Print Print     Decrease text size Text Size Increase text size

Newsletter - May 2011

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trip
Message From The President
Could You Be The Next Editor?
FNPS and Dade Chapter News
Other News of Interest
Nursery News
Some Notes On Aquatic Wildflowers
The Fabulous Florida Fish Fuddle Tree
Wishlist for DCFNPS
Laurel Wilt – A New Tree Disease in Miami-Dade County
Contacts for DCFNPS


May 19-22: 31st Annual FNPS Conference, Maitland.
May 24: Monthly meeting and Annual Chapter Business Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
May 29: Field trip - Seminole Wayside Park (South Dade)

June 11: Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
June 25:  Part 1 -Field trip: Restoration site and Kendall Indian Hammocks Park
                Part 2 -Yard visit (near the field trip)
June 28: Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens

July: Annual Evening Yard Visit and Social Meeting. 
Date and location TBA.


Tuesday, May 24, 7:30 pm. (4th Tuesday, not the last) Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 SW 57 Ave (Red Road)

Free and open to the public.

Before the meeting: Help bag seeds at 6:45pm (or bring seed donations).  See announcement on page 2.

Refreshments and merchandise sales begin at 7:15 pm. and continue after the program (cash/checks for only for sales).

Plant raffle.  Following the program you have a chance to win some great natives!  Please label your raffle donations with the plant name (and yours!) and help wipe out "mystery plants."

Annual Chapter Meeting: There will be a brief business meeting to elect board members for 2011-2013 terms.  The Secretary, Treasurer and three Directors at Large will be chosen.

"Horticultural Resource Management for Home Gardens: the Balances between Fertilizer, Water and Health for Natives and Exotics" - Craig Morell, Pinecrest Gardens Horticulturist

You may not fertilize and irrigate your native plants much, if at all, but many of us have a mixture of natives and exotics or lawn, and natives can also benefit from a dose of an appropriate fertilizer and water sometimes.  This program will offer suggestions for improving existing gardens, preparing for new installations, and dealing with upcoming and likely inevitable water shortages. Techniques will be demonstrated for integrating efficient irrigation with controlled release fertilizers, methods to remediate fertilizer deficiencies, and techniques for preventing nutritional shortages.

Craig started growing plants as a child.  After studying horticulture at the University of Florida, he worked as a nursery inspector for the state of Florida, then at a nursery, an orchid company and a resort.  Since 2005 he has overseen the plants at Pinecrest Gardens, including his personal collection of 1800 plants which he donated to the Gardens.  One major renovation project he is currently working on is the mounting of almost 1000 epiphytes in large oak and cypress trees, as well as the planting of 130 native palms and trees.  

June 28 meeting:    

"Why the Future May Not Look Quite Like the Past: The Science and Art of Ecological Restoration" - Wesley Brooks, Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology and Evolution, Rutgers Univ.  The June 25 field trip will visit a hammock restoration by Wes near Kendall Indian Hammocks (followed by a yard visit to a pineland planting also by Wes).


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, May 29: Seminole Wayside Park.  This 28 acre pineland in South Dade is managed by Miami-Dade Parks.  It is somewhat different from other pinelands in Dade County and is under restoration.  When we visited this park in March 2003 the blooming plant list covered about 150 species!

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

After the walk, those interested may go to lunch nearby.

  • Bring/wear: Drinks, sun protection. The habitat is quite open, but close-toed shoes are always recommended.  
  • Difficulty: Easy. 
  • Plant list: The Institute for Regional Conservation, > Floristic Databases Online. 


Time flies!   As president, my main goal in the past year has been to improve the visibility of our chapter.  Some examples of what we have done to accomplish this goal are the electronic newsletter, email announcements to members and the public, more media coverage and our updated Website.  Our new Native Plant Ambassador's Program provides an easy way for volunteers to represent the chapter at public events.

I invite you to listen to our new radio segment!  "The Natives" on "The Garden Show" with Mark Benson airs on 880AM every Sunday at 8 a.m.  The call in number is 305-541-2350.  Please join the discussion and also invite your friends to listen and call in with questions.

I am looking forward to an exciting year and thank you for your continued support.

