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Newsletter - March 2012

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
Native Plant Day
Dade Chapter and FNPS News
Other News and Events
Plant Profile: Colicroot
Contacts for DCFNPS


Mar. 10 (Sat): Native Plant Day at  Miami-Dade College Landscape Technology Center
Mar. 27 (Tue): Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
Mar. 31 (Sat): Field trip to CREW Marsh, Collier Co.
Apr. 14 (Sat): Chapter Workday, Everglades National Park
Apr. 24 (Tue): Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
May 17-20 (Thu-Sun): FNPS Annual Conference, Plant City.  Registration now open at


Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 7:30 pm

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 and credit cards).  The plant raffle follows the program.  Please label your raffle donations with the plant name (and yours!).

 "The Ecology and Economics of Everglades Restoration", Stephen Davis, Wetland Ecologist, Everglades Foundation.

The mission of the non-profit Everglades Foundation is to lead efforts to restore and protect the greater Everglades ecosystem.

Stephen Davis, a native of Ohio, graduated from Georgetown College, Ky., with a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental science, then received a master’s degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky., and his PhD from Florida International University.  Davis has worked in wetland research for more than a decade, and leads Everglades research projects on mangrove wetland biogeochemistry and carbon dynamics.

April 24 program:  Frank W. Schena, "Orchids of Southern Florida".  Experience the fascinating history of South Florida’s native orchids, including bio-geography, plant explorers, collectors and preservation.


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, March 31, 2012, 9:30 – 12:30: Corkscrew Marsh (Collier County), joint field trip with DCFNPS and NABA-Miami Blue Chapter (the butterfly folks).  This area is a 6825-acre tract purchased as part of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed project.  It has pine flatwoods, oak and palm hammocks and 5000 acres of marsh -- good possibilities for spring wildflowers.  Walking trails have been developed from old trails used for ranching and hunting.  The trails could be inundated, but probably not likely this time of year.  Feral hogs and other circumstances lead to uneven footing in some places.  There is a portable toilet near the start of the trails at Gate 1.  Those who care to can stay after lunch to enjoy additional trails.

CREW’s annual Wildflower Festival is the same day, held four miles south, 8:30 am to 2 pm.  The schedule for the festival activities (walks, talks, booths, food) will be online (

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

  • Bring/wear: water, sun and bug protection, protective clothing and sturdy shoes that could get wet or muddy. You can bring lunch or eat at the festival before it closes at 2 pm.
  • Difficulty: moderate (possible uneven footing).
  • Carpooling questions: Call Patty Phares, 305-255-6404,
  • Delayed or lost? Try Patty’s cell 305-878-5705 (for use that day only)

Native Plant Day!

Saturday, March 10, 2012
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
(Early Bird Walk at 8 a.m.)
FREE and Open to the Public!

Miami Dade College Kendall Campus
Landscape Technology Nursery
11011 SW 104 Street

Presented by: Dade Chapter FNPS
Sponsored by: Miami Dade College Landscape & Horticulture Technology Program

Activities for all ages,
Programs, walks, demonstrations, displays
Native plants, books and other merchandise for sale
Raffles, food and more!
for more information and directions.

Event and parking are on the west side of  campus, on SW 113 Pl (Perimeter Rd).  Park only in designated lots, not on the roadside.

Please spread the word to your family, friends and colleagues.

A plant holding area is available, so you can enjoy shopping and all the activities.  The MDC Environmental Center (adjacent to the event area) encompasses a pineland and lake, perfect for a stroll, bird-watching.  Bring the whole family and enjoy the day!


Welcome New Member:  Rebecca Kleinman.  Thank you to all who have renewed memberships, and welcome back to those who have rejoined after an absence.  Your support is needed and greatly appreciated!

FNPS 2012 Conference, May 17-20: "Saving the Heart of Florida."  See the preliminary conference information at  We will have exclusive access to Crystal Springs Preserve for the Saturday night social event.  After looking at the photos on the January 1 2012 blog posting (, you'll want to register right now.  Speakers include Doug Tallamy, author of the acclaimed Bringing Nature Home. Contact FNPS (321-271-6702, if you need help with registration or have questions.

Volunteers for the DCFNPS landscaping and restoration project at Everglades National Park were honored with a beautiful plaque at a volunteer appreciation luncheon on February 11.  All volunteers in the past year are invited to the park-wide volunteer appreciation dinner and party on March 17 in the park.  More details will be provided, or contact Patty at 305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring,.com.

See the Dade Chapter website event photo galleries at for slide shows of recent activities.  To contribute, please send event photos for consideration to


DCFNPS needs a few volunteers to help with the hospitality table at our monthly meetings this year. Various jobs are available and the schedule is flexible. Please call Vivian Waddell at 305-665-5168


Dade Native Plant Workshop, Tue Mar 20 at 7 pm: MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center. The topic this month will be the Polygalaceae (Milkwort Family). 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. Meetings are held the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. See For more info, contact Steve at or 786-488-3101.

