcome to new members! Andro Garcia-Lee, Susan Shapiro, John Stevens

Thanks to the newsletter production staff!  As we cease the mass mailing of print newsletters, we must express our deepest appreciation to Gwladys Scott and Jan Kolb, who have been the backbone of the newsletter folding team for many years, and to Hal Peters, who produced newsletter labels since 1986.  Believe it or not, Gwladys may have folded over 20000 newsletters in 20-plus years.  Folding and mailing will continue on a greatly reduced scale, giving Gwlady's fingers a well-deserved rest.

Science Fair Awards. Unfortunately, there were no projects this year that met the criteria for the George Avery Award for South Florida Science and Engineering Fair Projects.  - Gita Ramsay


The new FNPS online store is open at  Everything from art to totes and tees!

FNPS Handbook. Are you curious about how FNPS and its chapters are structured and how they should operate?  View the updated "FNPS Handbook Wiki" is now available for chapters to utilize and comment on at

Member communication preferences (From Cammie Donaldson, Administrative Services)

The Sabal Minor is delivered by email unless members request otherwise. There is a preference "flag" in each member's record to record email or postal delivery of Sabal Minor. Each paper issue costs around $4.50 per member, so the savings really add up. We plan to offer these options to Palmetto readers in the future, and also incorporate a chapter newsletter communication preference flag, to help chapters who want to maintain email/postal mail lists for member newsletters.

Conference registration is open for "Patios, Preserves and Public Spaces … Making Connections"

The Central Florida Chapters (Cuplet Fern, Lake Beautyberry, Pine Lily and Tarflower) are planning another smash hit annual conference this on May 19-22 in Maitland. Register now to get your pick of field trips and save $25. Visit for registration, full schedule, field trip descriptions, social events and sponsor information.  Contact FNPS at 321-271-6702 or for assistance.

New this year:

  • Offset your carbon footprint created by attending the FNPS Conference by checking the $5 Carbon Footprint Offset Program donation on the conference registration form. FNPS will donate these funds to Oakland Nature Preserve, Inc., a 501(c)3, to support tree planting for sandhill restoration on the 128- acre preserve located south of Lake Apopka in Central Florida.
  • Bring your own goodie bag and win a prize!
  • Watch the FNPS blog for continuous updates on the conference:

Landscape Awards

Applications for the FNPS Landscape Awards are due on March 18, 2011.   Submit a landscape or restoration in your own yard, school, business, municipality or elsewhere, or suggest it to others.  It's not just for FNPS members!

FNPS Palmetto Awards  

Do you know someone who deserves an award for service to FNPS, education on Florida native plants or contributions to the science of Florida native plants?  If so, let your chapter representative know before February 10, 2011

Endowment Grant Awards for funding research on native plants. 

These small grants (typically $2500 or less), awarded for a 1-year period, are intended to support research that forwards the mission of FNPS "to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida."  Application deadline is March 4, 2011.


Tenth Anniversary of restoring native habitat at the Coe Visitors Center

In the fall of 2000, Ranger Alan Scott of Everglades National Park approached Chapter President Carrie Cleland to ask the Dade Chapter to engage in a project to enhance the landscaping around the Coe Visitors Center.  There was a great need for the plantings not only to look nicer but to more accurately recreate native habitat.  We agreed to try, and the first workday was held on January 20, 2001, with 40 volunteers from age 4 to 83.  Ten years and over 60 workdays later, the area planted and maintained by the chapter actually looks a lot like a little slice of Everglades!

Gita Ramsay, a chapter member who has helped at workdays (along with her husband) expressed her kudos at our last meeting: "I want to let everyone know that the work we have done at the Coe Visitor Center is noticed by other people and appreciated.  My husband's grandmother was here during the Christmas break, and we took her to the Everglades.  At the Visitors Center she remarked on how nice the landscaping was, and I was proud to be able to say that was due to our Chapter's effort."

Stan Boynton of the Everglades Foundation (and also a DCFNPS member) takes groups of local leaders in business, industry and government on tours of the Everglades. He says, "I have found it useful to take the guests on a short tour of the native plants at the Visitor Center and talk about the importance of native species in the South Florida habitat. It is clear from their reactions that this experience is an eye-opener and that many of them have not given much thought to the plant life that surrounds them and the difference between native and exotic species. Since these visitors are prominent people in South Florida, it is likely that the learning experience will do more than simply shape their concept of what their front yards should look like."

Congratulations and thanks to the dozens of volunteers -- chapter members and friends -- who made this happen and who continue to show up every other month to tend the plantings.  We would like to have more of you join us!  The next workday is on April 2. (Details in the next Tillandsia.)


Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Contact Steve,  786-488-3101; see Bring at least three plants (especially flowering/fruiting), even if they do not pertain to the topic.  Beginners and old hands welcome!  