Happy spring planting,

Ted Shaffer


I am retiring as Tillandsia editor.  My first issue as editor was in January 1986, and I have been on the staff in some capacity ever since.  While this has been an immensely enjoyable and rewarding experience, it is time to pass the torch.  I can say with assurance that this is a great opportunity experience for those who love native plants and also like to work with words.  Why not give it a try?

You don't have to do it alone.  There can be a team whose members work together or alternate.  If you need some help to begin, I can provide support, though you will want to make it your own work in your own style.  The newsletter could be shorter and have fewer announcements, more graphics and updated appearance -- or the opposite.  The important thing is sharing information.  You will have some incredibly knowledgeable and generous contributors.  You will not be responsible for mailing, just creating the newsletter.

Please contact one of us if you have questions or to discuss your possible joining the newsletter team.

 Patty Phares, Editor (305-255-6404,
 Ted Shaffer, President (


Seeds needed (donate anytime) and bagging seeds on May 24 (before the chapter meeting).  Do you have an overabundance of seeds in your garden?  Want to stave off getting too many volunteers in your yard?  We will gladly take your donations!  DCFNPS has been handing out small baggies of seeds with a plant description at public events, and they are quite popular. We'd like your help to continue this by donating seeds or helping to prepare some baggies before our May 24 meeting.  We'll set up at 6:45 pm and work for about 30 minutes to fill dozens of packets.   In the past we've had blackbead, coontie, wild lime, dahoon holly, mahogany, coreopsis (local seed source), marlberry (dried first, please!), coral bean, privet cassia, and many more.  If you can donate any of these or have other species to donate, please contact Amy Leonard, 305-458-0969 or  Thank you for helping spread the word about natives (and their seeds, too!)

Welcome new members!  William and Mary Chandler (Key West), Georgia Tasker (Miami-Dade), Ryan Vogel (FIU student)

The Dade Chapter celebrates spring and Earth Day.

In April, our Native Plant Ambassadors represented the chapter at a host of events:

  • John Pennekamp State Park Native Plant Day/Earth Day
  • Pinecrest Gardens Backyard Garden Festival
  • Pinecrest Gardens Earth Day
  • Whole Foods Earth Day
  • South Miami Farmer's Market
  • FIU's Office of University Sustainability Launch and Eco-Fair
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Food and Garden Festival and Spring Plant Sale

Please contact Amy Leonard, or 305-458-0969 if you would like to help at future community events.

FNPS 31st Annual Conference, May 19-22:  Patios, Preserves and Public Spaces … Making Connections

Visit for registration information, full schedule, field trip descriptions and social events.  Contact FNPS at 321-271-6702 or for assistance.  It's not too late to make plans to attend this interesting and fun event.

FNPS trip to Nicaragua, Nov. 25 - Dec. 5, 2011

Join fellow FNPS members to explore the native flora of the rainforest and cloud forest of Rio San Juan and the Northern Highlands with plant experts.   Reserve your place now!  See  Contact Elston Chavarria  (954) 662- 1539,


"South Florida Friendly Landscapes" Facebook page.   The UF/IFAS  Miami-Dade County Extension invites you to see and "like" their new Facebook page.  Read updates from their experts on gardening issues, plant problems and upcoming events in SE Florida. It's a business page and comments will not be posted, so don't worry about email overload.   Visit

Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Contact Steve, or 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 are encouraged to come.  

  • May 17: Native lichens. (Note change from originally-announced topic.)  Barry Kaminsky, who has been working on lichens in Everglades National Park, will bring a dichotomous key which he is developing.

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

  • May 11:  Mark Westfall, Urban Forester for Coral Springs

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, send your request to

  • May 11: Monthly meeting.  Birds of Botswana. Doors open 7 pm, program 8 pm.
  • May 21: Workday to restore native habitat, 8:30 am -1 pm.

Special events at TAS

  • May 15:  Annual Meeting and Silent Auction 4-7pm.  Former Senator and Governor Bob Graham will speak.  You may also bring items for a time capsule.  Details online.
  • June 4-5: Native plant sale.  9am-5pm on Saturday, 9am-3pm on Sunday.

Help Surfrider Foundation- Miami Chapter restore dunes on Miami Beach, June 4 (10am-1pm).

