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Newsletter - July 2011

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trip
Join the Tillandsia Team
Dade Chapter and FNPS News
Roger Hammer to be honored by conservation nonprofits
Other News and Events
Fleabanes - a genus worth cultivating
FNPS Landscape Award
Contacts for DCFNPS


July 16: Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
July 23: Annual Evening Yard Visit and Social Meeting.
               (No meeting at Pinecrest Gardens.)
Aug. 7: Conservation organizations honor Roger Hammer  at Castellow Hammock
Aug. 13:  Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
(No meeting in August – see you in September)

              (No July meeting at Pinecrest Garden)

Saturday, July 23
Time: 4:00 - 6:30 pm (guided yard tour 4:30; potluck dinner 5:30; plant raffle follows dinner).
Who’s invited: FNPS members and their families and guests.
Where:  A member's yard in Homestead
Bring: Pot luck dish (main, side/salad, dessert) and raffle plants.  Drinks, plates, utensils, etc. will be supplied.

This well-known member’s yard is a mixture of native and select non-native trees, shrubs, vines, and palms. More than 30 species of butterflies and over 100 species of birds have been identified on this historic property, which sports a natural pool with remote-controlled waterfalls. The homeowner is a retired Miami-Dade County naturalist, author, photographer and native plant aficionado with lots of tales to accompany discussion of plants and nature, so you're sure to find this visit entertaining as well as informative.


We will take a break from field trips in the steamy weather.  But September is right around the corner!  If you have a request or comments about field trips, please contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404,


If you have some talent for composing text or doing layout, or could spend a couple hours a month gathering content, being on the newsletter staff is an important way to help DCFNPS.  You will be provided with whatever help you need to get started as part of a team (or by yourself, if you prefer).  You can volunteer for specified months if needed.  If you aren’t sure, just contact us to talk about it, but don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

   Ted Shaffer, President,

   Amy Leonard,


Chapter workday at Everglades National Park, July 16 and August 13, 9 am-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 are welcome and encouraged to come.  Everyone in your car gets into ENP free after the workday.  For more information contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404,

Welcome new members!  John Bradford (Jensen Beach), Mick Gnaegy/Mix’d Greens (Business member, Homestead), Donna Hanley (Miami-Dade), Rick Johnson (Miami-Dade Expressway Authority), Key West Garden Club (Not for Profit member), Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (Not for Profit member), Cookie Wright (Miami-Dade)

Keys Branch News.  No activities were scheduled by the Keys Branch for the 2010-2011 season.  It doesn’t have to stay that way!   If you could help plan some meetings, field trips or yard visits for November 2011-April 2012, or if you could help at occasional public events in the Keys, please contact Ted Shaffer, the Chapter President, at or another board member (see the contact list on last page).

The FNPS trip to Nicaragua has openings for a second 12-day session starting January 14, 2012. As one of the least explored countries in the region, Nicaragua's flora and fauna is only recently emerging as being very distinct from her neighbors Costa Rica and Panama.  Dramatic geography, marked by volcanoes, lakes and forests, creates a striking landscape and biodiversity second to none.  This is the perfect trip for the nature lover and plant enthusiast! Enjoy hiking, plant exploration, city walks. $3300 (includes airfare from Miami).  Contact Aventuras Naturales at 954-603-2907 or or see the itinerary at


Dade Chapter FNPS members are invited on Sunday, August 7, to join the North American Butterfly Association Miami Blue Chapter, Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and Tropical Audubon Society in honoring Roger Hammer for his many years of discovery and protection of the natural world of South Florida. 

Many of us have been lucky enough to call Roger our teacher and friend through the years.  We hope you will be there to recognize his great work toward conservation in South Florida and hear about his new projects since his retirement as senior naturalist for Miami-Dade County Parks.

The event will be held at the Miami Blue Chapter's quarterly meeting at Castellow Hammock Nature Center, 22301 SW 162 Ave, Miami.  If you can join us, please RSVP by email to or call Buck Reilly (786-291-4824) for the final time (early afternoon) and to let us know if you can bring ONE plate of something delicious that we can eat with toothpicks or fingers. Beverages will be provided. 


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Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Contact Steve at 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 ALL encouraged to come.  If you join on the website you will receive a monthly email reminder.  (Don’t worry – that’s all the email you will receive.)

  • July 19: Sedges (Cyperaceae)
  • August 16: Grasses (Poaceae)

(As you can see, Steve is a glutton for punishment.)

Adopt-a-Tree is back in 2011!  Events are scheduled in July through September, rain or shine. Check the website for the types of available trees at each event and arrive early to ensure that the species you want is available. Participants must be homeowners in Miami-Dade County and have a valid picture ID.  See the website for other requirements.  Due to financial constraints, the Adopt-a-Tree program is unable to deliver or plant trees in 2011.  For more information, or if you require special assistance at the event, please contact the Environmental Education & Communications Office at 305-372-6784 or see

  • July 16, 9am-noon, City of Miami Gardens, Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex, 3000 NW 199 St.  Species include the native Paradise Tree (Simarouba glauca) and Red Mulberry (Morus rubra).  These are both medium to large trees.  (Learn more about the natives from the Institute for Regional Conservation at > Natives for Your Neighborhood.)  Also offered will be non-natives avocado and Indian tamarind, which are also large trees.
  • August 13 (Harris Field, 1034 NE 8th St, Homestead)
  • September 24 (J.C. Bermudez Park, 3100 NW 87 Ave, Doral).