  • Feb. 15: Mangroves and the plant families to which they belong (Rhizophoraceae, Avicenniaceae, and Combretaceae).
Florida Rare Plant Task Force Meeting at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, March 31 - April 1, 2011.   This year's meeting features "Preserving Rare Plant Diversity on Public Lands." Registration and meeting agenda are available online at

Seeds available. DCFNPS member Raul Moas has seeds to share with anyone interested.  There are lots of coontie (Zamia integrifolia) seeds, as well as seeds of the endangered shrub crenulate leadplant (Amorpha herbacea  var. crenulata) and the pineland wildflower pine hyacinth (Clematis baldwinii). Please contact him at

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

  • Feb 9: Birding and Native Plants that Attract Birds - Barbara DeWitt
  • Feb. 12: Field trip to Pan's Garden and Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach

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 request to

  • Conservation Concerts and Art Nights: Read the e-mail or check the website for these fun activities that also support TAS environmental efforts.
  • Feb. 9: Monthly meeting.  Doors open 7 pm, program at 8 pm. See the website for the speaker and topic.
  • Feb 19: Workday to restore native habitat, 8:30 am-1 pm.

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See or contact Elane Nuehring, 305-666-5727 or for trips and other activities.

  • Miami Blue's "Wings of Wonder" butterfly photo exhibit through February 26 at the new Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center and Oasis Visitor Center, 9 to 4:30 daily. Free admission. Details and directions: 239-695-1201.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum, Univ. of Miami.  See or call 305-284-1302.

  • February 23: Meeting at 7 pm, Cox Science Bldg., Room 166.  Speaker: Dr. Paul Groff, Gifford Arboretum Director, "Plant collecting in and around the Great Basin."

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas workdays.  To volunteer, call 305-257-0933 ext. 227 or e-mail  See  Help protect and restore our precious natural areas. 

  • Feb.12: County Line Scrub Preserve (vine removal/trail maintenance) NE 215 St, east of San Simeon Way (near 6 Ave) EEL preserve, not regularly open to the public
  • Feb.18 (Fri.): Chernoff Hammock (trash removal) SW 216 St & 154 Ave.
  • Mar.5: Florida City Pineland (cleanup) SW 345 St. & 8 Ave.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. The Delicate Balance of Nature Lecture Series.

7:30-8:30 pm at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, MM 102.5, Key Largo. Gate opens 7pm. Free, seating limited. For info call 305-451-9570 or see

  • Feb. 9: Mangroves: What are they? What are they good for? And what threatens them? - Dr. Martin Roessler.
  • Feb. 16: "The Endangered Key Largo Woodrat" - Steve Klett, Crocodile Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
  • Feb. 23: "Conservation Measures for Special Rare Plants of the FL Keys" - Joyce Maschinski, Fairchild Trop. Botanic Garden.
  • Mar. 2: "Ecomariner" (boating practices to reduce damage to marine environment) - Rob Clift, Nat. Parks and Consv. Assoc.
  • Mar. 9: Roseate Spoonbills in Florida Bay: Pink Canary in a Coal Mine" - Jerry Lorenz, Audubon Science Center.


By Jennifer Possley and Joyce Maschinski

At the February meeting, guest speaker Joyce Maschinski from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden will speak about her work with Lantana hybridization in Florida.  As some DCFNPS members may remember, Fairchild has worked with more than one rare Lantana species over the years.  In 2005 and 2007, several DCFNPS members and Boy Scouts assisted with an outplanting of "hammock shrubverbena," a.k.a Lantana canescens, in Miami’s Camp Owaissa Bauer and Castellow Hammock Parks.

Lantana canescens
Photo by Jennifer Possley

Lantana canescens is native to Miami-Dade County, the southern tip of Texas, the tropical Americas, and the West Indies.  In Florida it is an extremely rare plant listed as endangered by the state of Florida.  It is native to the ecotone between pine rockland and rockland hammocks.  Today in Miami-Dade County this type of ecotone is very scarce due to a combination of fragmentation and fire suppression.  Florida’s last known remaining wild population of L. canescens was located at Camp Owaissa Bauer.  While Fairchild’s 2003 census showed 44 plants, since then its numbers have plummeted.  A December 2010 survey by Fairchild and County biologists failed to locate any living wild plants.  Lantana canescens may now be extirpated from its last known wild populations. 

Yet thanks to some quick actions, Fairchild, Miami-Dade County and DCFNPS have ensured it will remain in Miami-Dade County for years to come.  Through our experimental outplantings, we have learned that Lantana canescens is typically a short-lived perennial (most individuals in our study did not live more than 5 years), but it re-seeds itself prolifically.  In fact, while our total number of outplants was only 370, today there are thousands of progeny from these original plantings; most of these are at Camp Owaissa Bauer.  Special thanks to DCFNPS members for their help with this project, including Daniel Wheeler, Libby Mahaffey, Lauren McFarland, Patty Phares, Mary Rose, Lynka Woodbury and Steve Woodmansee.

