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Newsletter - January 2013

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trip
Yard Visit
Announcing Native Plant Day
Dade Chapter News
Message From the President
Other News and Events
The Dicerandra Mints Of Florida
Botanical Gardens I Have Known
Monument Lake Field Trip
Contacts for DCFNPS


Jan. 5 (Sat.): Bolla/Gann Holiday party - please RSVP
Jan. 13 (Sun.): Yard visit (South Miami)
Jan. 22 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
Jan. 27 (Sun.): Field trip (Snake Bight, Everglades National Park)

Feb. 9 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
- Tentative date
Feb. 26 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
Field trip TBA

Mar. 23: 18th Annual Native Plant Day - save the date!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 7:30 pm (not the last Tuesday)

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.

"Endemic Plants of Florida" - Roger Hammer

This program will cover Florida's endemic species – plants that are found in Florida and nowhere else on Earth.  Some of these species are locally common, while others are among the rarest plants in the state.  See Roger's article in this issue on the Dicerandra mints.

Roger Hammer is a retired Miami-Dade County naturalist, author, photographer, and native plant aficionado. He is the author of Everglades Wildflowers, Florida Keys Wildflowers, A FalconGuide to Exploring Everglades National Park, Florida Icons: Fifty Classic Views of the Sunshine State and wildflower identification cards for different parts of Florida.  He received the first Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award in 1982 from the Dade Chapter FNPS for "education, research, promotion, and preservation of native plants”; a Green Palmetto Award in Education from FNPS in 2003; a Lifetime Achievement Award from DCFNPS, Tropical Audubon Society and Miami Blue Chapter–North American Butterfly Association in 2011; and an Honorary Doctor of Science from FIU in 2012.  Roger is a long-time member and supporter of FNPS.

February 26: Xavier Cortatda presents on his "Native Flags" project (, a participatory eco-art project which he is implementing through the FIU College of Architecture + The Arts - Office of Engaged Creativity and the FIU Office of Sustainability.


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).

Sunday, January 27, 9 am-1 pm:   Snake Bight Trail, Everglades National Park.

We will walk through an interesting tropical hardwood hammock to the edge of Florida Bay, where there is a boardwalk and good birding.   This is a great time of year in the park., so please come enjoy it!

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

  • Difficulty: Easy  - walking on open trail (1.6 miles each way, or turn back at any point).
  • Bring/wear: Sun protection, water, insect repellant just in case, lunch if you care to picnic after the walk.  The park entrance fee is $10 per car.
  • Lost? Try Patty's cell (305-878-5705). There will probably be no reception once we're inside the park.


Sunday, January 13, 2013, 9 am to 11 am

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

Who is invited: FNPS members and their guests

As usual, when you come to a mass of trees, you know you are in the right place: plant lovers live in this neighborhood.  What was originally a pineland and hammock area (a 100 year old oak is on site) was converted to an avocado grove and then a 50’s housing project of interesting simple wooden homes.  Slowly the natives and exotics returned and were encouraged with more plantings that have reached a mature state.

The property is an acre in size and seems much bigger because of the arrangement of surprise areas – like rooms.  Hammock, pineland, wetland, coastal plants are all represented as well as interesting exotics – particularly ground covers. This is a 50/50 mix of native and exotics in densely wooded and open areas. Come visit to get lots of landscaping ideas.

This visit is part of an ongoing opportunity for those who wish to know the natives in a hands-on manner and to see them in various settings, formal and informal, and to learn the property owner’s successes and failures at growing them.  If more information is needed, call Gwladys Scott at 305-238-8901.

Annual Bolla / Gann Nature Lovers Holiday Party
January 5th - 5 to 10 pm at the home of Don and Joyce Gann in the Redland (on SW 154th Avenue)

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 and don't wear your fancy shoes (you will park on an unlit roadside and enter on an unpaved driveway).

Please RSVP to Mark Bolla ( or 216-721-4080) or Joyce Gann (786-423-1881). Ask for directions if needed.

Announcing Native Plant Day!

Announcing Native Plant Day!
Saturday, March 23, 2013

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

This year's location:
Bill Sadowski Park at Old Cutler Hammock

Co-sponsored by:
The Dade Chapter FNPS and Miami Dade Parks & Recreation

As always, we will have interesting activities, programs and walks for all!  If you have suggestions for speakers for this location, please contact Ted Shaffer (

How can you help now?