Nursery News.  Leslie Veber has launched a new website for her nursery, Veber’s Jungle Garden.  Learn about native plants and check out her nursery at

[The following article is reprinted from Tillandsia, July-August 2002 with photos added in this issue. You’ll see some fleabanes at the July 23 yard visit to Roger’s home.]


by Roger L. Hammer
photos by Roger L. Hammer

The genus Pluchea (Fleabanes) in South Florida is represented by three relatively common species but, surprisingly, few of them are ever cultivated.  All three produce clusters of tiny, pink, disk flowers that attract butterflies.  The genus was named to commemorate the French naturalist, Abbe N. A. Pluche (1688-1761).

Photo: Pluchea carolinensis
Pluchea carolinensis
The largest species is called either "Bushy Fleabane" or "Cure for All" (Pluchea carolinensis), which grows to about 8 feet tall.  Like its name implies, it is bushy and it is used medicinally in parts of its range. In the West Indies, a tea is brewed from the leaves to treat colds, or they are heated and placed on sprains to relieve swelling. The leaves are pungently aromatic when crushed The species name, carolinensis, means "of the Carolinas". When it was named in 1789 it was believed, in error, to have come from the Carolinas.


Photo: Pluchea odorata
Pluchea odorata
Another species that can take on a somewhat bushy appearance is Salt Marsh Fleabane (Pluchea odorata). This species not only inhabits salt marsh habitat, it is common in freshwater wetlands as well. It typically grows to a height of about four feet but may be smaller. The name odorata means "fragrant", in reference to the aromatic leaves and flowers. Butterflies that visit the flowers include Buckeyes, White Peacocks, Great Southern Whites, Florida Whites, and a host of skippers. In the Caribbean the leaves are used in a tea to relieve colds.


Photo: Pluchea rosea
Pluchea rosea
The smallest species is Marsh Fleabane (Pluchea rosea) that typically only reaches about a foot tall. The leaves are covered with hairs and a potted specimen is quite attractive. Again, the flowers attract a host of small butterflies, especially hairstreaks, crescents, blues, and skippers. The highly aromatic leaves of this species were once used to stuff inside pillows and bedding to repel fleas, hence the name "Fleabane". The species name, rosea, refers to the rose-colored flower heads.

All three species can be easily grown from seed so if you are ever in an area where collecting seeds is legal, try your hand at growing this interesting group of native wildflowers.



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.

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.


State Road 836 Welcome Gateway 

Miami-Dade Expressway Authority’s “Welcome Gateway” on SR 836 received an Award of Honor in the Transportation category of the FNPS Landscape Awards presented at the Annual

FNPS Conference in May.  The designer was Leticia Fernandez-Beraud, ASLA, of Fernandez-Beraud, IncRick Johnson accepted the award for MDX at the Dade Chapter  meeting in May.  The following description is excerpted from the award application.

Description: SR+836+Welcome+Gateway+-+image+08small

The “Welcome Gateway” is sited upon 1200 linear feet of the inter-median, and the north and south right-of-ways of State Road 836 in Miami-Dade County.  The project occupies 50 acres of land between 87th and 97th Avenues; an area roughly two (2) miles west of Miami International Airport.

The project site runs parallel and adjacent to the westward flight path of Miami International Airport’s south runway. 

While an audience at ground level, observing and experiencing the east/west “place” marker while journeying via automobile through a transitory passage (from east to west and west to east), another audience, at the same time, realizes the larger scale representation of the literal, geoglyphic message of “Welcome” being communicated through passage for travelers on arriving and departing aircraft.

Of MDX landscape criteria, it is intended that projects promote landscape concepts that define the South Florida Region.  Among these are the uses of indigenous plant palettes appropriate to the environmental conditions of the roadways, native tree canopies, Xeriscape planting principles that conserve water, and an increase of natural masses of native trees, shrubs and groundcover.

Description: SR+836+Welcome+Gateway+-+image+01small

The South and North right-of-ways upon which the “Welcome Gateway” is sited are engineered as dry pond detention areas.  They serve as collection areas for rainwater and runoff from the roadways and their surrounding tributary areas.  This serves well enough to completely eliminate the need for any artificial irrigation of the project.  It also provides ground conditions similar to some found in the natural Everglades habitats which the project’s design elements purposefully mimic and express.  Among these elements are large fields of Muhly and Fakahatchee Grasses, of an Everglades character, “naturally” integrated with Everglades Palms, Royal Palms and native tree species. 

Derived from this living palette are the contrasts of color which provide definition to the written elements of the “Welcome” sign, as well as representing natural variation akin to the selected plants’ origins, both native and non-native species.  Hammock-like landscape systems and structures, and groves of palms also provide this intended mimicry of the elements of the natural South Florida landscape.

[The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) and Rick Johnson of MDX are both new members of FNPS, and Leticia Fernandez-Beraud is a longtime member.]


Chapter Contacts

Dade Chapter Board members:

President: Ted Shaffer,, 305-944-1290
Vice-President: Buck Reilly,, 786-291-4824
Secretary: Amy Leonard,, 305-458-0969
Treasurer: Susan Walcutt,
At Large: Amida Frey,  Lauren McFarland, Gita Ramsay, Eric von Wettberg, Vivian Waddell, Lynka Woodbury
FNPS board: Lynka Woodbury,

Mailing address:

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

General information: 786-340-7914,

Refreshment coordinator: Gita Ramsay,, 786-877-7168

Membership: Patty Phares, 305-255-6404

DCFNPS Web page:

DCFNPS Facebook:

Webmasters: Greg Ballinger and Haniel Pulido Jr.,

Tillandsia editors: Rachel King,, 786-897-0916

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,