By the way—Lantana canescens also still flourishes in many of Miami’s private yards and in nursery stock.  If you are interested in owning one of these plants for yourself (it is an excellent butterfly attractant!), check with native nurseries. 

Editor's note: The following is a description of the plant from Jennifer's earlier article on Lantana canescens in the January 2006 Tillandsia, online at>

"Lantana canescens, or hammock shrubverbena, is an unassuming native shrub that you will not encounter on field trips … this Florida endangered plant is extremely rare!  Seldom surpassing 6 ft tall, Lantana canescens has clusters of white flowers similar to those of Lantana involucrata (wild sage).  However, Roger Hammer notes that L. involucrata flowers are often violet-tinged.  Another difference from L. involucrata is that Lantana canescens is our only native lantana that does not produce clusters of purple or blue berries; instead it has fruiting heads that look like tiny green artichokes bearing papery brown 'nutlets' between green bracts.  The nutlets are easily shaken out by the wind."

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by Steven W. Woodmansee, Pro Native Consulting

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to growing new native plant species is obtaining seeds and germplasm for them.  Germplasm is a term used to describe any plant material used in propagation.  It could be seeds, cuttings, air layers or tissue (root or otherwise).  The plant nursery industry often prefers cuttings or tissue culture as they present the easiest or cheapest way to mass produce plants, as well as preserve certain plant character­istics.  Seeds are generally the preferred method ecologically, as each seed will present a unique set of genetic material thereby assuring genetic diversity within a species and preventing things like artificial genetic drift (i.e., plants will no longer be selected for survivability), disease susceptibility, inbreeding, etc.

Not all plants are the same when it comes to harvesting, storing, and germinating seed or fruit.  First things first, when harvesting wet or pulpy fruit, in general it is best to clean remove the flesh and have clean seeds.  If you don’t have time to clean the fruit right away, store it in a lidless bucket with some water for less than 24 hours.  If you need more time, place them on some netting in the sun so that the flesh may dry out.  It is okay if ants eat the flesh off the fruits for you.  Then you can soak the fruit in a bucket for 24 hours or less and clean them.  You may need to cover the bucket or netting to prevent the birds from eating all your harvest.  For plants with very small seeds (e.g., corkystem passionflower, ficus spp., or tetrazygia), you can crush the fruits on newspaper and let the pulp dry out over the afternoon.  Once dry, it is not necessary to painstakingly separate the seed from the dried pulp before storing the seeds.  For plants with seed in a fruit which is a capsule that opens up, collect the fruits and place them in a paper bag in a cool dry place, under an air conditioning vent, or even in the sun.  The capsules will pop open and eject the seeds, so it is important to keep the bag tightly closed.  For some plants, such as many wildflowers, it is unnecessary to clean seeds before storing.

Once seeds are clean, store them in paper bags, paper envelopes, glassine envelopes (like the ones from the Post Office), or if they are in a closed jar or can, be sure to ventilate it at the top by making a hole in the lid.  Store all seed containers in a cool dry place that is well ventilated.  Heat, especially moist heat, is the biggest threat to seed storage.  Although there may be some exceptions such as cold storage, seeds should never be kept in sealed containers or plastic bags of any sort or they may develop fungal issues and rot.  For some species, the older the seed, the less likely it will germinate. 

Below are some other tips on seed storing: 

  • Temperate plant species generally have seeds that store well over time, and they may need a period of cold in order to germinate (e.g., Dahoon holly, oaks, blueberries).
  • Tropical plant species from moist habitats (such as hardwood hammocks) and palms generally do not have seeds that store well over time (e.g., Lignum vitae, capers, strongbacks). 
  • Large seeds, wildflower seeds and legume seeds (members of the pea family) may often store for many years (e.g., Jamaican dogwood, milk peas, skyblue clustervine, tickseed).

FNPS members John Lawson of Silent Native Nursery and Rob Campbell of Signature Palms contributed to this article.

Saturday, March 12, 2011, 9 am - 4 pm

The Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park
1725 NE 135th Street North Miami, FL 33161
Co-sponsored by
The Dade Chapter FNPS and the City of North Miami.

Programs, nature walks, hands-on activities, plant sales, raffles!

An official event of Dade Heritage Days, a celebration of Miami-Dade's historic places. Details upcoming in the March newsletter.

  • Starting in March, most member will receive Tillandsia only by email. Be sure to watch your email during the first week of each month!
  • Monthly meetings are now held at Pinecrest Gardens.


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,