  • Pot up plants that the chapter may sell or raffle (or gather other nature-related items)
  • Suggest a speaker or offer to conduct a walk (contact Ted Shaffer, see above)
  • Volunteer a few hours to help organize the event (contact Chapter VP, Amy Leonard: 305-458-0969,
  • Stick address labels on postcards (date TBA in next month's Tillandsia)
  • Deliver a stack of postcards to a local business - they'll be available at the February meeting (please contact Amy in advance)
  • Help us set up on 3/22/12 - contact Amy for this, too!
  • Assist in contacting volunteers (Gita Ramsay is expecting a new baby at start of 2013 and would appreciate your help!)


Dade Chapter board meeting: January 20 at 4pm.  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!  Susanne Derby; Christian Ramos.  To all who renewed memberships or joined in 2012 - thank you for your support of FNPS.

Thanks to all the volunteers at the Ramble and the Butterfly Festival at Fairchild.who made our displays successful: Ruth Balestra, Mary Barfield, Henry Block, Kur Birchenough, Carrie Cleland, Sam Dawson, Amida Frey, Joyce Gann, Amy Leonard, Lauren McFarland, Elizabeth McQuale, Patty Phares, Buck Reilly, Maria Reilly, Surey Rios, Mary Rose, Gwlady Scott, Ted Shaffer, Karen Sunderland, Susan Walcutt, Ginny Wheeler, Jim Wheeler, Linda Wheeler, Leslie Veber, Lisa Warren.


FNPS Annual Conference, May 16-19, 2013: "Celebrating La Florida" in Jacksonville. Enjoy field trips, programs, socials, plant and merchandise sales, landscaping workshop.

  • Research track papers and poster presentations are invited.
  • Applications for Research Grants, Conservation Grants and Landscape Awards to be announced at the conference are due March 1, 2013. (
FNPS Landscape Awards Program
Please consider submitting your yard or other landscaping or restoration project (by a business, agency, non-profit). It's fun to share our landscaping success stories and it helps spread the word that native landscaping is great! If you know of worthy non-members who might not know about this program, please refer them. FNPS membership is not required.

Broward Native Plant Society.  Meetings at 7pm, Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 W State Road 84.  See the new website for the newsletter and field trips.

Jan. 9: "Paleomedicinal Plants" - Michele Williams tells about archaeological investigations into prehistoric plant use, especially pertaining to medicinal plants of south Florida.


At the end of one year and the beginning of another most people take time to reflect.  Each year I make a list of what I would like to accomplish over the next year and what steps I can take to complete my long term goals.  Returning to the list from past years can be gratifying as I check off accomplishments.  It also often serves as a reminder of areas where my effort should be focused, and frequently demonstrates how life can alter ones perspective, strengthening or weakening our desire to pursue one path or another.

I recently found the plan I created for my garden several years ago.  Though the basic structure was familiar, I clearly underestimated my luck  at our monthly meetings plant raffles, and overestimated my restraint and my ability to adhere to the plan.  Some plants grew much larger than I had expected, forcing me to cut them back or relocate other plants which might be overshadowed.  Other plants (mostly those that chickens find delicious) would never reach fruition. 

As we spend time working in our gardens, we are performing this same design and planning process with nature.  We envision it in the future, imagining what it will be as plants mature, flower, fruit and die.  We remember our garden at its inception and marvel at how much life is now supported by what might have once been a lonely lawn.  We are also fully in the present focused on the task at hand, weeding, planting and watching birds searching for aphids, or anoles having push-up contests.

Over the past year DCFNPS has continued many projects started in year past, and begun new projects as well.  Every DCFNPS project began as an idea that was brought to fruition by our many volunteers and members.  If you have an idea I encourage you to share it or to help as you can with one of our ongoing projects.  I want to thank our webmasters Greg Ballinger and Haniel Pulido - they are constantly behind the scenes, invisibly keeping the website updated so the community is informed and our online newsletter is at our fingertips.  I would like to thank all of our volunteers, donors and members for their support of DCFNPS, of native plants and the wildlife they support.

