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Newsletter - October 2012

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
Dade Chapter and FNPS News
Volunteer for Chapter Activities
Other News and Events
Book Review - Wildflowers of Florida
Woody Groundcovers
Contacts for DCFNPS


Oct. 6 (Sat.): Chapter workday at Bill Sadowski Park
Oct. 14 (Sun): DCFNPS board meeting - members invited
Oct. 20 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
Oct. 23 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
Oct. 27 (Sat.): Field trip (Chapman Field)

Nov. 9-11 (Fri.-Sun.): FTBG Ramble - DCFNPS display, volunteer signup needed by Oct 15
Nov. 17 (Sat.): Chapter workday at Bill Sadowski Park
Nov. 24 (Sat.): Field trip (Big Cypress)
Nov. 27 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens

Dec. 2 (Sun.): Annual holiday picnic at Bill Sadowski Park
Dec. 8-9 (Sat.-Sun.): Butterfly Days at FTBG - DCFNPS Display
Dec. 15 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
Dec. 16 (Sun.): Field trip (location TBA)
(No meeting in December)


Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 7:30 pm. (4th Tuesday, not last)
Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 SW 57 Ave (Red Road).
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.

"Submarine Fields of Green: The Manatees' Kitchen" - Dr. Christopher Buzzelli, Senior Scientist, South Florida Water Management District

Why are submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) habitats important indicators of coastal ecosystem status in south Florida?  Find out at this presentation on native coastal marine vegetation.

SAV is an essential component in aquatic ecosystems in Florida. There are seven species of marine SAV in South Florida with very different plant morphologies and habitat attributes.  This presentation will review their distribution and abundance, discuss the environmental drivers that modulate their growth and survival, and emphasize the importance of SAV habitats as indicators of ecosystem condition.

Dr. Buzzelli came to Florida from South Carolina after a professorship in the Department of Biology at the College of Charleston.  He specializes in the assessment and modeling of coastal ecosystems, estuarine biogeochemistry, and seagrass and wetland ecology.  He is currently a senior scientist in the SFWMD's Coastal Ecosystem Section.

November 27: Dr. Eric von Wettberg from FIU will speak about ways genetics can help us protect rare species in Florida and the Caribbean.

LogoPlease help us reach our goal by donating to the FNPS Conservation Grant Award sponsored by the Dade Chapter in honor of our founders, Joyce and Don Gann.

Donate at a chapter meeting or mail to:  

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

Please make your check payable to DCFNPS and indicate that is for "Conservation Grant fund."  DCFNPS will match the donations.


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 more info, call Patty Phares (305-255-6404).

Saturday, October 27, 1:15 - 3:30 pm: Chapman Field Park, highlighting seagrasses (topic of our October program) and mangrove forest

Our trip to this site in April was washed out, so we try again.  We will drive east to a short nature trail (< 1/2 mile) which loops through mangrove forest.  Easy access to flats will allow wading to examine submersed vegetation.  (Thus we're going when the water should be just a few inches deep.)  We will also botanize along the trail and in a field that is a former fill pad for an abandoned project with some natives and exotics that might attract butterflies.  On the way back we can stop at various points of interest to look for wildlife and more plants.  This will be a short trip, but we could offer a "post trip" nearby.  Requests?

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 protection, insect repellant, shoes that can get wet and muddy (or rubber boots).  A walking stick might be helpful in getting to the flats.  Consider wearing pants that you can roll up to wade and roll down on the trail in case of mosquitoes (non-existent to bad - you never know.)
  • Difficulty: Easy on unpaved trails; moderate in accessing the flats (a few yards of makeshift board paths, mangrove roots, water/mud).  Walking will be a short distance since we can drive to the trail.
  • Leader: Dr. Marty Roessler (our resident seagrass expert)
  • Lost? Try Patty's cell (305-878-5705 - for use that day only).

November 24 field trip:  Monument Road, Big Cypress.

Amy Leonard and Ted Shaffer

At the September 25 Dade Chapter FNPS meeting:

Past president Ted Shaffer is presented an owl box by vice-president Amy Leonard in appreciation of his three years as chapter president.


The Dade Chapter board meets on October 14 at 4 pm in Coral Gables.  All members are welcome to attend or to send suggestions for items for the board to consider.  Please contact president Buck Reilly ( for more information.

Welcome new members!  Jude T. Plummer BCE, Lilian Shin

Newsletter assistance requested!  Please contact Patty Phares (, 305-255-6404) or Buck Reilly (, 786-291-4824) if you might be a candidate for editor, to do the formatting (a new appearance would be welcome!), to assist in assembling announcements and articles or contribute in any way.  Let's make this a group activity!

FNPS Annual Conference May 16-19, 2013: "Celebrating La Florida".  The conference will commemorate Ponce de Leon's naming of this region when he landed here 500 years ago. The conference will be held at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Field trips, keynote speakers and educational sessions, book signings, socials, plant and merchandise sales, homeowners' landscaping workshop.  Save the date!

