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Newsletter - May 2013

Monthly Meeting
Yard Visit
Upcoming Field Trip
Dade Chapter News
Other News and Events
Native Plant Gardens and the Survival of Native Species
South Dade Wetlands Field Trip Report
Clean Up Your Garden, Pot Up Plants To Share
We Can All Be Newsletter Assistants
Contacts for DCFNPS


May 11 (Sat.): Yard visit (Kendall)
May 16-19: FNPS Annual Conference (Jacksonville)
May 25 (Sat.): Field trip (Trinity Pineland)
May 28 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens; Annual Chapter Meeting/Election

June 8 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
June 25 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
June field trip: TBA

July meeting: Annual evening yard visit and social
(location and date TBA)


Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
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.   Your contributions to the raffle and refreshments are always needed and greatly appreciated!

A brief Annual Chapter Meeting with election of board members for 2013-2015 terms will precede the program.

"Transforming Lives through the Transformation of Urban Landscapes"

James Jiler will talk about his experience helping prisoners and at-risk youth re-direct their lives through horticulture and gardening.  In programs at prisons, drug rehabilitation centers and inner-city high schools, James teaches and works with at-risk groups planting urban food forests and native gardens in an effort to return Miami’s exotic landscapes back to native habitat.

James holds a master’s degree in Forestry and Social Ecology from Yale University and is the former director of The Horticultural Society of New York’s GreenHouse Program, a jail-to-street horticulture program at New York City’s jail complex on Rikers Island.  As a landscape designer, he has created gardens in Miami and other US cities and in India.  He also directs the Miami-based Urban GreenWorks, a non-profit providing environmental programs and green job training to at-risk youth and others.  James is author of Doing Time in the Garden (New Village Press, 2006) and appeared in two recent documentaries, the "Healing Gardens" and "Dirt: The Movie." In September 2012 he gave a TED talk at the Coconut Grove TEDx conference where he was a recipient of the first annual HOPE Prize. He spent 6-years living in Kathmandu, Nepal, working with ecological farming systems in the Himalayas and teaching at the University of Kathmandu.

June 25 program: "Cactus Barrens of the Florida Keys" - Stephen Hodges, plant conservation biologist, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden


Saturday, May 11, 2013, 4 - 6 p.m.
Location: Home of member
Who is invited: FNPS members and their guests

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

As usual, I see it before I know I am at the right house and exclaim, "Oh wow", before I am out of the car.  In front of the house is a very fine pineland area, with a hammock area to the side, both looking very natural.  I am always surprised and pleased with what can be done in such a short time – 8 years in this case.  When Steve bought the property in 2004, it was the usual barren yard with a token tree, but it isn’t anymore.  Even with the one/two punch of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, it is now filled with the plants we love – natives (but not exclusively).  Steve has arranged the yard into areas of pine, hammock, some specific hammock plants, edible plants and an intentional "urban meadow" (weed patch).  The butterflies and other wildlife love it.

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.  Yard visits are offered several times a year.  I welcome your suggestions for future locations.  If more information is needed, please call me at 305-238-8901.

Gwladys Scott


Saturday, May 25, 2013, 9 – 11 a.m.  

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

Trinity Pineland

This 10-acre pine rockland contains sandy pockets (somewhat unusual in Miami-Dade) and a dense stand of Dade County pines which survived Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  The site was purchased by the state with Conservation and Recreation Land (CARL) funding in 1991 and is managed by the Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) program.  Restoration has allowed wildflowers to flourish.   It is the northern most location of the Federally and State-listed endangered deltoid spurge (Chamaesyce deltoidea, Wedge sandmat), a diminutive plant endemic to Miami-Dade County.

A wildfire in February of this year has prompted many spring wildflowers to bloom and has opened up the site.   Smilax (several species of native vines) has taken off after the fire and needs some control, so please bring hand clippers to trim it back as we walk along.

Members of Miami Blue of the North American Butterfly Association are also invited on this joint DCFNPS/NABA trip.  You might want to bring close-focus binoculars in case some butterflies are spotted. 

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

Leader:  Joy Klein, EEL site manager, Department of Regulation and Economic Resources, Division of Environmental Resources (and FNPS member). 