Our chapter activities in 2012 included:

  • Monthly meetings and newsletters
  • Monthly field trips, including one with the Broward Chapter FNPS to Barley  Barber Swamp, and several in conjunction with the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Assoc.
  • 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
  • March: Our 17th Native Plant Day - held at the Miami-Dade College Landscape Technology Nursery for the first time
  • March/April: DCFNPS attended several events:     
    • John Pennekamp State Park Native Plant Day/Earth Day  
    • Pinecrest Gardens Earth Day    
    • Coral Gables EarthFest    
  • May: The chapter initiated a project with Miami-Dade Parks to restore the arboretum at Bill Sadowski Park.  Several workdays were help during the year.
  • July: At our annual evening yard visit and social meeting, we celebrated the chapter's 30th anniversary and our founders, Joyce and Don Gann.  A fund to donate an FNPS Conservation Grant Award in their honor was announced.
  • October: Featured native plant-butterfly interactions at Air Base Elementary School's Green Education Fair  
  • November: Educational display at Fairchild's Ramble
  • December:
    •  8th Annual 4-organization holiday picnic
    •  Native plants and butterfly larvae at the Butterfly Festival at Fairchild.

Buck Reilly
DCFNPS President


Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. See or contact Steve at  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 (free!) to receive an email reminder and to post plant photos for identification or discussion.

  • Jan. 15 topic:  Let your hair down and do something different!  (See "Weaving a Serenoa Field Basket" in your Spring 2012 Palmetto magazine.)  If you can, bring your own saw palmetto leaf and some extras (to share or if you mess up the first one).  The whole leaf including the petiole (stem) is needed. We'll discuss native palms and whatever else you bring.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

22nd Annual Lecture Series: "The Delicate Balance of Nature".  Wednesdays, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, MM 102.5 Oceanside Overseas Highway.  Gate opens at 7 p.m.  Free but seating is limited. Program details: or call 305-451-9570.

  •  Jan. 9: Large exotic reptile control
  •  Jan. 16: A comparison of Galapagos and the Florida Keys
  •  Jan. 23: Secrets of the Sargasso Sea
  •  Jan. 30: Creating Outstanding Nature and Wildlife Photos
  •  Feb. 6: Sustainable Solid Waste Solutions for the Florida Keys

Environmentally Endangered Lands Program. Help make a difference in protecting our natural areas at preserves all over Miami.   This is a great way to learn about our native habitats and make a difference in your community!  Please register at or call 305-257-0933 x227.  Workday calendar:

  • 1/18 Arch Creek Preseve, 1855 NE 135 St (trail maintenance)
  • 1/26 East Greynolds Park, 16700 Biscayne Blvd (trash removal)
  • 2/1   Hattie Bauer Hammock Preserve, 26715 SW 157 Ave (trail maintenance)


HOME FOR SALE Bird and Butterfly Watchers Delight!

Enjoy your own quiet little nature sanctuary just minutes from downtown and the medical/civic center. Two-story old Spanish home in Shenandoah, 3/2, new kitchen and bath, wood floors, screened porch, carport. Planted with low maintenance natives for privacy and enjoying nature. 786-245-9791


By Roger L. Hammer

Currently there are eight species in the genus Dicerandra (Mint Family; Lamiaceae) known to occur in Florida and one of them, Dicerandra immaculata, has a named variety (var. savannarum).  Of these nine taxa, eight of them are endemic to Florida, and six are restricted to just one or two counties each.  One species, D. linearifolia, is represented in Florida by var. robustior.  It was recently determined that D. linearifolia var. linearifolia is found in Georgia, and material in Florida under that name was actually a new species described by Robin Huck in Rhodora (2010) as Dicerandra fumella.  It has been vouchered from five western Florida panhandle counties and three adjacent counties in Alabama.