Broward Native Plant Society.  Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 W State Road 84.  Oct 10, 7pm: Bill Reeve, a professional landscape designer and horticulturist, presents on how to plan, plant and grow native plant gardens.  Oct. 20: Field trip to Sandy Ridge Sanctuary in Coral Springs. 


Chapter workdays at Bill Sadowski Park arboretum, October 6 and November 17, 9 am-noon. Help open up trails, clean up debris, paint signs, clean benches in our chapter project to revive the arboretum.

  • Address: 17555 SW 79 Ave., Palmetto Bay (1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Road on SW 176 St.)
  • Bring: Gloves, hand tools (clippers, loppers, pruning saws), your own drinks and snacks, insect repellant.
  • Wear: Long pants, closed shoes
  • Contact: Buck Reilly at 786-291-4824 or for questions or to be added to the reminder list for future workdays.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Ramble, Nov. 9-11.  Get the inside perspective – volunteer!  Teach others about native plants at our educational display.  To volunteer, please respond to Vivian Waddell, 305-665-5168, by October 15 to have a name tag and free entry into FTBG.  The schedule will be finalized at the October meeting.  (Note: Since nurseries take care of their own selling now, we no longer need chapter help for the plant sale.)

Volunteers are needed for:  

  • Staffing the display Friday to Sunday, 9am-4:30 pm.
  • Set-up help on Thursday afternoon, 3:30-5pm.
  • Break-down on Sunday, 4:30-5pm.

You'll be promoting FNPS and native plants, but you don't need to be a plant expert and can learn what you need to know on the job.
Display items needed: Please loan/donate small native plants (in pots), native butterfly plants or caterpillars for the display.  Contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969,

Chapter workday, Everglades National Park: October 20, 9am -noon.  Help the chapter enhance the entrance to a national park!  We'll do weeding and pruning, reinstall plant signs.  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).


Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Contact Steve at; 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.  If you join on the website you will receive a monthly email reminder.  Oct. 16 topic: The Greenbriar family, Smilacaceae.

Miami Beach dune restoration project , October 10, 10am-1pm.  Fairchild biologist (and FNPS member) Sam Wright needs hard working volunteers for an ongoing dune restoration project at North Shore Open Space Park. You will be hand removing the non-native invasive shrub Scaevola taccada (beach naupaka).  Please contact Sam for directions, what to bring/wear, etc. (305-667 1651 x 3414,

Bird Days, Oct. 4-7 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, cosponsored by Tropical Audubon Society.  Birding trips, programs, gardening info, plant sales, kids' activities.  See Bird pepper, soldierwood, wild coffee, Jamaica caper, firebush, Florida privet and stoppers are among the wonderful bird-attracting native plants that will be available in the plant sale.

Citizens for a Better South Florida (CITIZENS): "An Afternoon With Nature", Saturday, October 20, 2012, 1-5pm. Fundraiser at the spectacular Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, Crandon Park.  Tours, games, silent auction, food, drink and entertainment.  Info and tickets:,, 305-648-0000.  CITIZENS is a nonprofit multi-lingual environmental education organization that inspires citizens to become good environmental stewards and is a member of FNPS.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum meeting, Nov. 1: Dr. Alan Meerow will speak on "Enhancing Tropical Ornamentals at the USDA Chapman Field Research Station."  Social at 7 pm, program at 7:30. Cox Science Bldg., Room 166. Univ. osf Miami.  For info: or 305-284-1302.


Wildflowers of Florida

By Jaret C. Daniels and Stan Tekiela
2010. Paperback, 428 pages.
$16.95, Adventure Publications, Inc.

Reviewed by Chuck McCartney

A good little wildflower book seems to have flown into bookstores mostly under the radar in 2010, and it's got a good little price too: just $16.95. In fact, "little" describes this book quite well – even though it's big on quality.

The publication is a dandy 428-page field guide titled Wildflowers of Florida from naturalist/photographers Jaret C. Daniels and Stan Tekiela. Measuring just 4.5 inches wide by 6 inches long, it's the perfect size to fit in a backpack to take into the field. Despite this small size, each of the 200 wildflowers covered is shown in a full-page, full-bleed color photograph of mostly good quality, and some entries also feature an inset showing some additional plant detail, usually the fruits. Unlike some other wildflower books available, these photos are generally helpful for species identification, as they should be.

Typical of most wildflower guides nowadays, the species are arranged in color groupings: blue, brown, green, orange, pink, purple, red, white, and yellow. The full page of text facing each flower photograph gives: common name; species name; family name; plant height; flower, leaf and fruit description; bloom time; life cycle (perennial or annual); native versus exotic status; habitat; range; and notes discussing other pertinent facts for identification. Clever icons at the bottom of each species discussion visually represent other diagnostic features of the plant, such as flower cluster type (e.g., spike); individual flower type (e.g., tubular); leaf type (e.g., simple); leaf attachment (e.g., opposite); and fruit type (e.g., pod).

At the back of the book, there's a brief glossary and a combination index and checklist. This index is not user-friendly at all. It's based solely on the single, sometimes unusual, common name the authors have chosen to use for each species. If the index had included scientific names, it might have been more helpful.