Difficulty:  Mostly easy.  Walking a short distance through open areas, but sometimes rocky or sandy underfoot or in low brush.

Bring/wear:  Water, sun protection, close-toed shoes.  Recommended: Long pants in case of poison ivy or other irritating plants; hand clippers; binoculars.

Late/lost? Try Patty’s cell 305-878-5705 (use that morning only)


DCFNPS was represented at several Earthday celebrations.  Thank you to all who helped!

  • April 6, Native Plant Day - An Earth Day Celebration at John Pennekamp State Park.  Lynka Woodbury, Shirley Berckmans, Ghislaine Greene and Lauren McFarland talked up native plants while the park offered lectures, walks and free native plants to each visitor.
  • April 14, Pinecrest Gardens Earthday. Vivian Waddell, Ted Shaffer, Amy Leonard, Shirley Berckmans, Ghislaine Greene, Bill Shores and Lauren McFarland shared their knowledge of native plants with the many visitors and sold some plants as well.
  • April 20, Day of the Young Child - "Planting Seeds for the Future" in Homestead. Lauren McFarland delighted kids with butterfly caterpillars on native plants.


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

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

  • May 8: Meeting with speaker M. E. DePalma member of the Broward County NatureScape Board
  • May 18: Native plant sale, hosted by the Broward Chapter FNPS, Friends of the Secret Woods, local growers and nurseries.  See the website for exact time (~ 9a.m.-1p.m.)


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.

  •  May 21 topic: Florida endemic plants found in Miami-Dade County.  Endemic to Florida means that they are found in Florida and nowhere else in the World.  There are 65 native Florida endemic plants reported for Dade (Florida has 228 endemic plant taxa).  A list is provided on the workshop website.

The Institute for Regional Conservation.  Are you interested in learning more about pineland restoration on a private property?  Join the IRC on Saturday, May 11, noon-4 p.m. for an educational workshop, pineland tour, herbicide demonstration and BBQ/potluck.  The event will take place in an 8-acre pine rockland connected to two other privately-owned sites. The IRC has worked with the landowner to remove invasive plants and introduce management.  While bringing a dish is not required, you may bring one if you wish.  For more information or to RSVP (by May 6), please contact IRC Field Biologist Sarah Martin at 305-505-9192 or  We hope to see you there!

Adopt-A-Tree is back!  Miami-Dade homeowners may receive 2 free trees per year from the county.  For rules and info, see  or call 311. The first event is Sunday, May 19, 9 a.m. – noon, at the YES Center, North Miami Beach, 17051 NE 19 Ave, North Miami Beach, 33162.  The species will include the natives pigeon plum and green buttonwood, plus several fruit trees.  Later dates are July 27 in Homestead and September 14 in Doral.  Tree species, event dates and times are subject to change.

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

  • June 1-2: Native plant sale

See the website for walks, workdays and other activities.

Biscayne National Park seeks public contact volunteers. Introduce visitors from around the world to the park, answer questions from an information desk at the visitor center, or rove the boardwalk at Convoy Point to provide information.  Volunteers generally contribute four hours once or twice per week, work side-by-side with park rangers, and enjoy training opportunities and excursions in the park.  Contact BNP’s Chief of Interpretation Christiana Admiral at 305-230-1144 x 018 or visit and select "support your park" on the left side of the page.

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

  • June 7: Rockdale Pineland Preserve,  SW 144 St & 92 Ave. (planting)

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:


HOME TO RENT: Northeast Homestead

Ad for Pro Native Plant Sale

Joyce Gann's Mom's house.  Living room, dining area, kitchen, large master bedroom & bath, laundry room, tile/ terrazzo flooring, ample closets, attached garage, alarm system.  Florida room overlooking a bird & butterfly garden designed and installed by FNPS members.  Your own entry garden could be designed by you!  Cooled by FL breezes - AC seldom needed. Walk or bike to grocery, drugstore & other shops, post office, Miami-Dade College and other educational institutions.

HOME TO RENT: Redlands

Ad for Pro Native Plant Sale

Joyce Gann’s property nestled in hammock /bird sanctuary in the heart of the Redlands. Tile floors, central large versatile living areas, white cabinet kitchen opens to entertainment. one large bedroom with double closets, big great room can be living, bedroom or den combo, fenced yard.  Nestled in close-in location, no thru street.
Call PICK COTTON INC 305-235-2313.

