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Newsletter - November-December 2011

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trip
Dade Chapter and FNPS News
In Memoriam
Meet the New Tillandsia Staff
Other News and Events
A Bloom List Database
Narrowleaf Silkgrass (Pityopsis Graminifolia)
One Person's "Informal" is Another's "Overgrown"
Final Notes
Contacts for DCFNPS


Nov. 11-13: FTBG Ramble - DCFNPS display
Nov. 19 (Sat.): Field trip (Rabenau Camp, Big Cypress)
Nov. 22 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens

Dec. 4 (Sun.): Annual holiday picnic - please RSVP
Dec. 10 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
Dec. 11 (Sun.): Field trip (Montgomery Botanical Center
pineland and nearby sites)
(No meeting in December)

Jan. 7 (Sat.): Bolla/Gann Holiday party - please RSVP
Jan. 24 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
Field trip TBA


Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 7:30 pm.

Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 SW 57 Ave (Red Road).

Free and open to the public.  (4th Tuesday, not the last)

Refreshments begin at 7:15 pm.  Merchandise sales are before and after the program (now taking cash, checks and credit cards).  The plant raffle follows the program.  Please label your raffle donations with the plant name (and yours) to help wipe out "mystery plants."

 "Florida's Most Exquisite Wildflowers" - Roger Hammer, naturalist-photographer

Florida has some of the most beguiling wildflowers. This program will focus on fifty of the most fascinating native wildflowers that can be found from the rocky Florida Keys to the longleaf pine flatwoods of the Florida Panhandle. You'll not want to miss the stunning photographs that showcase Florida's finest flowers.

Roger Hammer is a retired Miami-Dade County naturalist, author, photographer, and native plant aficionado.  He received the first Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award in 1982 from the Dade Chapter FNPS for education, research, promotion, and preservation of native plants  and was the recipient of the Green Palmetto Award in Education from FNPS in 2003.  He is the author of Everglades Wildflowers, Florida Keys Wildflowers, a FalconGuide to Exploring Everglades National Park, and folding laminated wildflower identification cards for southeastern Florida, southwestern Florida, and central Florida.  His latest book, Florida Icons: Fifty Classic Views of the Sunshine State, will be released in November.


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

Saturday, November 19 (9am-?): Rabenau Camp region of northeastern Big Cypress National Preserve Addition. 

This area features a mosaic of ecosystems, including glades, open cypress forests, and deep pond apple sloughs, as well as oak/cabbage palm hammocks and pinelands on higher ground.

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

  • Bring/wear: Sturdy shoes, long pants, water, lunch (to carry), insect repellant, sun protection. A walking stick (a broom handle is fine) is helpful for wading into ponds and general walking.
  • Difficulty: May be strenuous (length of walk and terrain).
  • Leaders: Chuck McCartney and Jack Lange.
  • Notes: You might get wet and muddy.  Wading into ponds is optional (water depth unknown). No restrooms (except trees).  The walk will probably last through early afternoon.
  • Lost? Try Patty's cell (305-878-5705 - please use that morning only).  Reception might not be good.

Sunday, December 11, 9am-noon: Montgomery Botanical Center pineland and nearby sites.

The Montgomery property is accessible by appointment only, so this is a good opportunity to visit.  We will visit their small pineland (and perhaps some other areas).  See more about the facility at  Afterward, we will visit an additional nearby location, depending on the wishes of the group.  Members of the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association will join us.

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

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Lost? Try Patty's cell (305-878-5705 - use that morning only)


Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Ramble, November 11-13

Please contact Gita Ramsay (, 786-877-7168) to be a last-minute volunteer.  (It might be too late to get you on the list for free entry.) Volunteers are needed for  

  • Saturday and Sunday at the chapter display.
  • Set-up help for the display on Thursday afternoon, 3:30-5pm.
  • Break-down on Sunday afternoon.

Display items needed. Please loan/donate small native plants (in pots), butterfly plants, or caterpillars for the display.  Contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969,

Native plant vendors will be there, but not under the auspices of DCFNPS.  Select from an array of new species and old favorites!

Chapter workday at Everglades National Park, December 10, 9 am-noon.  Help with our native plant habitat 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,  

DCFNPS Wishlist.  To donate items, please contact Gita Ramsay (, 786-877-7168) or bring them to a meeting.  Thank you!