You don't have to have a surfboard to hang with Surfriders!  Just come to North Shore Open Space Park, (81st and Collins, park along Collins) where volunteers will remove the non-native shrub Scaevola taccada (inkberry) and replant with native coastal dune plants.  This project is part of an ongoing multiyear project to increase native plant diversity on the dunes of Miami Beach. Water, food and supplies will be provided by Surfrider.  It will be hot, so bring a hat and sunblock, sneakers (not sandal/flipflops is suggested).  Contact Sam Wright (, 305-342-2499) if you plan to attend or have any questions.  The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world's oceans, waves and beaches. (

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. 

  • May 14: Rockdale Pineland (planting), SW 144 St & 92 Ave.

Paid advertising

18800 SW 218 Street
Miami FL 33170

Four bedroom, 3 bath, 3,000 square foot custom build home for sale on 2 Acres (1.65 net as 2 separate folios).  The second folio is a one acre buildable lot. 

The property is totally landscaped with native plants, a minimum of 75 species, birds and butterflies galore! 

Asking price $385,000 for both folios. 
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Randy Quick, 305-505-4392.  No Realtors.


Joyce Gann's Mom's house.  Living room, dining area, kitchen, master bedroom & bath, laundry room, garage, plus Florida room overlooking a bird & butterfly garden designed and installed by FNPS members.  Your own entry garden could be designed by you! 

Cooled by FL breezes - AC seldom needed. Walk or bike to grocery, drugstore and other shops, post office, Miami-Dade College and other educational institutions. 

Call Cathy Cotton, 305-235-2313.


Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  The Association of Florida Native Nurseries (AFNN) is no more -- now it's known as the Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN)!   See the new logo at   This year, FANN celebrates 25 years of industry leadership in growing, planting and promoting native plants.

Also see the Native Plant and Service Directory: ( and

The Guide for Real Florida Gardeners: ( 

The Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN) is the largest native nursery association in the United States.  It supports the preservation and conservation of native plants in their natural habitats and encourages the planting of native species in landscaping.

Two nurseries are being added to our list of places you can shop for South Florida native plants:

  • Florida NatureScape - Native Nursery & Landscape Design. Davie. 954-540-4061. Retail on Sundays by appointment.
  • Jesse Durko's Nursery. Davie. 954-873-4563.

   See for more local nurseries that sell natives.


Photo of Thalia geniculata

Alligator flag - Photo by Chuck McCartney

At the March meeting of the Dade Chapter FNPS, Chuck McCartney presented a slide program illustrating 38 of the common aquatic and wetland wildflowers of South Florida. The point of his program wasn't to recommend any of these for growing in native plant gardens.  Rather, he intended to familiarize those in the audience with these species so they could be recognized when encountered in the wild.  However, in the audience that night were Joyce and Donald Gann, two veteran native plant nursery owners and longtime chapter members, who made notes to offer guidance to those who might be interested in growing some of the species Chuck discussed.

The following are species Joyce and Don noted will grow in homeowners' ponds or in water-holding pots: Canna flaccida (Golden Canna); Nymphaea elegans (Blue Waterlily); Nymphaea odorata (Fragrant Waterlily); Nymphoides aquatica (Floating Hearts);  Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed); Sagittaria graminea (Grassy-Leaf Duck Potato); Sagittaria lancifolia (Lance-Leaf Duck Potato); and Thalia geniculata (Alligator Flag).

Photo of Hibiscus grandiflorus

Swamp Rose Mallow - Photo by Shirley Denton

For another group, Joyce and Don indicated that these species would grow in low spots in people's yards: Annona glabra (Pond Apple); Asclepias lanceolata (Glades Milkweed); Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush); Hibiscus grandiflorus (Swamp Rose Mallow); Ipomoea sagittata (Glades Morning Glory); Iris hexagona (Prairie Iris); Kosteletzkya pentacarpos/virginica (Marsh Mallow); Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay Magnolia); Sarcostemma clausum (White Milkweed Vine); and Symphyotrichum carolinianum (Carolina or Climbing Aster). For the last two species listed above, Joyce and Don appended the following comments: Climbing Aster – "rampant grower"; White Milkweed Vine – "climbs -- butterfly host plant."

