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Newsletter - March 2013

Monthly Meeting
Native Plant Day
Upcoming Field Trip
Dade Chapter News
Other News and Events
Pick a Peck of Peperomias
Contacts for DCFNPS


Mar. 23 (Sat.): 18th Annual DCFNPS Native Plant Day
                         Please sign up to volunteer now!
Mar. 26 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
Mar. 30 (Sat.): Field trip

Apr. 23 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
April field trip and workday at ENP - TBA

May 16-19: FNPS Annual Conference, Jacksonville


Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 7:30 pm

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.

[Note: The program announced for January 2013 was rescheduled to March. Refresh your memory of some of the plants to be featured by rereading the January Tillandsia article " The Dicerandra Mints of Florida" at]

"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. 

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.

April 23:  Sarah Martin, Field Biologist with the Institute for Regional Conservation, will talk about IRC restoration projects currently underway in Miami-Dade and elsewhere.

Native Plant Day

Saturday, March 23, 2013

9 am to 4 pm
Bill Sadowski Park at Old Cutler Hammock
17555 SW 79 Avenue, Palmetto Bay, 33157
(1/2 mile west of Old Cutler Road on SW 176 St.)

Sponsored by:
The Dade Chapter FNPS and Miami-Dade County Parks

Enjoy a free day of learning and fun for all ages.
Rain or shine!

Programs and nature walks  
Book, merchandise and plant sales by the Dade Chapter
Plant sales by nursery vendors (cash/check)
Hands-on take-home projects Plant Clinic   
● Exhibits by environmental organizations ● Raffles
Explore the park's natural areas and arboretum
● Food and drinks available for purchase

Learn about native plants, natural areas, landscaping, water conservation, "bad" insects, butterflies, seeds, geology, wildflowers, tree planting, woodturning and lots more.

New this year: Miami-Dade Water & Sewer will exchange 3 old light bulbs for energy saving compact fluorescent bulbs and 2 showerheads for water-efficient ones.  Quantities limited.  Connect to Protect Network will have plants for the first 50 people who stop at their table!

View the program and list of events!

If you need additional information, please contact the
Dade Chapter (see contacts box in this newsletter).


As a chapter member, we hope you'll help us make the day a big success!  First, please spread information about the event to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, club-mates.  Also:

  • Help distribute stacks of postcards.  Pick some up (from Amy) and place them at your grocery store, doctor's office, library, local business or other well-trafficked area (with permission, of course). 
  • Help set up on Friday, March 22.   Setting up the raffle and other stations, as well as moving tables and hanging signs are some of the easy yet essential things you could help us with Friday afternoon.  Contact Amy if you can help.
  • Loan butterfly larvae and potted larval host/nectar plants or other interesting display plants or items.  Contact Patty Phares to share the best of your natives and show the public why they should use more in their yards.
  • Donate raffle items and plants for the chapter sale. We sell plants (in addition to our usual merchandise) to raise funds for the chapter.  We also hold a raffle of some of the best and most rare plant specimens you'll find, and also gardening or nature-related items, gift certificates, etc.  Please groom your plants now to prepare.  Contact Amy if you need to drop them off in advance or so we can be prepared for your donations.
  • Help at Native Plant Day.  On March 23 we will need about 40 volunteers to make the event happen.  If you can give us part of your morning or afternoon, you'll still have plenty of time to enjoy the event.  Please contact Gita if you, your family members, or young people you know might be able to give us some of their time. 

Contact information: Amy Leonard (305-458-0969 or; Patty Phares (305-255-6404 or; Gita Ramsay (786-877-7168 or

Thank you for your help in making this year's Native Plant Day exceptional!


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. Participants are required to sign an FNPS waiver. For more info, call Patty Phares (305-255-6404).

Saturday, March 30, 2013.  9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Jonathan Dickinson State ParkWe will join the Broward Chapter's trip (see

With more than 17,000 acres straddling the scenic Loxahatchee River and 884 types of plants reported, “JD State Park” is a botanist’s paradise because of its varied habitats, where northern plants meet tropical species.  We’ll walk the trail along Kitching Creek from the riverside picnic area parking lot to a small hammock on the creek bank, and visit a seasonal pond. We hope to catch some orchids in bloom (Rose Pogonia Orchid, Pogonia ophioglossoides, and Grass Pink Orchids in the genus Calopogon) as well as see  other interesting wildflowers, including some not found in Miami-Dade County.   We visited this park in 2011, but its treasures are always a draw.

