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Newsletter - May 2012

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
Dade Chapter and FNPS News
Notice of Annual Chapter Meeting and Election
Arboretum Restoration at Bill Sadowski Park
Other News and Events
Field Trip Report: CREW Marsh
Contacts for DCFNPS


May 12 (Sat.): Chapter workday at Bill Sadowski Park arboretum (new chapter project)
May 17-20 (Thu.-Sun.): FNPS Annual Conference, Plant City.  Register at
May 22 (Tue.): Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens - Annual Chapter and election of the board
May 26 (Sat.): Field trip - Fern Forest (Broward Co.)

June 9 (Sat.): Chapter Workday, Everglades National Park
June 17 (Sun.): Field trip - Larry & Penny Thompson Park pineland
June 26 (Tue.): Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens

July 14 (Sat.): Evening Yard Visit and Social Meeting in Homestead (no meeting at Pinecrest Garden).  Celebrate the Dade Chapter's 30th anniversary!
July 21 (Sat): Chapter Workday, Everglades National Park

August 18: Field trip - Glancy's pineland in the Redlands with Miami Blue NABA. Rain date August 25.


Tuesday, May 22, 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!).

Annual Chapter Meeting: There will be a brief business meeting to elect board members for 2012-2014 terms.  The president, vice-president, secretary. and three directors at large will be chosen.

"Wayside Trees of Tropical Florida"

David Lee, FIU professor emeritus of Botany and, will take us through his new book illustrating the native and exotic tree species found in the urban landscape of Miami and the rest of South Florida. His book will be for sale at the event, with a portion of the proceeds going to the DCNPS.

June 26 program: TBA


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, May 26, 2012, 9:30 am-12:30: Fern Forest Nature Center.  This 247-acre wilderness acquired by Broward County in 1979 was once part of the Snapper Creek Watershed.  Its 10 plant communities include wet hardwood hammock with rare ferns (>30 species) and open prairie, as well as eroded limestone formations.  For more information see:

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

  • Bring: Drinks, bug spray, lunch if you want to picnic after the walk. A hand lens might be handy to look at hairs on fronds.
  • Difficulty: Easy - boardwalks or paths and smooth ground.
  • Delayed or lost?  Try Patty's cell, 305-878-5705 (for use that morning only). 

Learn to ID plants on field trips! Just ask, and  we’ll introduce you to good people to stick close to. A plant list may be obtained for many sites by visiting The Institute for Regional Conservation website at and entering the Floristic Inventory of South Florida online database.


Welcome New Member.  Darlene Humes.  Welcome back to members who have renewed or rejoined after an absence.  We appreciate your support!

FNPS 2012 Conference - May 17-20.  "Preserving the Natural Heart of Florida".  It's not too late to register for the days of your choice.  Information at or contact FNPS (321-271-6702,  On Thursday and Sunday, choose from a variety of field trips, and on Friday and Saturday see programs on everything from native plant gardening to environmental issues. There will also be merchandise and plant vendors, silent auction, exhibitors, Landscape Award videos and social events.

Notice of Annual Chapter Meeting
and Election

May 22, 2012, 7:30 p.m. at Pinecrest Gardens

Elections for the Miami-Dade Chapter Board positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary, and three Directors at Large (all for two-year terms, except for Secretary, which will be for one year) will be held at the May Chapter meeting.

If you are interested in running for a position, or would like to nominate someone, please contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969, The main qualifications are enthusiasm and a desire to see the chapter thrive.  You don’t have to be a botanist - a variety of skills is always needed on the board.

The nominees so far are: 

President: Buck Reilly

VPAmy Leonard

Secretary: Gita Ramsay(1 year term)

Members at Large:  Lauren Mcfarland, Surey Rios, and Lynka Woodbury

Remaining on the Board in the second year of their terms are: Treasurer Susan Walcutt; Directors at Large Amida Frey, Eric von Wettberg and Vivian Waddell.

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana).