Joyce and Don indicated that five of the species could grow under either condition, that is, in ponds or water-holding pots or in low spots in the yard: Crinum americanum (String Lily or Swamp Lily); Hymenocallis palmeri (Alligator Lily or Glades Spider Lily); Justicia angusta (Narrow-Leaf Waterwillow); Lobelia glandulosa (Glades Lobelia); and Saururus cernuus (Nodding Lizard's Tail).

The Ganns listed no growing suggestions for the other species included in Chuck's talk: Habenaria repens (Water Spider Orchid); Ipomoea alba (Moonflower); Ludwigia octovalvis (Lesser Primrose Willow); Ludwigia peruviana (Peruvian Primrose Willow – now considered a non-native species); Nuphar advena (Spatterdock; Bonnet Lily); Packera glabella (Butterweed); Peltandra virginica (Green Arrow Arum); Pistia stratiotes (Water Lettuce – debatably native); Platanthera nivea (Snowy Orchid); Spiranthes laciniata (Lace-Lip Ladies'-Tresses Orchid); Spiranthes odorata (Fragrant Ladies'-Tresses Orchid); Utricularia cornuta (Horned Bladderwort); Utricularia foliosa (Leafy Bladderwort); Utricularia inflata (Floating Bladderwort); and Utricularia purpurea (Eastern Purple Bladderwort).

- Chuck McCartney


by Steve Woodmansee, Pro Native Consulting

More commonly known as the Jamaican Dogwood, Florida Fish Fuddle Tree (Piscidia piscipula) merits attention in the landscape as it is indeed a showy flowering native tree.  Flowering in May, it holds its own with another member of the pea family (Fabaceae), the Madagascar native Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia).  Tree branches become covered by papillionoid (butterfly shaped) flowers possessing a blend of rosy white with green spots. 

Photo of Piscidia piscipula Jamaican Dogwood - Photo by Roger Hammer

Also similar to many showy flowering trees, it typically sheds its leaves before flowering.  Fruits are chartaceous (papery) winged seedpods, beige in color.  Jamaican Dogwood is a large tree to 45 feet in Florida, and is constituent of rockland hammock and/or shell mound habitats along the coast line from Miami-Dade County, through Monroe County including the Florida Keys, north along Florida's west coast to Pinellas County in addition to the Tropical Americas.  It does not tolerate freezes, but is drought and salt wind tolerant, and well adapted to our soils and climate.  In hurricanes, they tend to shed their limbs first, rather than fall over.  It is pollinated by insects (including butterflies) and is a host plant for the Hammock Skipper Butterfly (Polygonus leo ssp. savigny).

So what's up with the funky names of this native tree you may wonder?  Well the Jamaican Dogwood nomenclature, is due to the fact that at one time the wood of the tree was used to build dogs (the word dog here is applied to its engineering use, which is a mechanical device used to grip things) on a sea going vessels.  It is not due to any physical similarities to true Dogwoods, which are members in the genus Cornus in the Cornaceae.  The Scientific Name, Piscidia piscipula and the other common name Florida Fish Fuddle Tree, refer to its use to poison fish.  The extinct Calusa and Tequesta Native Americans used the bark, leaves, and roots to go fishing.  Native Americans would take advantage of small bays and tidal creeks that occur naturally, or create them as part of their shell mound design (all shell mounds were built by the Native Americans).  They would block off the entrance to the pool, and then dump the bark and leaves in the water.  The rotenone found in this plant leaches out into the water, fish inhale it through their gills, stunning them, whereby they float to the water surface making them easy to gather.  Although toxic in our bloodstream, rotenone is poorly absorbed within our gut, thereby leaving the fish edible.  Today it is illegal in Florida to use this method of fish capture. 

Now is a good time to take a drive along the Overseas Highway through the Florida Keys as you will see everywhere Jamaican Dogwood in spectacular bloom.


Please contact Amy Leonard, or 305-458-0969 if you can donate any of these items.  Thank you!