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

  • Bring/wear:  Long pants/ sleeves, sturdy closed-toe shoes, plenty of water, sun protection.  A walking stick may be helpful to some on sandy soil.  Bring lunch for afterward (leave in car).
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate.  Some sandy trails with off-trail excursions. Open and sunny - may be hot.
  • Leader: Chuck McCartney.
  • Lost?  Try Patty's cell (305-878-5705, only use that morning).
  • For more information about the park, see


Sue Sanchez, longtime Dade Chapter member, passed away on November 4, 2012, after a long illness.  Sue and her husband Gene were loyal supporters of native plants and the Dade Chapter while they lived in Miami-Dade.  Even after they moved to Loxahatchee and transferred to the Palm Beach Chapter, they were Dade "newsletter members."  We often saw them at Dade Chapter meetings, field trips and Native Plant Day.  We visited their property on Loop Road and had also their Loxahachee home on field trips.  While Gene is the hands-on plant person, we all enjoyed and appreciated Sue for her friendliness, determined spirit and support, and we'll miss her.  Gene hopes to see us at future meetings, as long as he remains in South Florida.

Welcome new members.  John Erixon family, Christian Ramos, Julie Stewart, Marie Wager.  Thank you to all who renewed for your support of FNPS and Florida's flora.

Report of FNPS retreat from Lauren McFarland. 

I attended the 2013 FNPS Board Meeting/Retreat on February 8-9, as Dade chapter representative. FNPS hired (through a grant) a strategy group to look at our operational structure, so this retreat included a two-day strategy and planning session for the “improved” FNPS. Communications, land management, legislature participation, funding and several other issues were discussed. We have some very enthusiastic and knowledgeable  people in our organization and the energy in the room was contagious. We should start seeing some positive changes within the year.

If you haven’t visited the website lately, you should definitely check it out. There is a wealth of information available. Also, the conference in May is rather like our Native Plant Day, but on a grander scale. The speakers are incredible and you walk away with a wealth of information. You also get to see a peek of the North Florida landscape through the variety of field trips available.

The mission of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. Get involved and help us carry forth our mission.

Lauren McFarland, DCFNPS board member at large


FNPS Annual Conference, May 16-19, 2013: "Celebrating La Florida" in beautiful Jacksonville. Enjoy field trips, programs, socials, plant and merchandise sales, landscaping workshop.  The Ixia Chapter has put together a wonderful list of field trips throughout Northeast Florida and a trio of great evening socials (super value).  Register early and save money -- and get on that trip you always wanted, reserve a place at the dinner table with old friends or new ones. More info: Registration:

On the FNPS website (

  • Sabal Minor, the Bi-monthly newsletter of the FNPS.  The March-April and past issues are available at
  • Find the FNPS blog at (or click on the link on the right of the FNPS home page).  Enjoy a variety of interesting articles on plants and current topics from around the state.
  • Broward Native Plant Society.  Meetings at 7pm, Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 W. State Road 84.  Newsletter and info:
    • Mar. 13: Chuck McCartney - "Florida's Native Bromeliads"

Volunteers needed to ensure funding for conservation lands.

The Water and Land Legacy Initiative will help restore life to Florida’s land protection programs by placing a critically important conservation amendment on the 2014 ballot that would ensure funds are directed to land protection. But volunteers are needed to gather the signatures necessary to place the Initiative on the ballot! Will you sign up to volunteer today? Go to the Legacy Campaign website at to learn how you can volunteer and help make land conservation a reality again in Florida. This is our chance to make sure that state lawmakers will invest in conservation. This is our chance to conserve native plants, protect our water resources, restore important natural areas like the Everglades, and safeguard our springs and other  environmental gems for future generations. This is our chance to ensure that Florida’s conservation lands will be properly managed far into the future. Please visit the Water and Land Legacy Initiative website to learn more about the campaign and sign up to volunteer today. Florida needs your help.  Thanks for everything you do to conserve native plants.
Eugene Kelly, FNPS Policy Chair

(Note: Tropical Audubon Society volunteers will be collecting petition signatures at Native Plant Day.  If you are an official volunteer for the initiative, you are invited to go to the TAS table to coordinate efforts.)


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.

  •  March 19 topic:  Primitive Plant Families (Annonaceae, Magnoliaceae, Lauraceae, Canellaceae, Aristolochiaceae, Piperaceae, Nymphaceae and others).  These are groups of plants whose evolution preceded the split between Monocotyledons (things like grasses, palms, orchids, and lilies) and True Dicotyledons (also known as "Eudicots" and include the vast majority of flowering plant families such as roses, asters, legumes, etc.)

