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Newsletter - June 2012

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
Dade Chapter and FNPS News
Other News and Events
Annual Meeting Report
From the new President
News from the FNPS Conference
Roger Hammer receives Honorary Degree from Florida International University
Paid Advertising
Contacts for DCFNPS


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 11 (Sat): Chapter Workday, Everglades National Park
August 18: Field trip - Pine Ridge Sanctuary - a private pineland in the Redland, organized by Miami Blue NABA. Rain date August 25.


Tuesday, June 26, 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!).

“Carnivorous Plants of Florida” - Michael Manna, Scientist, South Florida Water Management District.

Drosera capillaris (Pink Sundew)
Drosera capillaris(Pink Sundew)
Photo by Shirley Denton

Michael will be educating us about our interesting carnivorous plants during a photographic and hands on presentation at the Chapter meeting. Michael has a B.S in Biology from Florida Atlantic University and has been working in restoration science in the Everglades for 13 years. He spends much of his time botanizing, hiking, canoeing and bird watching in the remote natural places where carnivorous native plants dwell. Wherever he travels globally, he searches for these plants and cultivates many kinds in his backyard.

July 14 meeting (no meeting at Pinecrest Gardens): Annual Evening Yard Visit and Social meeting (for FNPS members and their guests). 4:00 - 7:00 pm, at the home of  FNPS members in Homestead.

Bring a potluck dish and your family. We will enjoy the property, celebrate the Dade Chapter's 30th anniversary and honor the founders Joyce and Don Gann.  This spectacular property on a former farm field now includes a lush and diverse one-acre woodland with a pond full of native wildlife, a 75-foot elevated boardwalk, 150 native plant species including trees, bromeliads, orchids and aquatic plants, and almost as many animal and insect species!  More details in the July Tillandsia.


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).

Sunday, June 17, 2012: Larry and Penny Thompson Park pineland.   Note the earlier time!  This park, once part of the Richmond Naval Station, was acquired by the county in December 1974 as part of a land transfer from the federal government.  The Richmond Pineland Complex includes county-owned pineland tracts at Larry and Penny Thompson Park, Zoo Miami and Martinez Pineland Preserve, plus the Coast Guard Communications Station, the NOAA Doppler radar site and others. We will visit an area burned last December, where we expect to see wildflowers in bloom, as well as other areas rich with grasses.  Afterward you are invited to Patty's house a couple blocks away for a cool drink.

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

  • Bring: Water, sun protection.
  • Difficulty: Easy - paved and unpaved paths, but open and sunny.
  • 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 Members.   Kurt Birchenough (FIU student, also a new board member), Cynthia Guerra, Dr. David Lee (our May speaker), and Jennifer Stine.  We greatly appreciate the support of new, renewing and rejoining members!

Chapter workdays, Everglades National Park: June 9, July 21, and August 11 -  9am -noon.  Help the chapter enhance the entrance to a national park!  We'll do weeding and pruning and reinstall plant signs.  As usual, a jug of cold water will be provided, bring snacks to share if you care to.  Gloves, hand tools and bug spray are available but you may prefer to use your own.  Mosquitoes might be out, so bring a head net if you have one (we have a few in the supplies). New helpers are welcome and encouraged to come.  Everyone in your car gets into ENP free after the workday. Contact Patty 305-255-6404, if you have questions (305-878-5705 cell, for the morning of the workday only).

Bill Sadowski Park arboretum.  Thanks to the large group of volunteers (members, friends, park employees and even a family who found the activity online) who turned out on May 12 for the initial workday of our new project to revive the arboretum at the park. We divided into four groups to identify the trees and record their locations on maps -- just a few words describe it, but it was a huge undertaking.  Over the summer, a small group will make proposals for trail routes and recommendations for trees to feature or remove.  In the fall, we will announce more workdays and ask for your input.  If you have any questions or thoughts on this project, please contact Buck Reilly at 786-291-4824 or

New refreshment coordinators.  Thanks to Cheryl and Ben Morgan, who have already started coordinating the refreshments at monthly meetings.  Contact them at  As always, come early to visit, shop the merchandise table and look for great raffle plants while you enjoy some tasty snacks contributed by chapter members


Dade Native Plant Workshop, Tue June 19 at 7 pm: MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center. This month's topic is the Arecaceae (Palm family). Please bring in at least 3 plants, which needn't necessarily cover the topic. See For more info, contact Steve at steve@pronative.comor 786-488-3101.

