Print Print     Decrease text size Text Size Increase text size

Newsletter - January 2012

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trip
Announcing Native Plant Day
Dade Chapter and FNPS News
From the President
Other News and Events
Field Trip Report
NURSERY NEWS: Guapira discolor (Blolly, Long-leaf Blolly)
Contacts for DCFNPS


Jan. 7: Bolla/Gann holiday party
Jan. 14: Field trip (North Key Largo)
Jan. 24: Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens

Feb. 4: Field trip (Barley Barber Swamp - reservations required)
Feb 11: Chapter workday and Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at Everglades National Park
Feb. 28: Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens

Mar. 10: Native Plant Day
Mar. 27: Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
May 17-20: FNPS Annual Conference, Plant City


Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 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 (taking cash, checks and credit cards).  A plant raffle follows the program.  Please label your raffle donations with the plant name (and yours).

 “Puttering Around on the Prairie - The Coastal Prairie and Buttonwood Forests of South Florida” - Chris Migliaccio, Professor of Ecology, Miami-Dade College/Wolfson Campus

A long-time member of FNPS, avid outdoor photographer and gardener, Chris has been swamp tromping in South Florida for almost 40 years and will share his views of this interesting plant community from the ground and from the air.


  • February 28: “Palm-spotting around Florida”  Scott Zona, Curator for Florida International University’s Conservatory & Greenhouse.
  • March 27:  Stephen Davis, from the Everglades Foundation, speaking about Everglades restoration.


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).

January 14, 2012, 9am-noon: Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Key Largo)

This preserve, which was created in 1980, is normally closed for general public use.  Its 6600 acres include high tropical hardwood hammock, mangrove forest and open water. We will see one of the most diverse hammocks in the area, which supports some of the largest specimens of native trees around, as well as orchids, bromeliads and the rare climbing fern.

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

  • Difficulty: Moderate - walking on unpaved paths. 
  • Wear/bring: Water; long pants, long sleeves, closed shoes (there is poisonwood); bug spray; lunch if you want to picnic after.
  • Leader: Steve Klett, retired manager of the refuge
  • Note: There is a restroom at the refuge office.
  • Lost/late: Try Patty's cell (305-878-5705- only that morning)

February 4, 2012. 1-4 pm:  Barley Barley Swamp 

This natural area in Martin County, owned by FPL, was closed after 9/11/2001.  Now guided tours through a pristine cypress swamp are once again offered. We will walk a 5800-ft closed loop boardwalk for about 1.5 hours (including a restroom break), so it's an easy, slow stroll.  The Dade and Broward FNPS Chapters enjoyed a visit here together in December 1992 and are once again joining forces. 

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

  • Reservations: Required by January 29.  The trip is free, but space is limited, so reserve early!  Contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404,  Provide your name, phone, address (email or home address).  Members have preference - if you are interested in bringing a non-member guest, we'll have a waiting list. (Also see the note below.)
  • Meeting location: Seminole Inn in Indiantown.  Transportation to the Inn is on your own, but we can try to arrange carpools.  Directions will be provided after you register.  (~2 hours drive from South Miami-Dade).
  • Schedule: Arrive before 12:30 if you would like to eat lunch at the Seminole Inn.  Participants register at 1 pm (photo ID required).  A bus leaves at 1:30 for the half-hour trip to the swamp and arrives back at 4 pm.

Note: You can also make your own arrangements to go on other days.  It's always free and 8:30 or 1:30 tours are the same as ours (just without the fine company of the Native Plant Society members).  See or call 772-597-3777.

Announcing Native Plant Day!

Announcing Native Plant Day!
Saturday, March 10, 2012

Save the date and share this with your friends now!
As always, the event is FREE!

New location:
Miami Dade College's Landscape Technology Center
11011 SW 104 Street

Co-sponsored by:
The Dade Chapter FNPS and
Miami Dade College - Kendall Campus

As always, we will have interesting activities, programs and walks for all!  We're very excited to explore this new venue and learn about all the Landscape Technology Center has to offer!