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum. For info on activities and Music in the Arboretum: or 305-284-1302.  For directions click 'Visits'.

  •  March 7, 2013 meeting: Social at 7 pm, program follows. Cox Science Bldg., Room 166. Univ. of Miami.  Dr. Chad Husby, Collections Manager and Botanist at the Montgomery Botanical Center with special expertise on tropical gymnosperms presents The Garden Primeval: Ancient Plant Forms in Nature and Cultivation.”

April 4, 2013 –The 25th Annual John C. Gifford Lecture.

An Introduction to the Diversity of Flowering Plants:
How Much has Changed as a Result
 of the Molecular Revolution?

 Dr. Walter S. Judd, University of FL professor and world-renowned plant taxonomist and expert on tropical plants.
Dr. Judd will also share results of recent DNA-based phylogenetic work on the Ericaceae and Melastomataceae families.
7pm in Cox Science Center, University of Miami
A reception follows.

Flock to Tropical Audubon Society’s International Migratory Bird Day.  Saturday, March 16, 2013, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at 5520 Sunset Dr.  Free and open to the public. Find out why South Florida is one of the most important destinations for birds worldwide. Feel proud of living in such a rich environment and do your part to support bird populations around the globe. There will be a packed agenda full of activities, presentations, special guests and games that will teach you all about our feathered friends.   For more information: 305-667-7337 or See you there!

The Native Plant Show.  April 4-5, 2013 in Kissimmee, Florida.  Hosted by the Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN).  Florida’s first all-native plant tradeshow.  See

The National Park Service still needs torchwood (Amyris elemifera) seeds for a project to restore a larval food of the Schaus swallowtail butterfly.  Seeds will be propagated in a nursery and the seedlings planted in natural areas


Ad for Pro Native Plant Sale


by Steve Woodmansee

Florida is such a cool place for native plants.  We have all kinds of subtropical delights, many not found anywhere else in the continental U.S.  One such group of plant delights are Peperomia species.  This genus lacks an adequate common name for my tastes (Wikipedia lists the common name for all Peperomia as "Radiator plant"), so I prefer to refer to them as Peperomias.  They belong to the Piperaceae (Piper Family), which does indeed contain the perfectly palatable piquant spice Black Pepper (Piper nigrum).  The genus Peperomia, consisting of almost half the species within the Piperaceae at over 1500, is found throughout tropical regions of the world.  Peperomia species are prolific in part due to their tiny seeds which can be carried far and wide on wind currents.  Most are epiphytes, or airplants which grow on branches of other trees, and are typically non-parasitic.   Epiphytes derive their nutrients and moisture from the air, fallen leaves, and limited detritus found on the limbs of trees.  Given this, they are generally well adapted to prolonged periods of drought, although humidity is a must.  Some Florida species of Peperomia also grow on floating logs in cypress swamps.

Cypress Peperomia (P. glabella)

Cypress Peperomia (P. glabella)

Florida is home to eight species of Peperomia, six of which are native.  Interestingly, one of the species, P. rotundifolia, was discovered less than 15 years ago.  All the native Peperomia are rare in nature, and all but one are listed as Endangered in Florida.  Peperomia flowers are barely visible individually, and number in the hundreds, if not thousands along a long spike, visually reminiscent of a rat's tail. They generally have coriaceous (thickened) leaves (for retaining moisture), and thrive in areas of low levels of light.  Habitats Peperomia populate include swamps and tropical hammocks.  In the landscape, Peperomia prefer pendulant pots, however some larger leaved species may also serve as a ground cover.  You may even be inclined to try them out as epiphytes in your trees, or around limestone rocks surrounding a water feature (do not submerge them though).

 Baby Rubberplant (P. obtusifolia, formerly P. floridana)

Baby Rubberplant (P. obtusifolia, formerly P. floridana)

[The Peperomias pictured above will be available for purchase at Native Plant Day on March 23.]

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. 

Scenes from the DCFNPS field trip to Holiday Hammock, February 24, 2013.  Photos by Lauren McFarland.

Area under restoration, cleared of Brazilian pepper

Area under restoration, cleared of Brazilian pepper

Intact hammock

Intact hammock

Large specimen of the rare Lattice-vein fern (Thelypteris reticulata)

Large specimen of the rare Lattice-vein fern (Thelypteris reticulata)

Strangler fig (Ficus aurea)

Strangler fig (Ficus aurea)

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,