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 23: Dolphin Preserve, Miami Gardens (planting)

Pollinator Week: June 18-24.  See"Bee Basics -  An Introduction to Our Native Bees", by Beatriz Moisset, Ph.D., and Stephen Buchmann, Ph.D., is a wonderful booklet that can be ordered for $5 or downloaded free at  From the website: "… wonderful and engaging entre into the hidden world of North America's native bees. The full-color 40 page booklet is jam-packed with information about how representative bees of 3,500 species inhabiting the US and bordering areas make a living, which flowers they visit, whether they nest underground or in hollow stems or wood. The diversity of bees is examined along with notes on their wasp ancestry. The lives of leafcutter, mason, bumble bees, miners and others is explored. Look-like bee and wasp-mimicking flies are shown. Tips for easy things gardeners, home owners and naturalists can do to protect and conserve bees and their flowers are given."


Our Annual Business meeting and election of officers was held during our May 22 meeting, and the following board members were elected for the 2012-2014 Term:

Buck Reilly, President
Amy Leonard, Vice President
Kurt Birchenough, Member at Large
Lauren McFarland, Member at Large
Surey Rios, Member at Large
Gita Ramsay, to complete the one-year vacancy as Secretary.

Remaining on the board for the second year of their terms are:

Susan Walcutt, Treasurer
Amida Frey, Eric von Wettberg and Vivian Waddell, Members at Large

Ted Shaffer will remain on the Board in the non-elected position of Past President.  Ted has been serving as President for the past three years, since Robert Harris's move to Broward.  He has spearheaded many important initiatives and looks forward to continuing to work on projects for the Chapter.  A very big thank you to Ted for providing outstanding leadership throughout his term!

The Chapter thanks Lynka Woodbury for her service over the past decade as our Chapter Representative to FNPS and her constant efforts to increase Chapter and state-wide membership in FNPS.  Lynka is planning to remain very active, focusing her energies on helping get the Keys Branch active again and on continuing to recruit new members and re-engage past members.  Thank you, Lynka, for your past and future heartfelt service to the Chapter!


I am excited to serve the DCFNPS as your new president.  Over the past several years I have gotten involved with DCFNPS, The North American Butterfly Association, and The Tropical Audubon Society who have opened my eyes to a whole new world.  As I walk, or drive through Miami I see plants and try to figure out what they are, I wonder what butterfly, bee or moth might pollinate or eat them, or what use they may have to birds or other animals.  I hear birds through an open window and try to learn what they are and what I can do to get them to stay in my neighborhood. 

I don’t know how I didn’t notice these things before, but I know that I feel a much deeper connection to Miami since I began to learn about the real Florida, that was here long before any of our members (that is a long, long time ago).  After learning about plants and wildlife interactions with plants I will never be able to see a Hammock or Pine Rockland without thinking of the life that it supports.  I will also never be able to see a parking lot, a cleared building site or a Saint Augustine lawn without seeing its unrealized potential to support life.

Last month during his talk about his book The Wayside Trees of South Florida, David Lee quoted the Senegalese poet Baba Dioum who said “In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” 

My love of South Florida is the result of our members’ enthusiasm to pass on their knowledge, and I would like to do my part to ensure that others will fall in love with the plants and animals of South Florida.  I hope you will tell me your ideas about how we can infect others with our love of this amazing place that we call home.

Buck Reilly
786 291 4824


A delightful time was had by the DCFNPS members who attended the conference in Plant City in May.  It's a special treat to have a field trip on Thursday when most people are locked up inside at work or in school.  Some of us enjoyed a leisurely canoe trip down the Hillsborough River under the cool shade of towering overhanging trees, populated by Limpkins, alligators and local residents fishing from docks… and not a motorboat in sight. Visitors to Bok Tower Sanctuary had a behind the scenes tour of the Rare Plant Conservation Program facilities and nursery, while wildlife and lush Central Florida habitats were the highlights of the Circle B Bar Ranch.  

The social at Crystal Springs Preserve on Saturday could have been billed as an evening field trip with dinner.  We wandered the wooded trails and boardwalks around the spring and river, admiring the nesting sandhill cranes on a sandbar and spotting other native wildlife and flora.

Programs on Friday and Saturday covered a wide range of topics for all interests -- conservation, landscaping, science, law and more.  A recurring theme was the need and current efforts to establish corridors to connect natural areas in Florida.  Doug Tallamy's program "Your Role in Building Biological Corridors: Networks for Life" inspired even those with too many plants already to plant even more.  (It can't be said often enough -- read his book Bringing Nature Home, How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants).

Mark your calendar for the next conference, May 16-19, 2013 in Jacksonville.  The theme will be "Celebrating la Florida" - 500 years since the discovery by the Spanish, 450 years since the founding of St Augustine. 


At the Annual Meeting, Dade Chapter member Steve Woodmansee was elected to a two-year term as FNPS president (after serving a one-year term following the early resignation of the previous president).