Broward Native Plant Society Mar. 14:  "Biological Control of Melaleuca quinquenervia: The end of an error", Dr. Paul Pratt of the USDA -.  Meets 7-9pm at the Broward Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or 

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

  • Mar. 7: Meeting - Social at 7 pm, program at 7:30.  Cox Science Bldg., Room 166.  Roger Hammer will speak on "Florida’s Most Exquisite Wildflowers."
  • April 5: Annual Gifford Lecture. Professor Carol C. Horvitz will present "Gardens are Great, Forests are Phenomenal!"  in the Cox Science Center, Room 145 at 7pm.  Everyone is invited to this interesting evening, including a reception and arboretum tour.

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. 305-667-7337, for birding trips, Conservation Concerts, Birdathon, workdays, other activities and more details on the following.  Nonmembers are welcome at all activities.

  • Mar. 18: Spring Wildflower Walk in Everglades National Park with Roger Hammer - reservations and fee required.  Call 305-247-1634 or look on the website for more information.
  • Mar. 25:  Porter-Russell Pine Rockland Walk.

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

  • Mar. 22: Miami Blue and Tropical Audubon present a special program by John Lampkin, based on his new book of macro photographs of insects.  This will be an entomological overview that will be educational, visually artistic, fun and entertaining. John's book, Bugged Beyond Belief!, will be available to purchase and have signed.  At the Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Drive, Miami 33143.  Wine and cheese at 7pm, program at 7:30.  For more info, contact Miami Blue. The program will be repeated at Long Key Natural Area in Davie on March 25 at 1pm.

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.

  • Apr. 6: Hattie Bauer Hammock (exotics removal).

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

  • Mar. 7: Speaking for Reefs: Please Take Out the Trash (Nancy Diersing)
  • Mar. 14: Birds of the Florida Keys (Janice Duquesnel)
  • Mar. 21: Missiles in the Glades: How Everglades National Park Was Squeezed Between Cold War Superpowers (Ryan Meyer)
  • Mar. 28: Florida Keys Bleachwatch (Cory Walter)

Plant Profile: COLICROOT

By Roger L. Hammer

Man-in-the-ground (Ipomoea microdactyla)

Aletris bracteata is a state-listed endangered
species found in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
Photo by Roger Hammer

Man-in-the-ground (Ipomoea microdactyla)

Aletris lutea is locally common in the Big Cypress
National Preserve northward in Florida.
Photo by Roger Hammer

There are two native members of the genus Aletris in southern Florida, and both are easy to tell apart. One is called Bracted Colicroot (Aletris bracteata) and the other is Yellow Colicroot (Aletris lutea). Bracted Colicroot occurs in pine rocklands and short-hydroperiod glades, mostly within Everglades National Park (Miami-Dade County), but also occurs on Big Pine Key in the Lower Florida Keys (Monroe County). Yellow Colicroot inhabits the moist flatwoods and savannas of the Big Cypress National Preserve (Collier County) northward in Florida.

Both species have short, mealy, tubular flowers on erect stems that emerge from a basal rosette of leaves, which somewhat resemble a miniature agave. Bracted Colicroot flowers are dull white and Yellow Colicroot flowers are yellow, as its common name implies. Both are relatively common in their respective habitats.

The genus Aletris was historically placed in the Lily Family (Liliaceae) but is now relegated to the Bog Asphodel Family (Nartheciaceae). There are six species native to Florida, along with one naturally-occurring hybrid, and all have been used medicinally to cure colic. There is much dispute as to what colic actually is, and what causes it. Infant colic is when babies cry for hours at a time for no apparent reason, and was thought to be due to stomach or intestinal problems. Studies have shown that breast-fed babies are not as prone to developing colic as bottle-fed babies.

The name Aletris is taken from the Greek word meaning "to grind" (Aletris was a female Greek slave who ground grain into meal), and refers to the mealy texture of the flowers. They do, in fact, look like they’re covered with corn meal.

Good places to see Bracted Colicroot in its natural habitat is to take a stroll or ride your bike along the Long Pine Key Nature Trail in Everglades National Park. Enter from Gate 4 along the campground road and proceed west. You’ll see plants along the trailside as you approach the first Everglades prairie, and you’ll also see flowering plants this time of year along the edges of the prairie. Yellow Colicroot is locally abundant in the Big Cypress National Preserve, especially along the road that leads to the Dade-Collier Training Airport off of Tamiami Trail (US41). Look for signage on the north side of Tamiami Trail for the Dade-Collier Airport.

Roger Hammer is a former Miami-Dade County Parks Naturalist, photographer, and author of numerous books on South Florida nature and wildflowers.  He is a member of the Florida Native Plant Society.

Specify your Tillandsia and/or Sabal Minor delivery preference by contacting FNPS at or 321-271- 6702.
For each publication, indicate email or postal mail. You may also specify Palmetto delivery preference to be enacted at a future date (email delivery of the Palmetto is not currently available).


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,