General use:

  • Laptop computer
  • Select-a-size paper towels
  • Vases (small/medium for tabletop displays)
  • Colored copy paper

For Native Plant Day and/or Ramble:

  •   Paper potmaker - recycling newspaper into plant pots
    • children's activity (4 @ $16.95 each)
  • Banner for Hands On & Kids area  ($125)
  • Parking signs, (2 @ $25 each)
  • 4" plastic pots
  • Soil (2 bags or more)
  • Spray bottles
  • Dry erase board (~ 3'x2')
  • Children's scissors
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Awls (2-3)
  • Glue sticks
  • Hand lenses or magnifying glasses (2-3)

Food table at meetings:

  • Plates, napkins,  cups, eating utensils

Native Plant Day is coming up in March 2012 (date and location TBA).  Please start potting up plants now to donate for the raffle and plant sale!


Kendall O. Llewellyn II, 1943-2011

Longtime Dade Chapter member Ken Llewellyn died August 17, 2011. Ken was a veteran of the U.S. Army and had been employed with IBM, Eastern Airlines, BellSouth and FPL. He volunteered his time at UM, Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, YMCA and ShakeA Leg, but we knew him best as an eternal volunteer at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, where he and his life-partner Cynthia Stewart were excited to welcome us on field trips.  His chosen causes included knowledge and use of plants, including medical cannabis.  He is survived by Cynthia Stewart.

Ken would occasionally call just to express his gratefulness for the FNPS mission and how much he loved getting the Palmetto and Tillandsia, which he thought alone were worth the cost of membership.  Cynthia says his Number 1 message was "Always learn", and Number 2 was to "Pass it on" to children and anyone showing an interest.  That was certainly what Ken did.  A memorial gathering was scheduled for October 23 at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park.

Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society
Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.
TREEmendous Miami
Tropical Audubon Society

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, 12:30 – 3:30 pm
Rain or shine!

U.S. Coast Guard Station
16000 SW 117 Ave., Miami, 33177
Bring family, nature-loving friends and your favorite dish!

RSVPs by November 28 are greatly appreciated (but late/no-responders should come, too).

Please tell us the number attending, your potluck item (main dish, side/salad, or dessert) and phone number. Cash donations are also possible. Tea/soft drinks provided (you may bring beer). Patty Phares, 305-255-6404,

Directions: Take the Turnpike Extension to SW 152 St (Coral Reef Dr.), go west (toward Zoo Miami) to 117 Ave, turn south. Or take US1 to SW 152 St or 168 St., go west to 117 Ave. There will be a gate attendant from noon to 2pm. After that time, please use code 001 on the call pad. Turn right after the gate.

Amenities: Picnic shelter (with refrigerator and non-potable ice maker); children's playground; volleyball, horseshoe, softball, basketball courts (bring balls if you'd like to start a game).

Take an easy nature walk at 2:30 with plant, butterfly and bird experts (on an unpaved firebreak). This area is part of the Richmond Pineland Complex, rich in native flora and fauna.


Please welcome the new Tillandsia staff, beginning with the next issue (January 2012)!

Rachel King (editor) earned a PhD in biology in 2003 from the University of Miami, where she focused on seed dispersal and plant population biology in tropical forests.  More recently she has been working part-time with Dr. Mike Ross at FIU, investigating vegetation changes across marl prairie, marsh, and slough habitats in Everglades National Park.  She has recently rejoined FNPS after taking a break with her young children.  Contact Rachel at 786-897-0916 or  Please send her content for upcoming newsletters.

Lauren McFarland (staff) is a longtime member, chapter board member, active DCFNPS volunteer and Master Gardener.  Her wonderful yard is part of the Connect to Protect network.

Douglas Thompson (staff) is a one-year member of FNPS and a Landscape Architect with wide experience in local, high-visibility projects.  He is currently in his own business (Douglas Thompson, Landscape Architect),  He promises to write some landscape-oriented articles.

