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Newsletter - June 2013

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trip
Dade Chapter News
Other News and Events
FNPS 2013 Landscape Award
Remembering Bob Knight
Contacts for DCFNPS


June 8 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
June 25 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Gardens
June 29 (Sat): Field trip (Virginia Key, 9 a.m.)

July 13 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
July 20 (Sat): Annual evening yard visit and social meeting

Aug. 4 (Sun.): Field trip (Nixon Smiley Pineland, 5 p.m.)
Aug. 10 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park

(No meeting in August)


Tuesday, June 25, 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!

"Cactus Barrens of the Florida Keys"- Stephen Hodges, Plant Conservation Biologist, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

The cactus barrens of the Florida Keys are a highly endangered plant habitat that few are familiar with.  Existing only in a few spots on Key Largo limestone, these sites harbor a unique assemblage of rare and endangered Florida native plants.  This talk will explore some of the beautiful flora of this habitat, discuss some the many questions about this poorly understood ecosystem and look at some of the challenges facing us in future conservation efforts of Keys Cactus Barrens. 

Stephen Hodges has a B.S. in Biological Sciences from F.I.U.  He has served as a biologist for the Institute for Regional Conservation, conducting botanical surveys of numerous natural areas in South Florida, and was the resident botanist of the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden (KWBG).  He is currently a plant conservation biologist for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and continues to assist KWBG with their conservation program. 

July 20, 4 - 7 p.m.: Annual evening yard visit and social meeting (no meeting at Pinecrest Gardens).  At the home of Amida Frey in Coconut Grove.  Yard tour, potluck dinner, plant raffle, socializing.  This meeting is for FNPS members and their guests.  Details in the July Tillandsia.


Have you been on a field trip lately … or ever? We are extremely fortunate to have in our own chapter some of the people most knowledgeable about South Florida native flora and natural areas.  In recent months Gwen Burzycki, Joy Klein, Chuck McCartney and Steve Woodmansee have led our field trips.  In previous years Marty Roessler led more field trips than we can count.  If you haven’t come to the last few trips, you have missed not only the opportunity to soak up information from these leaders (and others on the trips), but you have missed experiencing our beautiful parks and preserves, some which are not regularly open to the general public. We hope you’ll join us on the next two trips lead by Juan Fernandez (June) and Steve Woodmansee (August).  (There is no field trip in July.) 

If the weather is very bad, call Patty at 305-255-6404 to confirm.  Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and guests. Collecting is not permitted. Children are welcome.

Saturday, June 29, 2013, 9 a.m. – noon.
Virginia Key restoration areas

City of Miami Parks naturalist (and DCFNPS member) Juan Fernandez will show us the restoration at Virginia Key Beach (a City of Miami park) with its Coastal Hammock Trail, rare species such as Biscayne prickly ash and park nursery.  Juan began this restoration 1996, and we last visited there in 2010, but he says there has been tremendous change even in just three years.  We will also visit some of Miami-Dade County’s restoration areas on Virginia Key and look for birds and butterflies as well as interesting native plants.

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

  • Meet:  9 a.m. at the trailhead near the lifeguard stand on Virginia Key Beach. 
  • Difficulty: Easy.
  • Bring/wear: Sun/bug protection, money for Rickenbacker toll, drinks.  Bring lunch if you'd like to picnic afterwards.

Sunday, August 4, 2013, 5-7 p.m.: Nixon Smiley Pineland (SW 137 Ave. & 128 St.).  Yes, an evening field trip!  Steve Woodmansee will lead us.  Details in the July-August Tillandsia.


Chapter workday at Everglades National Park,  June 8.  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 and mosquito 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).  Upcoming workdays: July 13, August 10.

Please donate your unneeded pots to chapter members who pot up volunteers and seedlings for raffles and sales.  3" and 4" pots are always in demand.  We can find homes for 1 gallon and larger at the Miami-Dade County Parks nursery, our native plant nursery members, or various non-profits.  Please contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, or Mary Rose (305 378-0382,  

Dr. Robert (Bob) Knight, a former member of FNPS and one of the early participants in the "native plant movement" passed away in Miami on May 19, 2013.  We will have a remembrance of Bob in the July newsletter.