Photo by Lauren McFarland


The Dade Chapter's newest project launches on May 12, 9am-noon - Volunteers needed

  • Where: Bill Sadowski Park, 17555 SW 79 Ave., Palmetto Bay (1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Road on SW 176 St.)
  • Volunteers needed for: Tree ID, mapping, recording, tag making, possibly some seedling removal (something for all botanical skill levels).  At least 20 people are needed to be divided into 4 teams.
  • Bring (if available): Tree ID books, clipboard (especially long ones), gloves
  • Wear: Long pants, closed shoes
  • Will be provided: Drinks, snacks, tools, gloves
  • Contact: Buck Reilly (DCFNPS) at 786-291-4824 or for questions/suggestions, to RSVP, or to be added to the reminder list for future workdays

Bill Sadowski Park (aka Old Cutler Hammock) in Palmetto Bay, has been the site of several of the chapter's Native Plant Day events.  In addition to several wonderful natural areas, a recent "forested wetland restoration" and a nature center, the park also features an arboretum -- though you might never recognize it.  Situated next to the parking area, the approximately 1-acre arboretum appears to be a rockland hammock.  It was originally part of a transverse glade which became overgrown with Brazilian pepper after the water flow was altered.  The Parks Department cleared the peppers in the 1980s, leaving the few remaining native specimens, and planted trees as an arboretum with examples of South Florida native trees and shrubs. 

Over the years the educational purpose was forgotten: signs were lost to age, trails and benches disappeared in the undergrowth, exotics once again gained a presence and the arboretum was not used for interpretive activities.  However, that is about to change!  The Parks Department has recently removed most of the exotics and the Dade Chapter has agreed to help restore the arboretum to its original purpose.

The project's activities and schedule will be planned by the participants as the project proceeds.  The first task (on May 12) is to identify, map and evaluate trees.  From this survey, trees to keep or remove will be identified.  Large tree removal, if needed, will be by county crews. 

Later activities may include marking and clearing trails, planting additional species, making temporary signs for trees, designing larger interpretive signs, finding funding for permanent signs, refurbishing benches, creating web-based interpretive materials, leading educational activities in the arboretum, and occasionally weeding, trash removal and pruning to keep trails clear.  Other organizations might cooperate, including the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association.

The project leaders are Dallas Hazelton (Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management) and Buck Reilly (DCFNPS).  Buck would like other chapter members to help with coordination, sending email reminders before workdays and other tasks.  Please contact Buck (see above) with questions and to offer assistance.

Two upcoming events will be held at the park: Native Plant Day on March 23, 2013, and the four-organization Annual Holiday Potluck Picnic on December 2, 2012.  We aim to have a functional arboretum to show off by then!


Dade Native Plant Workshop, Tue May 15 at 7 pm: MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center. This month's topic is the Myrtaceae (Myrtle family), which includes our stoppers, spicewood, melaleuca, guava, and many more. Please bring in at least 3 plants, which needn't necessarily cover the topic.. See For more info, contact Steve at or 786-488-3101.

Broward Native Plant Society,  Wed May 9 at 7 pm:  Mike Orfranedes will speak about pruning.  At the Broward Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or 

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.

  • June 2-3: Native Plant Sale.  Help support conservation activities and landscape your yard at the same time.

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.

  • June 8: Nixon Smiley Preserve, SW 124 St & 227 Ave. (planting)


CREW Marsh: March 31, 2012
By Steven W. Woodmansee

Spring has sprung in South Florida, and twelve or so dedicated native plant enthusiasts trekked out during the last day of March 2012 to a conservation area in Collier County known as Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) Marsh.  This 20,000 + acre tract of land is owned by the South Florida Water Management District, and consists of basin marshes, depression marshes, wet flatwoods, mesic flatwoods and mesic hammock habitats.

It was a beautiful sunny day, and truly a great field trip as we recorded 134 vascular plant species in bloom (or spore). Flowering diversity and plentitude was likely enhanced by a controlled burn that had taken place last summer.  Wildflowers love fires, as they open up the canopy to sunlight, burn back competitive Saw palmettos and shrubs, and release nutrients. 

Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata)

Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata)
Photo by Mary Rose

Although too plentiful to mention all, below I'll discuss some of those which are true harbingers of Spring.  We saw some nice patches of Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata) in the Mint family (Lamiaceae).  This native species of sage forms basal rosettes of leaves, and a one foot tall stalk covered in 1/2" lavender flowers. 

Another wildflower, Coastal Plain hawkweed (Hieracium megacephalon) in the sunflower family (Asteraceae) presented showy yellow flowering heads about an inch wide, emerging from a 1.5' tall leafless stalk originating from a basal rosette of leaves with long shaggy hairs.  It gets its common name from Native American myths suggesting that hawks flew down to the ground and consumed the leaves to enhance their vision.

Early blue violet (Viola palmata)
Early blue violet (Viola palmata)
Photo by Mary Rose

Two native species of violets were observed along the fire break roads, Common blue violet (Viola sororia) and Early blue violet (Viola palmata).  Both species have bilateral blue flowers about the size of a nickel, and shaped like a harlequin mask, forming small basal rosettes of leaves.  However, Early blue violet has highly lobed leaves, while Common blue violet possess leaves which are unlobed.

From our carnivorous collection we saw Pink sundews (Drosera capillaris) with pale pink flowers and Small butterworts (Pinguicula pumila) with yellow and white flowers, both growing in boggy edges of flatwoods and depression marshes, and Leafy bladderworts (Utricularia foliosa) floating in a "borrow pond" with sunny yellow flowers.

Zebra swallowtail butterflies (Eurytides marcellus) flitted about as CREW marsh was full of Netted pawpaw (Asimina reticulata), their larval host plant.  This primitive angiosperm portrayed its three petaled fleshy cream colored flowers all along its woody stems.  Fruits of this species are generally edible and tasty, but only when dead ripe, and unfortunately, those present during this walk were immature. 

Netted Pawpaw (Asimina reticulata)

Netted Pawpaw (Asimina reticulata).  Photo by Mary Rose.

Spring also is the time when members of the heath family (Ericaceae) flower.  We saw two native blueberries, Shiny blueberry (Vaccinium myrsinites) and Darrow's blueberry (Vaccinium darrowii), both are smaller than your typical blueberry, being subshrubs to 2' tall.  They are similar looking, having small leaves (<1/2"), and small pale pink urn shaped flowers.  Darrow's blueberry generally has waxier leaves and does not possess Shiny blueberry's stalked glands on the leaves (generally only visible by magnifying lens).  Both blueberries have yummy fruit the size of "bird shot", but generally aren't ripe until June or July.  Coastal Plain staggerbush (Lyonia fruticosa) was also in bloom, with large clusters of pink urn-shaped flowers.  This striking tall leggy shrub has blue-grey leaves with rusty colored scales on their underside.

Simpson’s grasspink
Simpson’s grasspink
(Calopogon tuberosus
var. simpsonii
Photo by Mary Rose.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Simpson's grasspink (Calopogon tuberosus var. simpsonii), a lovely terrestrial orchid with an "Upside down flower", whose lip is at the top of the flower, rather than the bottom as is typical of most orchid flowers, these were colored pale pink. Another terrestrial orchid observed, Spring ladies tresses (Spiranthes vernalis), possessed elegant white flowers of spiraling up the bloom stalk.

Although not yet in flower, noteworthy was a stand of 25' tall American elms (Ulmus americana), a temperate species for which CREW marsh may be the southernmost locality.

Notable critters included a nice sized 12" Southern ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus), a 3' Florida water snake (Nerodia fasciata var. pictiventris), and a ditch full of baby Alligators (Alligator mississipiensis), all of which posed for those of us with cameras.

If you haven’t attended one of our field trips lately, you are really missing out.  All of us had big smiles at the end of our hike, feeling refreshed and contented from our communion with Nature.

Special thanks to Dr. Marty Roessler for helping compile the complete list of flowering or sporing plants which may be viewed online at:


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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,