Below is a list of Dicerandra species found in Florida and their range:

Lake Wales Balm (Dicerandra christmanii) – endemic to Highlands County
Longspur Balm (Dicerandra cornutissima) – endemic to Marion and Sumter Counties
Florida Balm (Dicerandra densiflora) – endemic to northern peninsular Florida south to Levy and Volusia Counties
Huck’s Balm (Dicerandra fumella) – western panhandle of Florida into Alabama
Lakela’s Balm (Dicerandra immaculata var. immaculata) – endemic to Indian River and St. Lucie Counties
Savanna Balm (Dicerandra immaculata var. savannarum – endemic to St. Lucie County)
Coastal Plain Balm (Dicerandra linearifolia var. robustior) – endemic to Citrus County to the eastern and central peninsula)
Blushing Scrub Balm (Dicerandra modesta) – endemic to Polk County)
Titusville Balm (Dicerandra thinicola) – endemic to Brevard County

D. cornutissimaD. cornutissima
D. thinicolaD. thinicola
D. modestaD. modesta

The rarest Dicerandra in the state is undoubtedly D. immaculata var. savannarum, with only a dozen or so plants known from the wild.  It was once thought to be extinct until botanist Keith Bradley discovered plants still existing in St. Lucie County.  

There is an ongoing recovery effort by state and federal agencies in cooperation with the endangered species program at Bok Tower Gardens in Polk County.

Another critically imperiled species is Titusville Balm (Dicerandra thinicola), known from a small remnant sandhill habitat in near Titusville in Brevard County.

The leaves of Dicerandra mints smell strongly of spearmint or peppermint when crushed and have been used as herbal teas.  I recently drove up to Calhoun County and was escorted around by Bill and Marcia Boothe who showed me (and Virginia Craig) acres of pink where Dicerandra linearifolia var. robustior was in full regalia.  On the drive up I happened to see a patch of pink right alongside US27 in Layfayette County so I stopped and it was many dozens of plants of D. densiflora.  After photographing both of those species that brought my total up to eight of the nine Dicerandras in Florida that I’ve photographed.  It sounds like a road trip to the western panhandle to see Dicerandra fumella is in order next October.


National Botanic Garden of the Dominican Republic

Part 2 of a series by Dr. Eric von Wettberg

Pereskia quisquueyanaI often have the chance to visit botanical gardens.  This month I am continuing this intermittent series of botanical garden travel and recounting a wonderful visit this past summer to the National Botanic Garden of the Dominican Republic, El Jardin Botanico Nacional Dr Raphael Ma Moscoso.  Located in Santo Domingo, it is both an excellent botanical garden and a lovely green space and oasis in the thriving city.

Athough not specialized in species native to Florida, it is of interest to native plant enthusiasts in southern Florida because our flora contains many species spread across the Caribbean.  Because the tropical areas of southern Florida are of limited area and are geologically recent, many of our tropical natives dispersed here from the large islands of the Caribbean such as Hispaniola.  But not all of the tropical species on a geologically old island like Hispaniola have been dispersed to Florida; and many species that could potential disperse here might not be able to tolerate the occasional freeze of a South Florida winter.  It is thus interesting to explore similarities and differences in the Dominican Republic.  The JBD provides an excellent stopping point to explore the Dominican flora. 

Like many large botanic gardens, JBD has a number of permanent displays, only some of which highlight native species.  Others highlight succulents, orchids, aquatics, fruit trees, palms, bromeliads, and a Japanese garden.  In addition to permanent displays, temporary exhibits are regularly rotated.  But the endemic plant displays are worth special attention from visitors.

One Dominican native, Pereskia quisquueyana (above), a basal, non-succulent cactus with the form of a tree, is a personal favorite. 

Another favorite, shared with South Florida, is a partridge pea, Chamaecrista lineate (below).  Both of these species are rare or relatively rare in Hispaniola, and a better understanding of their biology can improve their protection.

Chamaecrista lineate

In addition to displaying plants, JBD is a leading conservation and education organization.  With a large and well-run herbarium and dedicated field staff, they continue to study and develop conservation plans for the rarest species in the Dominican flora.   Some of their outreach activities are based at the garden and utilize their plant collections and museum, while other activities target residents of areas near rare plants, such as charismatic and declining palm species.

Dr. Eric Von Wettberg is Assistant Professor of Population Genetics in FIU's Department of Biological Sciences, researcher at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Center for Tropical Plant Conservation, and board member of the Dade Chapter FNPS.


Big Cypress National Preserve - November 24, 2012

Photo by Richard Brownscombe

Big Cypress National Preserve

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,