Because the book attempts to depict species from throughout Florida, there aren't as many wildflowers from the south end of the state as we might have liked to see, but we are lucky enough to have Roger Hammer's fine field guides to Everglades and Keys wildflowers to fulfill that need.

As good as this little book is, it is not without a few errors. For example, Atamasco Lily and Hymenocallis latifolia (oddly called Perfumed Spider Lily in the book) are placed in the lily family by the authors, even though these two species are classic amaryllids with inferior ovaries, as opposed to the superior ovaries of Liliaceae. Unless there has been some really recent DNA evidence justifying the move to the lily family, they properly belong in Amaryllidaceae.

 Chuck McCartney is a former editor of the American Orchid Society's AOS Bulletin and the Awards Quarterly and was a copy editor with The Miami Herald's Broward Edition, before retiring in 2009.  He has written extensively about wildflowers and orchids for numerous publications. He is a member of FNPS.


By Steven W. Woodmansee

Groundcovers are landscape plants that are short in stature (generally less than 2 feet in height), while are capable of covering the ground in lieu of turf (grass).  There are many native plants in cultivation which are capable of this function, most of them sun loving species, however not all are long-lived.  Some exceptions are those which are woody.  Three excellent drought tolerant woody ground covers are Quailberry (Crossopetalum ilicifolium), Gopher-apple (Licania michauxii), and Horizontal Coco-plum (Chrysobalanus icaco).

Quailberry is a long time favorite among Dade native plant enthusiasts.  It is caespitose (clumping in one place rather than spreading underground) and has a habit of long sprawling woody branches, generally not obtaining a height of more than 1 foot.  These branches are covered in prickly dentate (toothed) leaves.  Flowers are solitary and small, and barely noticeable, however fruits are a delightful red color and can be found on it through the year.  It resembles a shrunken holly (Ilex spp.), however is not at all related to hollies, as it is in the tropical plant family the Celastraceae and does not tolerate freezes, while hollies belong to the generally temperate Aquifoliaceae.  Unlike hollies, quailberry is not dioecious (with male and female individuals), so all plants have the capability of producing fruit.  Although urban quails are downright rare if not absent, other birds do eat the fruits.  Once established, it is a tough plant, even known to grow on solid limestone such as found in its native habitat Pine Rockland where it is threatened.  Like all Pine Rockland species, it is best not to use mulch with this species, although pine needles are acceptable in formal plantings.  It can even be used to grow on the tops of rock walls or in boulders so long as plants are started very small.


Gopher-apple in a natural setting. Photo by the author.

Gopher-apple is a slow growing native ground cover found in pineland or scrub habitats throughout Florida, so it is tolerant of occasional freezes.  Like quailberry, it is an upland species and does not tolerate long periods of freshwater inundation.  The main stem is underground, sending out rhizomes, and given time can spread over great areas.  Branches are usually less than 1 foot in height, however some wild specimens have grown to over 3 feet tall.  Leaves are ovate in shape and are greenish with yellow veins.  Flowers are fragrant and creamy white, and found in a paniculate inflorescence (cluster of flowers) that are terminal (at the ends of the branches) at spring-time.  Fruits are whitish-pink, large about the size of a large date, with a large single seed.  It gets its name due to the fact that native gopher tortoises eat the fruit.  Gopher tortoises get their name by their habit of borrowing in sandy soil.  Fruits are edible, tasty when ripe, and generally occur August - September.  It is in the Chrysobalanaceae, a plant family which is a cousin to the rose family (Rosaceae).  Like roses, plants in this family have branches with lenticels, which are elongate pores on the stems often whitish in color.  Plants in this family also attract lots of pollinators.  It is best to plant several together, as it can take a long time for a single plant to fill in a space.  Like Quailberry, it is best not to use mulch with this species, although pine needles are acceptable in formal plantings.

In the same family as Gopher-apple is Coco-plum.  There is a natural coastal form of coco-plum which is termed "horizontal", due to its habit of staying short and spreading latitudinally across the ground.  It is not rhizomatous, and can be fairly large for a ground cover, sometimes over 4 feet in height.  Leaves are broadly ovate (roundish) and dark green.  Flowers and inflorescences greatly resemble Gopher-apple occurring at spring-time, while fruits are larger being the size of a small plum, and generally colored white with greenish to pinkish tinges ripening in late summer to early fall.  Fruits are also edible.  It is naturally found in low areas of coastal strand or coastal scrub habitats of Florida.  It is much faster growing than Gopher-apple and can tolerate higher amounts of mulch. Taller branches of the plant can be trimmed in order to promote horizontal growth.  For more info on this species, please visit:

Steve Woodmansee is a biologist, native plant expert, instructor at Miami-Dade College, chair of the Dade Native Plant Workshop, president of FNPS, a former president of the Dade Chapter, frequent contributor to Tillandsia, co-author of Rare Plants of South Florida,  and speaker for many organizations.  His business, Pro Native Consulting, specializes in environmental services in addition to selling native plants.


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,