Online reading from the March 2013 issue of Coontie Crier, newsletter of the  Broward Chapter FNPS.
            "Growing Natives: For Brown Thumbs"

Can’t find the native plants you love? Consider growing them. Perhaps you’ve already killed many. With ten gardening basics, you’ll be able to spot what you’re doing wrong, and finally discover your green thumb.


Part 2: Selection in gardens and rare species

by Dr. Eric von Wettberg

Gardens have become critical for plant conservation.  For many rare plant species, they are an essential sanctuary.  In a few cases, gardens are the only remaining place where a species remains in existence.   With natural habitats increasingly fragmented, gardens are critical to connecting otherwise separated habitats, allowing migration of both plants and animals.  Without native plants in gardens, natural habitat in parks and preserves would be stranded.  As the climate changes and the seas rise, the inability to migrate to suitable habitat elsewhere is a leading threat to their long-term survival.  The efforts of projects like Joyce Maschinski’s Connect to Protect Network based at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden are essential to protecting our native species in the face of climate change.

Yet there are aspects of life in a garden that are quite different than living in the wild.   Many of us pamper, or try to pamper, the plants in our garden.  Most residences in Miami-Dade County have soils that have been altered or bulldozed during home construction.  This can drastically change the soil’s chemistry, as well alter the community of microbes and animals in the soil.  Many of us fertilize or mulch, enriching the soil and further shifting soil communities.  We water.  We sometimes remove pests.  Natural pollinators may no longer be present, and exotic pollinators may be more abundant. 

All of these forces affect our beloved plants.  The effects may be subtle, but still potentially significant.  Some effects may be purely environmental.  As children receiving a better diet are taller, fertilized and watered plants will be more vigorous.  But the offspring of those plants can be affected by the lush conditions of our gardens.  Recent research in plants and animals has shown that parental environmental effects can alter traits in offspring, affecting everything from seed size to stress tolerance to flowering.  For example, several researchers have found that when parental plants (of, for example, some Iris and wild alfalfa species) are exposed to saline soils, their offspring have greater salt tolerance.

Genetic changes are also likely to occur in gardens.  If some individuals survive at higher percentages, or produce more offspring than others, and they differ genetically, it will lead to a shift – to evolution.  The effects of garden conditions on evolution in rare plant species have not been well documented.  However, in animals held in captivity, changes have been documented in cases such as the European lynx and Mauritian Kestrel.  Most changes would be subtle, but could still be significant for the survival of species over many generations.  But, if we watch, we can observe it and start to understand its consequences. 

Growing native plants in our gardens remains one of the best things we can do to maintain vibrant populations and to help connect remaining patches of protected habitat.  But as gardeners and enthusiasts, we have the opportunity to see change occur before our eyes.   I am particularly interested in hearing of examples you may see.  Have you observed differences in the natives in your garden from natural populations?  In particular, have you noticed changes in the dispersal characteristics of seeds or fruits?  If so, I look forward to hearing from you.

Contact me at, on the DCFNPS Facebook page, or by snail mail to Dr. Eric von Wettberg, 11200 SW 8th Street, Biological Sciences OE 167, Miami, FL 33199.

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.


By Gwen Burzycki

Photos by Mary Rose

Early risers – megafauna amidst the floraEarly risers – megafauna amidst the flora

Sand flax (Linum carteri var. smallii)Sand flax (Linum carteri var. smallii)

Grasspink orchid (Calopogon tuberosus)Grasspink orchid (Calopogon tuberosus)

Those who were undaunted by the advance description of the South Dade Wetlands on April 14, 2013, had a marvelous opportunity to visit a very special site on a very special day.  The weather was sunny, warm but not too warm, and a good breeze was blowing, which kept everyone comfortable. As the field trip leader, I gave an overview at the rendezvous location of the South Dade Wetlands and the area to be visited, after which the group traveled down the levee to Unit 15 of the South Dade Wetlands.  (It's across the canal and a little south of Holiday Hammock, for those of you who went on that field trip.)  There was a short stop along the way at a farm field where there was an unusual opportunity to see wading birds (white ibises, glossy ibises, cattle egrets) and shorebirds (black-necked stilts) feeding on the bugs that accumulated where a farmer had dumped unmarketable squash to compost in the field.  (We were all very happy for the strong breeze.) 