While no Miami-Dade or Keys residents received landscape awards, we cheered Linda Demetropoulos, president of the Dade Chapter in the late 1990s, accepting awards for two outstanding projects by the City of Gainesville.  If you are ever in Gainesville, be sure to enjoy a walk or bike ride on the Waldo Road Greenway.

FNPS Research Grant Award

One Miami-Dade resident, Emily Warschefsky, was awarded an Endowment Research Grant to support her graduate work on hybrid Tillandsia. (An excerpt from her application follows.)

Emily is a graduate student at FIU, carrying out her research in the Tropical Plant Biology and Conservation program at the Center for Tropical Plant Conservation at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. From her bio for the CTPC website: "A native Michigander, Emily Warschefsky moved to the Miami heat after receiving her B.A. in Biology from Reed College.  She is now pursuing her PhD in Biology in Dr. Eric von Wettberg’s lab at FIU. Her academic interests in botany are rooted in species interactions – particularly hybridization and plant-microbe symbioses – and their relationship to plant distribution and speciation. Beyond botany, Emily enjoys: swamp walks, lichens, pie-baking, jam-canning, quilting, rock climbing, and canoeing."

(Excerpt of Emily Warschefsky's FNPS 2012 Research Grant Award application, Goals and Methods sections omitted)

Determining parentage and ploidy of hybrid Tillandsia: achieving a better understanding of Florida’s native plant diversity

Emily Warschefsky, Florida International University & Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden


Hybridization in plants is known to have a variety of effects, both positive and negative, on overall levels of biodiversity. These effects can only be understood after baseline information on hybrid systems is ascertained. Florida’s 16 species of native bromeliads are among the state’s most charismatic plants, but are also some of its most rare. Along with these species, two named hybrids are known to occur, Tillandsia x smalliana and T. x floridana. Despite having been identified nearly 30 years ago, questions as to the parentage and ploidy levels of these hybrids remain unanswered. This proposal aims to fill these gaps in knowledge by molecular verification of hybrid parentage and chromosomal assessment of hybrids. Only after these goals are achieved can we gain a true understanding of the diversity of Florida’s native bromeliads.


From ‘Spanish moss’ (Tillandsia usneoides) adorning live oak trees to ‘air plants’ that speckle the cypress swamps of the Everglades, members of the Neotropical Bromeliaceae family are some of Florida’s most charismatic plants. The family as a whole exhibits remarkable adaptive diversity. Bromeliad species are found from the Amazon rainforest to the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, and from the Andean highlands to sea level in the Florida Keys, and have evolved unique mechanisms by which to inhabit such varied landscapes (Benzing et al. 2000).

Florida is home to 16 native species of epiphytic bromeliads, many of which are found nowhere else in the United States (Luther and Brown, 2000). Of these, 10 are currently on Florida’s list of threatened and endangered species (Weaver and Anderson, 2010), in part due to the detrimental effects of the non-native bromeliad weevil, Metamasius callizona (Frank, 1999). In addition to these bromeliad species, two natural hybrids, T. x floridana and T. x smalliana have been accepted into the formal nomenclature (Luther and Brown, 2000). Despite the fact that these hybrids were described nearly 30 years ago (Luther, 1985a; Luther, 1985b), relatively little research has been directed toward learning more about these unique bromeliads.


  • T. x smalliana (Reddish wild pine), which has been reported only in southern Florida, has been putatively identified as a cross between T. fasciculata var. densispica and T. balbisiana (Luther, 1985b). Like both of its putative parental species, T. x smalliana is reported to be affected by the Mexican bromeliad weevil, M. callizona.
  • T. x floridana (Florida air plant), native to central Florida, is thought to be a hybrid of T. fasciculata var. densispica and T. bartramii (Luther, 1985a).

Parental species

  • T. fasciculata var. densispica (Cardinal air plant) is native to parts of Central America, Mexico, the West Indies, and central to southern Florida, where it is state-endangered.
  • T. balbisiana (Northern needle leaf) has a range that includes Central America, Mexico, the West Indies, and central and southern Florida, where it is listed as threatened.
  • T. bartramii (Bartram’s air plant) is found only in northeastern Mexico and central to northern Florida, extending into southern Georgia.
Tillandsia bartramii photo
Tillandsia bartramii (Bartram’s wild-pine)
Photo by Shirley Denton

Hybridization, the interbreeding of species, was once thought to be a rare event leading to the production of sterile offspring – an evolutionary dead end (Briggs, and Walters, 1997). However, botanists now recognize that ancient hybridization and genome  duplication events were key to the early diversification of vascular plants (e.g. Rieseberg, 1997; Mallet, 2007; Soltis and Soltis, 2009; Givnish, 2010). With the potential for outcomes such as hybrid speciation or genetic swamping of a parental species (e.g. Rieseberg, 2006; Maschinski et al., 2010), contemporary hybridization events can directly impact on biodiversity in both positive and negative ways.

