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Newsletter - April 2013

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trip
Dade Chapter News
Earth Day Celebrations
Native Plant Day: Many thanks for a successful event
Other News and Events
Native Plant Gardens and the Survival of Native Species
We Can All   Be Newsletter Assistants
Contacts for DCFNPS


Apr. 6 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
Apr. 14 (Sun.): Field trip (South Dade Wetlands)
Apr. 23 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens

May 28 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens (program TBA) and Annual Chapter Meeting/Election
May field trip TBA

May 16-19: FNPS Annual Conference, Jacksonville


Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 7:30 pm (fourth 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.

"Update on The Institute for Regional Conservation"
- Sarah Martin, Field Biologist

The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and long-term management of biodiversity on a regional basis, and to the prevention of regional extinctions of rare plants, animals and ecosystems.  Based in Miami and Delray Beach, Florida, IRC works on conservation research and action throughout South Florida, the Caribbean and beyond.  IRC's work is premised on an innovative idea of conservation that seeks to protect and restore viable populations of all plant and animal species within a region, rather than simply focusing on charismatic animals or plants with narrow global ranges. 

Sarah Martin, a biologist with the IRC, will tell about IRC's current work to restore pine rockland habitat on two conservation easements at the Homestead Air Reserve Base's Special Operations Command South.  Current activities at the site include collecting vegetation data, habitat restoration activities such as eradicating exotic pest plant species and reintroducing fire, and assessing changes in Small's milkpea (Galactia smallii) and sand flax (Linum arenicola) densities. 

Sarah will also touch on other current IRC projects, such as treatment of white leadtree (Leucaena leucocephala) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; reintroducing two rare species of strap fern (Campyloneurum costatum and Campyloneurum angustifolium) to rockland hammock in Miami-Dade County (with a conservation grant from the Florida Native Plant Society); and restoring scrub habitat in Indian River County.  IRC is also working on a Floristic Inventory of the Bahama Archipelago Online and expanding Natives For Your Neighborhood statewide.

[See more about IRC at -  "Natives For Your Neighborhood" for landscaping information or "Floristic Databases" for natural areas plant lists.]


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).

Sunday, April 14, 2013,  9 a.m. -noon: South Dade Wetlands.

[You must be on time - access is through a locked canal gate.]

The South Dade Wetlands (SDW) is the largest preserve in Miami-Dade County's Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program and consists of approximately 55,000 acres of Everglades wetlands outside the national park.  The preserve is still being acquired by the EEL Program and the South Florida Water Management District, so is not open to the public.  The SDW project supports a diverse wildlife population, including a spectacular array of wading birds and raptors.  Vegetation in the SDW is composed of both freshwater and coastal wetlands, ranging from prairie with tree islands to mangrove marsh. 

Unit 15 is an especially beautiful unit in the preserve, consisting of mixed muhly and sawgrass-dominated prairie with scattered tree islands.  It received a prescribed burn in 2012, so the rushes, sedges, and spring wildflowers in the prairie should be especially vibrant this year.  April is too late in the year to observe the state listed bracted colic root (Aletris bracteata) in flower, however, seed heads may still be present.  Other wetland wildflowers that should be in bloom at this time of year include marsh pink (Sebatia stellaris), grass-pink (Calopogon tuberosus), bachelor's button (Polygala balduinii), and water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri).  Those who look closely may find small butterwort (Pinguicula pumila). 

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

  • Rating:  Moderate to difficult. There are no visitor amenities or improved trails.  Access to the most interesting parts of the site requires climbing down a steep canal levee to uneven, slippery footing on marl (clay-like) soils.  There may be pockets of wet soil.  The hike will be through sawgrass wetlands and there is a chance for exposure to poisonwood.  There is little shade except on tree islands over a quarter-mile from the road.
  • Wear/bring: Sturdy closed shoes that can get muddy/wet and long pants are required; long-sleeved shirt plus light weight gardening gloves are recommended for protection from poisonwood and sawgrass.  Wear sun protection and bring plenty of water!  A walking stick could be helpful.
  • Time: 9 a.m. to noon(ish).  You must be on time; access is through a locked canal gate.  Going off on your own and early departure will not be possible. 
  • Leader: Gwen Burzycki of the EEL program and DCFNPS member.
  • Lost? Try Patty's cell (305-878-5705, only use that morning).


Chapter workday at Everglades National Park, April 6.  Help prune and weed in our restoration project at the Coe Visitors Center, 9 am to noon.  Water, gloves and hand tools are provided, but you may want to bring your own and snacks to share.  Bring sun protection.  New volunteers and family/friends are encouraged to come.  Contact Patty for more information at 305-255-6404 (or 305-878-5705 cell, the morning of the workday only).

Welcome new members.  Ted Baker, Xavier Cortada, Gabriel Edmond, Karl Fitzgerald, Charlie Housiaux, Emily Magnaghi, Cheryl Solomon, Brandon and Claudia Trentler, William Weinkle.  Welcome back to Mikolay Plater-Zyberk, home from his years of military service.