How can you help now?

  • Pot up plants that the Chapter may sell or Raffle (or other nature-related items)
  • Suggest a speaker or offer to conduct a walk (contact Chapter VP, Buck Reilly)
  • Volunteer a few hours to help organize NPD (contact Chapter Secretary, Amy Leonard: 305-458-0969,
  • Stick address labels on some postcards (date TBA in next month's Tillandsia)
  • Deliver a stack of postcards to a local business - they'll be available at the 2/28 meeting (please contact Amy in advance)
  • Help us set up on 3/9/12
  • Assist in contacting volunteers (Gita Ramsay is expecting a new baby at the end of January and would appreciate your help!)


Welcome New (and long-lost) Members!  In Miami-Dade: Jaeson Clayborn (FIU student), Katy Dimos, Stephen Hodges, The Cleo Institute (Caroline Lewis), Jimi Sadle, Jennifer Richards (Life member), Tiffany Troxler/Steve Davis.  In the Keys: Martha Meroni.

Thank you to the law office of Stephen D. Pearson for supporting our annual picnic on December 4!  About 60 members from four organizations enjoyed a beautiful afternoon. 

Chapter workday and Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon, Everglades National Park.   All volunteers over the past year are invited to stay after the workday on February 11 when ENP will treat us to lunch.  New volunteers are encouraged to come to this workday and the luncheon as well -- a little pat on the back for pulling all those weeds.  Details next month.  Please RSPV to Patty (305-255-6404,

FNPS trip to Nicaragua January 14-26.  $3,300.00 includes airfare from Miami, all meals, ground transportation, all lodging and entrance fees.  Dr. Warren Stevens from the Missouri Botanical Gardens will be leading the trip. From the trip planners:  “Nicaragua is one of the least explored nations in Central America with dramatic geography and ecosystems marked by volcanoes and lakes.  This striking landscape is one of the most diverse in this region of the world."  Contact Aventuras Naturales at or 954.603.2907 

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.


This year has gone by so fast. As a gardener, one of the measurements of time that we pay attention to is what’s blooming now, which allows us to savor time a little more than by the clock. Time at Pinecrest gardens, our new home, has proven to be a comfortable fit. We thank the staff there for making our move and monthly meetings most enjoyable. The board wishes to thank all of the membership and volunteers who have given their time and resources to keep our chapter viable in challenging economic times. 
Happy New Year

Ted Shaffer – President, Dade Chapter FNPS

Our chapter activities in 2011 included:

  • Monthly meetings began at our new home, Pinecrest Gardens.
  • The newsletter was sent by email to most of the members.
  • Monthly field trips, several in conjunction with the Miami Blue Chapter or the North American Butterfly Association.
  • Three yard visits to gain inspiration from chapter members’ beautiful landscaping with native plants.
  • Bimonthly workdays for the Chapter's landscaping/restoration project in Everglades National Park
  • DCFNPS was on the air!  President Ted Shaffer was featured in "The Natives" on "The Garden Show" with Mark Benson aired on 880AM on Sundays at 8am.
  • March: The 16th Native Plant Day was held, this year at Elaine Gordon Enchanted Forest Park in North Miami.
  • April: DCFNPS was represented at numerous 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
  • June: DCFNPS was represented at the Fifth Annual Tree Summit, Million Trees Miami.
  • July: The chapter awarded $710 from the  Mary Ann Bolla Fund to help student intern Ryan Vogel maintain the FIU Preserve.
  • August: We joined with Miami Blue NABA and TAS to honor Roger Hammer at the MB meeting
  • September: Native plants and butterfly larvae at Butterfly Days at FTBG
  • November: Educational display at Fairchild's Ramble
  • December: 7th Annual 4-organization holiday picnic

Yard visit photo

A view from the Oct. 29 fabulous yard visit to Patty Harris. Photo by Cynthia Stewart.