Tillandsia fasciculata photo
Tillandsia fasciculata var. densispica
(Cardinal air plant)
Photo by Shirley Denton

In order to understand the consequences of hybridization, two key pieces of information must first be known: the parentage of the hybrids and whether or not they were formed by genome duplication (polyploidy). The latter is important because the mechanism of hybrid formation can indicate the effects of the hybrid on parental species. If hybrids did not undergo genome duplication and are therefore homoploid, there is a significant chance that they can serve as agents of genetic admixture (introgression) between parental species (e.g. Maschinski et al. 2010). If hybrids are polyploid, backcrossing with parental species is far less likely, and it could be argued that such hybrids represent a distinct species (e.g. Rieseberg, 2006). In either case, hybridization can lead to genetic  recombination that produces advantageous adaptations including pest resistance and the ability to thrive in novel habitats (e.g. Rieseberg et al., 1999).

Applications and Future Directions

As climate change shifts species boundaries, it will undoubtedly lead to new instances of sympatry and open the door to novel hybridization events (Hoffmann and Sgró, 2011). Likewise, proposed human-mediated conservation efforts involving relocation of species could have similar effects. This makes understanding existing cases of hybridization all the more important. It has been shown that certain clades of plants are more prone to hybridization to others, but there remains no good explanation as to why this is the case (Ellstrand et al., 1996; Whitney et al., 2010). Tillandsia serves as an example of such hybrid propensity – the genus has more than four times as many named hybrids as any other within its family (Govaerts et al., 2011). This project is part of my larger dissertation work investigating the genetic consequences of hybridization in Tillandsias in an effort to understand one of the driving forces of plant diversity.


by Suzanne Koptur

Roger Hammer photo
Roger Hammer

On April 30th, 2012, at the spring graduation ceremony for the Biology and Earth/Environment departments, Roger Hammer received an Honorary Doctorate in Science. Pretty impressive for a guy who says he “used to dream of going to college, when I fell asleep in high school”! He received his degree on his first wedding anniversary to his wife, Michelle, and acknowledged that coincidence in his speech.

Roger was nominated by FIU professors in Biology and Earth and Environment shortly after his retirement, after he captivated us with a spellbinding seminar about natural (ancient) history of Florida. Roger retired from the Miami-Dade Parks Department where he was a senior interpretive naturalist, managing the Castellow Hammock Nature Center and participating in many initiatives for environmental education in our county and state. Dr. Hammer has led educational initiatives that helped identify and locate rare and endangered plants throughout the Everglades, Big Cypress, and the Florida Keys. He spearheaded the creation of a butterfly and hummingbird garden at Castellow Hammock, and has long been a proponent of gardening for wildlife.

Dr. Roger Hammer’s enthusiasm for photography and natural talents in botany (plant identification and taxonomy) led to the publication of two beautiful and useful wildflower guides, widely used by students, professionals, and visitors to southern Florida for nature exploration purposes. Recently he published a third volume, a guide to Everglades National Park, which will greatly enhance the experience of visitors to the area. As members of the Native Plant Society know, he has spent more than 30 years earning the nickname “Father Nature”.  His service has been recognized previously by key environmental organizations, including the Florida Native Plant Society, bestowing upon Roger the Green Palmetto Award for Education in 2003.  So, it used to be ‘Hey Roger’, but now we can call him Dr. Hammer! 



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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: Buck Reilly,, 786-291-4824
Vice-President: Amy Leonard,, 305-458-0969
Secretary:  Gita Ramsay (, 786-877-7168)
Treasurer: Susan Walcutt, (
At Large: Amida Frey,  Lauren McFarland, Eric von Wettberg, Vivian Waddell, Kurt Birchenough, Surey Rios
FNPS board: Lauren McFarland

Past President: Ted Shaffer

Mailing address:

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

General information: 786-340-7914,

Refreshment coordinator: Cheryl & Ben Morgan (

Membership: Patty Phares, (, 305-255-6404)       

DCFNPS Facebook:

DCFNPS Website:

DCFNPS email:

Webmasters: Greg Ballinger and Haniel Pulido Jr.,

Tillandsia interim editor: Patty Phares, 305-255-6404,

Assistant editors: Lauren McFarland

Articles, announcements and news items are invited for Tillandsia from Dade and Keys members.  Please submit items for consideration by the 15th of each month. Advertising rates from $12 per month.

State Organization

FNPS Chapter representative: Lauren McFarland

FNPS Web Page:

FNPS Blog:

FNPS Facebook:

FNPS Twitter:

FNPS Eco Action Alert List: Send email request to

FNPS (state) office: 321-271-6702,