As you can see, the Tillandsia will be in great hands - I couldn't be happier.  I will continue with other chapter duties and contribute to Tillandsia.  But this does not mean you are off the hook!  More chapter members should share their experience and knowledge of native plants and DCFNPS through articles, news and announcements.  You could contribute:

  • Personal experiences with native plants, fauna interacting with native plants, etc.
  • Notes about interesting websites, news items or books have you encountered.
  • Questions for an expert. 
  • Botanical, landscaping, plant care, horticulture, environmental expertise.
  • Botanical illustrations or photos.
  • Ideas for teaching children about native plants.

My past 25 years as editor or assisting with Tillandsia have been truly worthwhile and enjoyable.  I have learned much, met interesting people and made fast friends through this activity.  I am indebted to all the contributors for a wealth of information (and advice), especially Gwen Burzycki, Rob Campbell, Joyce Gann, Roger Hammer, Wes Jurgens, Don Keller, Chuck McCartney, John Pancoast, Marty Roessler and Steve Woodmansee.  I also thank webmasters Greg Ballinger and Haniel Pulido for their support and collaboration; past Tillandsia co-editors who worked with me; readers who have expressed appreciation for the Tillandsia; the board members who keep the chapter running; and everyone who succumbed to my brow-beating by submitting their items, well, not terribly late.

- Patty Phares, retiring editor


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.  Join on the website to receive a monthly email reminder.  You don't need to join the website to read the posts and news, but getting the reminder email is handy. November 15 and December 20 topics: TBA (see the website).

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

  • Nov.  9: Kristin Jacobs - NatureScape Program
  • Dec. 14:  Scott Bryan - Native Plant Propagation. 
  • Nov. -Dec.:  See the website for special classes on propagation and gardening being offered by Broward County Parks.

Tropical Audubon Society.  305-667-7337, for more details and activities. 

  • Nov. 5-6: Native Plant Sale at TAS, 5530 Sunset Dr.

Miami-Dade Environmentally Endangered Lands Volunteer Workdays.  9am-noon.  Students can earn Community Service Hours but it's worthwhile and informative for adults, too!  Pre-register at 305-257-0933 ext. 227 or (  See for more info.

  • Nov. 5: Zoo Miami Pinelands

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.

  • Nov. 6: Quarterly meeting at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.  Butterfly walk at noon.  Program at 1pm:  "Ants and Butterflies in the Florida Keys - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" - Jim Duquesnel, Biologist, Bahia Honda State Park.  A park fee will be charged unless you are a NABA member and RSVP to   Please join now at!  

NOTE: Please check the website and before you go for more details and to reconfirm the plans for the meeting.  There may be changes due to unforeseen circumstances.

The Annual Bolla / Gann
Nature Lovers Holiday Party
January 7, 2012 - 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Home of Don and Joyce Gann in the Redlands, SW 154th Ave.

FNPS, Native Plant Workshop, parks staff, plant huggers… all nature-loving friends (and family) are invited

Soup, iced tea and coffee will be provided.
Please bring a dish to share.
Bring a flashlight - parking is on an unlit roadside.

Please RSVP to Mark Bolla ( or 216-721-4080) or Joyce Gann (786-423-1881).

Ask for directions if needed.


by Dr. Eric vonWettberg

Flowering is one of the most important events in a plant's life.  If timed properly, seeds will mature at a time when resources are most available and when seed development and dispersal can most advantageously occur.  Mistimed flowering can be fatal to both the plant and its seeds.

Overwhelming evidence exists that flowering time has changed in many locations as a result of global climate change.  Documenting these changes in more locations is one of the best things we can do understand the consequences of global climate change, and mitigate its effects.  Earlier spring flowering in temperate locations are particularly well documented.  For example, in England and New England where records of flowering time stretch back over a century, advancement of flowering is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence that global warming is occurring rapidly and having significant impacts on natural communities.  Whether animal pollinators and dispersers, as well as soil microbes, will keep pace with these shifts, or are able to disperse poleward in sync with plant communities will in part determine whether ecological communities change drastically or even collapse in the face of global warming.

In temperate regions where cold winter temperatures and short daylengths limit the seasons in which many plants flower, flowering of plants is clustered in peak periods.  In some subtropical locations, such as here in South Florida, seasonal patterns in water availability and quality likely have similar effects on flowering times.  Global climate change will affect patterns of precipitation just as it affects temperatures.  Furthermore, sea level rise coupled with alterations to the water table of south Florida through the management of the Everglades affect the amount of freshwater available to our plants, and the amount of salt water to which they may be exposed at times of low freshwater levels.