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. January 17 meeting topic is the “Lawnweeds”

Broward Native Plant Society. Meets 7-9pm at the Broward Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or January 11 - Kristin Jacobs, Broward County Commissioner - NatureScape Program

Naples Chapter FNPS Annual Banquet - February 24, 2012 at the Naples Botanical Garden.  Dr. Loran Anderson will speak on “What is a Flower?".  Also a silent plant auction and reception.  $35 for all activities, $20 for the lecture only.  Contact Nancy Richie, 239-389-5003 or

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  Jan 14 - Arch Creek Preserve; Jan. 21 - East Greynolds Park; Jan. 23 - County Line Scrub; Feb 3 - Larry and Penny Thompson Pineland

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See or contact Elane, 305-666-5727 or for walks and other activities.  Feb. 5: Quarterly meeting, Castellow Hammock.  Butterfly at the park at noon.  Program at 1pm: Stephen Baig, Ph.D. of Broward Butterflies will present on butterflies in history and art.

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

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum, Univ. of Miami. 

Feb. 1: Meeting - Social at 7 pm, program at 7:30.  Cox Science Bldg., Room 166.  Speaker: Mr. Larry Schokman, Former Director of the Kampong, "E-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g Your Plant Palette". For more information see:

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

  • Jan. 11 - "The Future of Elkhorn Coral in the Florida Keys" (Dana Williams)
  • Jan. 18 - "Native Orchids of South Florida and the Florida Keys" (Roger Hammer)
  • Jan. 25 - "Conservation and Sustainable Management of the White-Crowned Pigeon" (Ken Meyer)
  • Feb. 1 - "Climatology and Tropical Cyclone Impacts of the Florida Keys" (Jon Rizzo)
  • Feb. 8 - "Edible Wild Plants of South Florida" (Chris Rollins)

FIELD TRIP REPORT: November Wildflowers near Rabenau Camp

by Chuck McCartney

For the Dade Chapter’s Nov. 19, 2011, field trip, I was privileged to take the intrepid participants into an area of the northeastern Big Cypress National Preserve of Collier County, near where my friend Bill Rabenau of Davie, Fla., formerly had a private hunting camp. Although we never ventured onto the Rabenau property, I still refer to this general vicinity, in honor of my late friend, as Rabenau Camp, an area where I have been lucky enough to botanize since 1978. It lies west of the huge L-28 Interceptor Canal and about a mile south of the Hendry County/Big Cypress Indian Reservation border. Like much of the Big Cypress, the area consists of a mosaic of plant communities. On this field trip, we visited places I hadn’t been in many years, following a buggy trail that took us through areas of hammock, open pineland and across one small cypress slough. We did not visit any of the area’s deep Pond Apple swamps this time.

Despite early threats of rain, it was mostly a pleasant day, and we saw lots of pretty and interesting wildflowers. For me, the wildflower highlight was a patch of Silky-Leaf Golden Asters (Pityopsis graminifolia) that was perhaps the best bloom display I have ever seen of this attractive, sunny-flowered species.

Habenaria floribunda
The Tooth-Petal Rein Orchid (Habenaria floribunda),
one of several species of orchids seen on the Rabenau
Camp field trip. Photo by Shirley Denton

Botanically, my special interest is the orchid family, and we saw five ground-growing species during our hike. There were several sterile plants of the Wild Coco (Eulophia alta) and one small plant of it in bloom with its distinctive brown, gold and reddish-purple flowers. At several places along the trail, there were dozens of healthy plants of the Tooth-Petal Rein Orchid (Habenaria floribunda, formerly H. odontopetala) at their peak of bloom, with nice spikes of yellow-green flowers. We also encountered two plants of its earlier-flowering relative, Michaux’s Rein Orchid (Habenaria quinqueseta). This species generally blooms in September in that area, so these plants were already exhibiting mature seed capsules. We also saw a few fruiting plants of the African Spotted-Leaf Orchid (Oeceoclades maculata). Despite how widespread this species is elsewhere in South Florida, it has been surprisingly infrequent in the vicinity of Rabenau Camp, at least in my experience. At numerous places along the trail, there were also lots of healthy palm-seedling-like plants of the Pine Pink Orchid (Bletia purpurea), but these won’t bloom until spring.