FNPS Conservation Grant Fund in honor of Joyce and Don Gann.  Thank you to the many DCFNPS members and friends who contributed.  We raised $1,170 through donations, which were matched by funds given to the chapter from the estate of Robert Kelley.  A total of $2,340 was sent to the Florida Native Plant Society for awarding Conservation Grants for projects around the state.  We could not have done it without your support.  (We will learn soon who receives a grant from FNPS.)

- Susan Walcutt, Treasurer, DCFNPS

Notice of Annual Chapter Meeting and Election
May 28, 2013, 7:30 p.m. at Pinecrest Gardens

Call for Nominations:  Chapter board member nominations are being accepted through April 30.  The Secretary, Treasurer and three Directors at Large will be elected for two year terms.  A slate will be presented by the nominating committee at the May membership meeting.  Please contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969, if you are interested or have someone to suggest. 

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.


Volunteer for DCFNPS or come to enjoy - or both.

DCFNPS will have a table with information about native plants and FNPS at two Earth Day events this month.  Please contact Lauren McFarland (305-510-2110, to join some board members to talk with visitors at our tables.  Both events are free.

April 6: "Nature Inspires" - Native Plant Day / Earth Day at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (Mile Marker 102.5 Oceanside). 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The entrance fee is waived for event attendees.  Enjoy a native plant giveaway, plant identification, plein-air exhibition, youth art contest, children's activities and more. 

Programs and nature walks:

  • 10 a.m. - "Nature Inspired Landscapes: Native Plants for Small Yard Landscape Design" - program by Janice Duquesnel, Florida Park Service Keys Biologist.
  • 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. - Tropical hardwood hammock nature walks (Janice Duquesnel and Susan Matthews) or call 305-451-1202.
  • April 14: Pinecrest Garden's Annual Earth Day Festival, 11a.m. to 4 p.m.  Wildlife and plant presentations and exhibits, green and eco-friendly workshops presented by the CLEO Institute, vendors, entertainment, garden tours, food, farmers market and more.  The Dade Chapter will sell native plants.  See


On March 23 we held Native Plant Day at Bill Sadowski Park and greeted over 425 visitors who we eager to enjoy a warm and sunny day while learning about why we all have so much passion for growing and conserving Florida's native plants.  Programs and walks were exceptionally well attended, there was a lot of buzz about the addition of food trucks, the raffle was energetic and lively, and as always, our vendors had a beautiful selection of native plants that went to many new homes.  The Woodturners Guild showed off their skills and the Southern Cross Astronomical Society offered solar viewing.

Special thanks to Ted Shaffer for arranging programs and walks; to Vivian Waddell for coordinating the other organizations who participated; to Gita Ramsay for scheduling volunteers; to Lauren McFarland for getting the word out to the media and greeting our guests at the welcome tent; to Susan Walcutt, Carl Barta and the whole Wheeler family for juggling all of the chapter sales; to Patty Phares for another gorgeous display at our chapter tent; to Surey Rios for unbridled enthusiasm at the Hands On tent; to super volunteers Marie Wagner and Mary Rose; and to the many, many more of you who helped in big ways and small.  It takes at least fifty chapter volunteers to make the event happen, and plans are already underway for next year.  If you are able to get involved, please let us know at or call Amy Leonard, NPD Coordinator, at 305-458-0969.

We're looking forward to being hosted by the City of North Miami for Native Plant Day on March 22, 2014, at Elaine Gordon Enchanted Forest Park.  See you there!


FNPS Annual Conference, May 16-19, 2013: "Celebrating La Florida" in Jacksonville. Enjoy field trips, programs, socials, plant and merchandise sales, landscaping workshop.  Early registration ends April 15 (save money and get your choice of trips and socials).  ONLINE registration ends Saturday, May 4, after which all registration is ONSITE.
More info:

Broward Native Plant Society.  Meetings at 7pm, Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 W. State Road 84.  Newsletter and info:

  • Apr. 10: Scott Bryan will talk about creating butterfly-friendly landscapes.


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.

  • April 16 topic:  Fagaceae (Beech Family).  This plant family also includes Oaks, and Florida is a hotspot for oak diversity, containing 25 distinct species and a dozen or so hybrids.  Miami-Dade County possesses six native oak species.

Art of Pollination  - Florida Edition.  Call for submissions. 
This beautiful book of art featuring pollinators of Florida will be published early this summer in advance of National Pollinator Week, June 17-23, 2013. Artists are encouraged to submit their work in any style or media.  The deadline is April 30 and there is no fee for submission.  The goals are to bring awareness of the importance of pollinators, to encourage creative expression and to benefit the Chugach Arts Council.  For more information and application visit > Creative Opportunities.  DCFNPS member Marie Wagner (623-703-8890) is the Executive Director of the Chugagh Arts Council.