Bloom lists collected on field trips of the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society are a previously underappreciated source of information on patterns of flowering here in South Florida.  Although they are not a complete record, they contain information that can be used by the scientific community anyway, and that can help motivate efforts to collect more flowering time data.

As one of my DCFNPS activities, I am working with others to start converting old bloom lists from Dade Chapter field trips into a database.  Once complete, I plan to make the database publicly available to anyone so that it may be used by the scientific community, our teachers as a classroom tool, and the botanically minded general public.  The mode in which it is made public, and the details of what sort of search capacities are built into that remain to be determined.  For sensitive information, such as locations of rare species, protections will be needed to protect the plants.  To make such data as easy to find, I hope to link it to other databases, either local or global that host similar types of information.

I believe this information will be useful in its own right.  Notes from past field trips give us snapshots in time of what was flowering where and when collected by excellent botanists.  But, in the longer run I hope this assists the botanical community in creating more avenues for citizen scientists to collect and contribute data that will help all of us monitor and adapt to climate change.  This could help us fill in information in the future by having sites monitored for flowering on a regular basis.  A few citizen science efforts are already underway elsewhere to collect information on the location and phenology (timing of flowering, etc) of different organisms.  The Cornell Ornithology labs bird feeder program is particularly successful in this regard.  Expanding efforts like this here in south Florida have potential to bring more people into the natural world, and let us track more accurately the ongoing progress of climate change.

Many thanks to Dr. Martin Roessler for near-monthly field trip bloom lists spanning 1991 to 2009, with others from Chuck McCartney and Tom Gire.

Dr. Eric Von Wettberg is Assistant Professor of Population Genetics in FIU's Department of Biological Sciences, researcher at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Center for Tropical Plant Conservation, and board member of the Dade Chapter FNPS.

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A New Wildflower for South Florida Landscaping and Restoration

by Steven W. Woodmansee

Narrowleaf Silkgrass (Pityopsis graminifolia)

Photo by Roger Hammer, in his book,
Everglades Wildflowers

Narrowleaf silkgrass is a showy perennial wildflower native throughout all of Florida, and a must for any wildflower connoisseur.  It is found in mesic (intermediate between wet and dry) to xeric (dry) pineland and prairie habitats.  As a result, it tolerates drought fairly well once established.  It is a member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae), and is a great attractor for pollinators.  Flowers are actually in a specialized inflorescence (flower cluster) known as a "head", composed of several dozen flowers, which in unison, appear to us as a single flower.  Upon maturity, plants are generally less than 18 inches in height, and produce 20-30 blooming heads on several branches.

Narrowleaf silkgrass is herbaceous (non woody), and has attractive silvery green, often "grass-like" leaves, which emerge in the spring, and gorgeous yellow flowers in the mid to late fall.  Flowering heads range from 1cm to 2 cm in diameter, and generally last 3-4 weeks.  Seeds possess fluffy awns (hairs) which are dispersed on wind, similar to dandelions. 

When done flowering, plants appears to "die", but in actuality, they go dormant during the winter, reemerging in the spring.  Plants do best in full sun, and may be utilized in butterfly (pollinator) gardens, pineland habitats, or in showy wildflower displays.  As with most wildflowers, when planting, it is generally best to avoid using mulched beds, as this will often inhibit the seed germination and recruitment of this neat species.

Steve Woodmansee is Owner and Biologist at Pro Native Consulting, Research Associate at The Institute for Regional Conservation, Adjunct Faculty at Miami Dade College, and President of Florida Native Plant Society.


by Gwen Burzycki

Have you (or has anyone you know) ever run up against municipal or association enforcement for native/wildlife landscaping?  It has happened to me several times in the 20 years I have lived in the Miami area.  I have minimal turf, shrubs in dense clusters to provide wildlife (especially bird) habitat, a large number of species (at last count, I had over 80 species of native plants in my 9000 square foot lot), and no straight lines (I don't box trim any of my shrubs).  My yard, as one Code Enforcement Officer stated, "is different".  It's a horrible shock to come home to a Notice of Violation in the mailbox and it's time-consuming to resolve the situation.  I'd like to share a few thoughts on how to minimize your chances of sharing my experience.