Unit 15 is a broad expanse of wetland prairie dotted with bayhead tree islands, and is located right next to a drainage canal and levee.  The levee itself was full of native plants, including the yellow pineland heliotrope (Heliotropium pinetorum) and yellowtop (Flaveria linearis).  We were also treated to some sand flax (Linum carteri var. smallii) on the levee, which is uncommon and hard to find because the plant is inconspicuous and the large, yellow flower disappears by late morning.  (Early risers, here is your reward!)  Poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum), a relative of poison ivy, was present along the levee slope and was introduced to anyone unfamiliar with its ferocity with causing skin rashes.

The prairie looked plain and green at first glance, but up close and personal, it was quite diverse because of some very subtle changes in topography.  The ground varied from damp soils to getting your shoes wet.  Sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense) dominated in the wetter areas, accompanied by spider lily (Hymenocallis palmeri), some horned bladderwort (Utricularia cornuta), and scattered grasspink orchid (Calopogon tuberosus). We saw a wide variety of colors in the orchid, from nearly white to brilliant magenta.  Drier areas contained a completely different group of species, including black rush (Schoenus nigricans), muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), and beak sedge (Rhynchospora microcarpa) and the wildflowers were everywhere, including marsh pink (Sabatia stellaris), camphorweed (Pluchea rosea), some false foxglove (Agalinus linifolia), and even a few specimens of the rare, state endangered bracted colic root (Aletris bracteata).

The determined group slogged through the prairie to the closest tree island, which was several degrees cooler than the open prairie, and, thankfully, had few mosquitoes at this time of year.  This island has received invasive exotic plant control for several years, so was all native except for a few small seedlings of the noxious shoebutton ardisia (Ardisia elliptica).  The canopy included swamp bay (Persea palustris), dahoon holly (Ilex cassine) and cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco), while the understory was dominated by ferns, including the state-protected royal fern (Osmunda regalis), giant leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium) and swamp fern (Blechnum serrulatum).  Several huge tree trunks were encountered, which were probably large bays felled by Hurricane Andrew.  These trunks were searched diligently for interesting epiphytes, but none was found at this time.  The group thought they were moving through the tree island from south to north, but were treated to the interesting phenomenon of walking in a circle when there is no directional reference, emerging from the dense canopy only feet from where they had entered! 

A short slog later, everyone was back at the cars, safe and sound and ready to depart for lunch. 


A little maintenance of your native planting in May can be rewarding.  It’s a good time to prune or clean out dead matter to find things hiding under dense shrubs and grasses – a Brazilian pepper volunteer that’s already 3’ tall, or your least favorite weed going to town.  If there is too much scale on your coontie to just wipe away, cut back the fronds to the base and they will quickly regrow, ready for atala butterfly eggs to be laid, if you are lucky.  Clumping grasses with a buildup of dead leaves can be cleaned up by pulling out the loose dead matter, or cut off the clump as low as you can.  New leaves will pop out almost overnight.  A ratty-looking blue porterweed can be cut back very low to bring fresh growth.  Dead saw palmetto or cabbage palm fronds can be removed (it’s recommended to wait until they are totally brown).

Along the way, you’ll find nice surprises, namely little volunteers of your native plants.  The birds did the work of spreading the seeds for you, now you can help spread the native plants by potting up a few volunteers.  In a few weeks or months, you’ll have a plant to donate to the raffle at a chapter meeting, Native Plant day or other good cause, or to give to a friend.  If you don’t have time to pot up volunteers immediately, put them in water for a few days. This also allows new roots to form.  Regardless of your technique, you’ll probably have something to share if you try.  Quick and easy plants to start with are corky-stemmed passionflower (there is never too much!) and herbaceous wildflowers.

Patty Phares


Jacquemontia curtisii,  Pineland clustervine
Photo by Lauren McFarland

This South Florida endemic is found in pinelands and prairies from Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland north and west to Collier and Hendry counties.  It thrives in nutrient-poor soils.  (Read more at  > Natives for Your Neighborhood.)  Enjoy it in a natural area or your own garden.  It’s probably in raging bloom right now.


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,