Because we didn’t venture into any of the deep swamps, we didn’t see any epiphytic (tree-growing) orchids – oddly, not even the near-ubiquitous so-called Florida Butterfly Orchid (Encyclia tampensis).

For animal lovers in the group, we encountered a Black Racer. This handsome, slender snake seemed quite content to pose for us. In fact, it was a pretty good wildlife day – at least for me. Because I was driving the lead car into the field trip site along the L-28-I canal, I saw two deer and three wild turkeys. Unfortunately for them, the people in the cars behind me missed these. We also saw alligators in the canal.

After the field trip, we gathered back at the Miccosukee gas station at the Snake Road off Alligator Alley and ate lunch under the large open-air chickee there, where we had to contend with early afternoon’s strong breezes and many beautiful but pesky Boat-Tailed Grackles insistently begging for a handout.

For the list of plants observed in bloom, see the chapter website:

NURSERY NEWS: Guapira discolor (Blolly, Long-leaf Blolly)

A New Wildflower for South Florida Landscaping and Restoration

By Leslie Veber

Guapira discolor(Blolly)
Guapira discolor (Blolly). Photo by Roger Hammer, Natives
For Your Neighborhood.  The Institute for Regional
Conservation, Miami.

Blolly is a small tree or large shrub, typically found growing in coastal hardwood hammocks, that will grow in full sun to partial shade. The average height is 15’-20’, but can grow up to 30’. The growth habit can tend to be single stemmed, but branching lower than a single leader tree, or shrub-like with the branches growing more vertical, with a nice rounded canopy. Blolly is salt-and drought tolerant, with no major pest problems to my knowledge, is very easy to grow, and does not require any maintenance once established. Because it does not lose its leaves in the winter, it looks great all year round. Plants are dioecious, as individual trees have only either male or female flowers. The female trees produce reddish-pink fruits that are savored by birds. The fruits are said to also be edible, but I have not tried them. In the landscape Blolly can be used as an accent plant or for screening and background planting. It is native to the East coast of Florida, from Brevard County South through Monroe County and the West Indies, doing best in Zones 10-11. However, Blolly may be more cold tolerant than previously thought. Last year we had a few freezes out here and some of the Blolly on the end of the rows had ice on them. Although I was afraid I might lose them, in the end I did not lose any Blolly and there was no visible cold damage.  Blolly is a great native plant that is still underutilized in the landscape.

Veber's Jungle Garden is in South Miami-Dade.  See for information on more native plants or call Leslie at 305-242-9500 to schedule an appointment to come to the nursery.


Does anyone know of native species that change from annuals to perennials?

Dear south Florida native plant enthusiasts:

I am looking for examples of native plants that change their behavior from annual to perennial across south Florida.  In many plants lifespan is determined by a mixture of environmental and genetic factors.  Some plants are forced to be annual due to unfavorable seasonal conditions.  In good conditions with adequate water, light, nutrients, favorable climatic conditions and an absence of herbivores and pest, they might live much longer.  Genetics also plays a role.  In many of our crops, we have domesticated an annual form from a group of wild relatives that are far longer lived.  But we know far less about natural variation in lifespan than we do about crops.

I would like to “crowd-source” input from all of you about plants that may vary in their behavior.  Shifts in lifespan in a species might suggest natural boundaries in environmental conditions, or cryptic genetic differences between populations.  Changes in lifespan that we have observed in the recent past can be one indication of changing conditions, such as climatic shifts or rising soil salinities. 

Please feel encouraged to send me examples by email or traditional mail.  Pictures and other details very welcome.

Eric von Wettberg
Dr Eric von Wettberg
11200 SW 8th StreetMiami, FL 33199


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,