Before you plant:  Read the applicable landscape code.  Yes, read it.  It can be long, boring stuff, but it will save you lots of heartache if you already know how your municipality or homeowner's association defines "weed" and "overgrown", and you take those definitions into account when planning your native garden.  In addition, code enforcement often involves subjective decisions, so if you want to challenge a citation, you need to know what the applicable section of the code or bylaws actually says.  Municipalities generally post their Code of Ordinances on Municode ( these days, so if you have access to the Internet, you can gain that knowledge, and knowledge is power.  I once successfully argued that my landscaping was "informal", not "overgrown", because I knew my municipality's definition.

Include setbacks and borders:  A setback is a distance between the property boundary and something of interest.  A visual setback consisting of several feet of neatly trimmed turf or a low groundcover before the eye encounters a cluster of dense shrubbery will give a "wanted/intended" feel to the shrubbery, when it might otherwise appear "overgrown".  Borders, such as rocks or pavers, can do the same thing by providing a hard edge that makes the more informal area look "maintained".  Planting informally within an "island" marked by a hard border that is surrounded by turf is an example of using both setbacks and borders at the same time.  Be sure to do the necessary maintenance to keep your setback area or border neat.

A special word about wildflowers:  Our native wildflowers look wonderful when they're in bloom, but can look "weedy" when they're not.  Emphasize flowers that bloom most of the year (such as beach sunflower, beach verbena) and/or make sure you have at least some flowers blooming at all times of the year to keep your wildflower garden looking like wildflowers instead of weeds.  Another option is to put the wildflowers "out of sight and out of mind" - in your backyard. 

Advertise and Educate:  Many code enforcement citations start with a neighbor's complaint, so use signage to educate your neighbors about what you are doing.  (But be sure you know what the sign posting rules/size limits are for your municipality or association!)  If your yard is certified as a Florida Friendly Yard under Florida Yards and Neighborhoods ( or as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat under the National Wildlife Federation (, you will receive an attractive yard sign to help you inform your neighbors. 

Network:  There is power in numbers and connectivity.  Do you know your neighbors?  Have any of them expressed that they like your landscaping style?  If so, get to know them.  Landscaping ordinances often depend on a very subjective term called "community standard".  Having neighbors who are willing to write a letter for you can support your position that you have not violated the community standard.  Do you belong to a local garden club or a Property Owner's Association?  These organizations can often be educated about the benefits of native/wildlife landscaping and may stand by you if you run up against code enforcement. 

Change the code:  Times change, tastes change, and more people are interested in "Think Globally, Act Locally" when it comes to the environment.  If your local landscape code isn't environmentally friendly, maybe it's time for you to speak to your elected board or officials and see if the code or bylaws can be changed to make it more so.  Be ready to volunteer to serve on a committee to do so.  It's hard work and your commitment to help could be the tipping point that will make it happen. 

Gwen is a longtime member of FNPS, a past Dade Chapter president, and biologist with Miami-Dade County.  She has a wonderfully wild yard in Miami Shores full of native plants, birds and butterflies.

Holiday Plant Sale
Veber’s Jungle Garden
24605 S.W 197th Ave, Redland, Florida 33031

Saturday, November 19th, 2011
Saturday, December 17th, 2011
8:30 am – 3 pm

Come, bring your friends, and walk in the garden - the weather should be fine!

This year, consider giving a native plant as a gift. A plant is a gift that keeps on giving.

For a complete plant list, directions and other services available, see or contact Leslie at 305-242-9500. Cash or check only please.

Hope to see you there!!


  • See the first Annual Report of FNPS at  It's beautifully done and informative.
  • Miami-Dade County's former Department of Environmental Resources (DERM) is now "Permitting, Environment and Regulatory Affairs" (PERA).
  • Thousands of Giant African land snails have been collected and destroyed in Miami-Dade County.  See recommendations for controlling this snail on the UF/IFAS Pest Alert site  Look carefully outside your home or workplace and report snails found to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services referenced at


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,