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

  • April 4, 2013 –The 25th Annual John C. Gifford Lecture.  "Án 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. 7pm in Cox Science Center, University of Miami.  (Also a reception)
  • May 2, 2013, 7 p.m.: Friends of the Gifford Arboretum Meeting, Cox Science Bldg., Room 166. Univ. of Miami.
    "Butterflies: How they Function, What they Need, and Why they are Important" presented by Linda Evans, President of the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association.

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See or email with questions. 

  • May 5 meeting:  1 p.m. in the Visitor Center Ballroom (second floor) at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  See Hank Poor's recent spectacular macro images and visit his lab in the new Paul and Swanee DiMare Science Village. Check for more details.

Tropical Audubon Society. 5530 Sunset Dr.,  Activities free, open to the public.

  • Earth Day at TAS. April 20, 6-9 p.m. "Assemblage" sculpture exhibit by Rick Cohen, whose collages repurpose found objects into objets d'art. At 8 p.m. is an outdoor screening of "Last Call at the Oasis", award-winning film that graphically depicts the global water shortage crisis.
  • Annual Meeting and Silent Auction.  April 28, 4-7 p.m.  Celebrate a year of conservation and recognize outstanding environmental role models in our community: Col. Terrence "Rock" Salt; Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation Board of Directors; Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner.  Contact TAS to donate silent auctions items at

Environmentally Endangered Lands Program.  Help our natural areas and learn about preserves all over Miami.  Please register at or call 305-257-0933 x227.  Workday calendar at

  • Apr. 6: Black Creek Forest (planting)
  • Apr. 20: Baynanza Clean-up at many coastal sites.  Call 305-372-6784 to register.

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.  See the February 2013 Tillandsia for information.


Part 1: Why native plant gardens are so very important

by Dr. Eric von Wettberg

Thank you for growing native plants.  Thank you very much.  Grow more.  You are doing something very useful for the long-term survival of our native plant species.

Many of us are aware that much of the native habitat in South Florida has been lost to development.  Outside of Everglades National Park, well over 95% of pine rockland habitat has been lost in South Florida.  Similar amounts of hammock habitat have been lost as well.  Many plant species in these habitats were already rare, as the zone of suitable climate here in South Florida for many of our tropical or subtropical plants simply isn't that big.  In addition to the sheer loss of habitat, many of our native species suffer from fragmentation.  Much remaining habitat is in small parks.  Although wonderful, and in need of ongoing protection, small parks may not have sufficient space.  Because they are small, much of their area is at the edge, where "edge effects" occur.  In edges of forests conditions are quite different than in forest centers – temperature, pollution, and other factors can all vary.  Furthermore, small habitats may not be large enough to support the pollinators and seed dispersers like butterflies, native bees, and birds on which many plants depend to transfer pollen and disperse seeds.  Without these animals, plant populations can plummet.

There is a further risk to the declines in population size caused by loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat: loss of genetic variation.  Small populations tend to have less genetic variation than larger populations.  This can leave populations at greater risk of new diseases, herbivores or changing conditions.  Furthermore, in small populations genetic drift – a process whereby deleterious mutations can become common – is a stronger force.  

Your garden can help to rectify these problems.  Your garden can help maintain large populations of native species.  It can also help to create connections of native habitat between the parks and other relatively undisturbed patches of native habitat that remain in South Florida.  If your garden is friendly to birds, butterflies and other animals, it can help provide a home to the pollinators and dispersers on which our plants depend.  Please keep up your good work!

For more information on the need to connect native habitats, please see the Connect to Protect network run by Dr. Joyce Maschinski and Devon Powell at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  The website has a variety of links to other conservation efforts and extensive background information.

Next month, I will follow up in Part 2 with changes to watch for in your garden.

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.

"Pollination Among Cycads"
- by George J. Wilder.
You might enjoy reading this article from Zamia, the newsletter of the Naples Chapter FNPS, February 2013.


Photo from Jonathand Dickinson State Park field trip
On March 30, 2013, Broward and Dade Chapter members were rewarded with perfect weather and a bounty of flowers.  Eighty-five species of native plants, including bromeliads and orchids, were observed in flower (excluding grasses and graminoids).

Thanks to Chuck McCartney for leading the trip, sharing his incredible wealth of knowledge about plants, and compiling a list of plants in flower.  The list may be viewed online at: plantlist_20130330.pdf

Field trip photos by Lauren McFarland.

Photo from Jonathand Dickinson State Park field trip

Photo from Jonathand Dickinson State Park field trip


Newsletter editing help.  If you might be a candidate to edit, format or assist with announcements and articles for Tillandsia, please contact Patty Phares (, 305-255-6404) or Buck Reilly (, 786-291-4824)   Do you have photos of a recent chapter activity or plants seen on a field trip?  Or nice photos of plants, landscapes or natural areas from your own experiences?  An announcement, helpful tip or informative article?  Share with your fellow members -- please contact the editor.


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,