General Items

  • 1 laptop
  • Select-a-size paper towels
  • Vases (small to medium sized for tabletop displays)
  • Mailing labels - $24 - donated by Lauren McFarland
  • Colored copy paper

For Native Plant Day and/or Ramble

  • Paper pot maker - recycling newspaper into plant pots - activity for kids - $16.95 each, 4 needed
  • Banner for Hands on & Kids area - cost $125
  • 3 parking signs, $25 each
  • 4" pots
  • Soil (2 bags or more)
  • Spray bottles
  • New dry erase board (roughly 3'x2' )
  • Children's scissors
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Awls (2-3)
  • Glue sticks
  • Hand lenses or magnifying glasses (2-3)

Paid advertising
Plant Sale Advertisment


A very serious new tree disease called laurel wilt (Raffaelea lauricola) has been found in Miami-Dade County. It was detected in February 2011, and at this time (May 2011), the infected area is west of Kendall along Krome avenue, north of Kendall Drive. Infected trees also have been found next to residential areas in the Bird Drive Everglades Wetland Basin (this area is just west of Kendall). Dead swamp bay trees have tested positive for laurel wilt disease. This disease is spread by the redbay ambrosia beetle.

Photo: Dead swamp bayPhoto: Dead swamp bay in Miami-Dade
County. University of Florida/IFAS

The plants that are affected by this disease are avocado, and the following native trees: swamp bay (Persea palustris), red bay (Persea borbonia) and lancewood (Ocotea coriacea). All of these trees are in the laurel (Lauraceae) family. There are a few other shrubs and trees in this plant family that grow in South Florida but they are rarely grown in the home landscape. Most members of the laurel family have fragrant leaves when crushed (smells similar to bay leaf).

Trees and plants that are not in the laurel family do not get laurel wilt. This means that most plants grown in south Florida landscapes are immune to this disease.

SYMPTOMS OF LAUREL WILT.  Be on the lookout for:

  • A sudden wilting of leaves and twigs, small holes in the bark.
  • Dead leaves still attached to the branch.
  • Sawdust "toothpicks" sticking out of the bark or sawdust at the base of the tree.
  • Wood inside the tree is discolored (usually dark blue or dark brown). You can remove a piece of the bark to check for streaks of discoloration.
Wilt in red bayPhoto: Wilt in red bay during initial disease stages.
Stephen Fraedrich, USDA Forest Service

If you suspect laurel wilt is affecting your avocado, red bay, swamp bay, or lancewood trees, please report it to the Division of Plant Industry at 1-888-397-1517.  They are monitoring where the disease is moving in Florida and in Miami-Dade County. They may want to test your tree to see it is dying due to laurel wilt.

POSSIBLE TREATMENTS.  For native trees only: as a preventative treatment, a professional landscape pest control company or a certified arborist with a pesticide license can do a "macro-infusion" of Alamo® (propiconazole) fungicide. When done correctly, this fungicide treatment lasts about two years. However, this fungicide cannot be used on avocado in the landscape at this time (it is not labeled for fruit trees in residential sites). Be aware that once the native tree starts showing symptoms of laurel wilt, it's too late for treatment.

HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF LAUREL WILT.  When removing a dying branch or tree, the following is recommended:

  • When removing an infected branch, cut it off several feet below the infected portion.
  • Chip up the branch or tree on site.
  • Keep chipped wood on top of the tree stump and cover with a tarp since redbay ambrosia beetles are very small and can survive the chipping process.
  • Tuck the edges of the tarp into the soil or cover the edges with soil to prevent the beetles from escaping.
  • Leave the tarp in place until the chips are decomposed to make sure all the beetles are dead.

If you have any questions and what you can do, please contact the UF/Miami-Dade County Extension office 305 248-3311 x 228 or 222.  Please visit our web site for updates, workshops, and publications:

Written by Adrian Hunsberger, M.S., Urban Horticulture Agent and Entomologist, Univ. of Fla./ Miami-Dade County Extension.

About your Tillandsia delivery

Most members now receive their Tillandsia and Sabal Minor (state FNPS newsletter) by email only. 

To change your delivery preference (postal mail or email) or email address(es), please contact FNPS (321-271-6702 or  Reference your Sabal Minor delivery preference (both newsletters are delivered the same way.)

If you elect postal mail delivery but also have an email address on record, you will receive Tillandsia by both electronic and postal mail.  If you like the electronic version and decide to change to email delivery only, you can always print it to have a copy just like the paper version -- and help the finances of FNPS and the Chapter.

You can also contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, with questions.

The electronic Tillandsia is available as a downloadable pdf file each month (to Chapter members only) until the next month's newsletter is posted.  You will receive an email with a link to the pdf file.


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,