Conservation Grant Awards

The Dade Chapter’s $2340 donation to the FNPS Conservation Grants funded the bulk of the two awards given this year ($2895 total).  Without the support of our chapter members and friends and matching funds from the bequest of Bob Kelley, there would have been no Conservation Grants this year.  Conservation Committee chair Juliet Rynear thanked DCFNPS and says she hopes that FNPS chapters and members "will consider giving a little each year to fund vital conservation work across our state.  We really can make a difference."

The following grants were awarded this year: 

  1. Helianthus carnosusChase Mason, "Genetically-Informed Prioritization of Populations for Conservation in Two Imperiled Endemic Florida Sunflowers (Helianthus carnosus and Phoebanthus tenuifolius)".  Mason's preliminary "research indicates the likely local extirpation of several of the known populations for both species, and historical herbarium records indicate somewhat broader ranges and more numerous populations relative to what is currently extant.  Both of these species appear to be exhibiting declines, most drastically for H. carnosus. I wish to provide genetic information about extant populations to land managers to prioritize the conservation of the most genetically diverse and distinct populations of these species."  [P. tenuifolius shown]
  2. Thomas Greene, "Mapping Wet Prairies and Rare Species of Point Washington State Forest".  The 15,179-acre Point Washington State Forest in south Walton County contains wetland and upland habitats including numerous wet prairies, an imperiled community.  "It also has populations of at least 9 rare or imperiled plant species … [whose] locations were last visited in the 1990s when the tract was acquired by the state.  When natural communities on this tract were mapped by FNAI, wet prairies were omitted.  Wet prairies are the primary habitat for at least 3 of the rare or imperiled plant species. … The project goal is to provide an accurate map of wet prairies and rare and imperiled species to improve habitat management of those areas, including more frequent burning."

Landscape Award

Dade Chapter members Dave and Louise King
"FNPS Landscape Award of Excellence"
for their residence, Royal Grove

Some of you remember the delightful surroundings for our annual Summer Evening Yard Visit and Social meeting last July. But we can’t get enough of their verdant yard, and we will feature their award-winning yard in the July Tillandsia. In the meantime, congratulations Dave and Louise!



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.

  • June 18 topic: the Sapindaceae (Soapberry Family), including Inkwood, Soapberry, Maple, Varnishleaf and others.

Environmentally Endangered Lands Program.  Help our natural areas, see and learn about our beautiful preserves.  Please register at or call 305-257-0933x277. See

  • June 7: Rockdale Pineland Preserve,  SW 144 St & 92 Ave. (planting)
  • June 15:  Dolphin Center Addition Preserve 1661 NW 196 St, Miami Gardens (planting)


June 17-23, 2013 is designated as National Pollinator Week
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In this issue, we celebrate by featuring a fly, a wasp and a bee (all native) interacting with South Florida native plants. 

Many, many insects along with some birds, bats and non-flying mammals can be pollinators.  Spend a few minutes looking into online or print literature and you will be overwhelmed with interesting information.  Bees are definitely the stars.  Most butterflies are pollinators by happenstance; when they visit flowers to collect nectar, some pollen may rub off.   Heliconians, including our state butterfly, the Zebra Heliconian, are exceptions since they eat pollen … but we’ll have more about butterflies in a later issue.

See, the website of the nonprofit Pollinator Partnership, where you can obtain a variety of materials including the free download "Bee Basics- An Introduction to Our Native Bees" (under SHOP-books).

Chugach Arts Council has published a collection of stunning art work featuring pollinators.  Artists from around the country, including our own Xavier Cortada, submitted art to be included.  A 36 page, full color book of a variety of art forms bring awareness of pollinators through creative expression.  The book is not only to support pollinators but to encourage creativity and as a fund raiser for the Chugach Arts Council.  You may view the book in its entirety at:  by clicking on the gray "preview" button below the image.  You are invited to consider submitting your own work for next year’s edition.

Chugach Arts Council
Marie Wagner, Executive Dir.


by Roger L. Hammer

Viola sororiaViolets are well known to most gardeners but many would be surprised to learn that there are 9 species native to Florida. Surprisingly not one single species occurs within the 1.5 million acres of Everglades National Park but 4 species occur in the Everglades region to the northwest of the park, particularly in and around Corkscrew Swamp and the adjacent CREW Marsh in Collier County.  These are the Bog White Violet (Viola lanceolata), Early Blue Violet or Wood Violet (Viola palmata), Primroseleaf Violet (Viola primulifolia), and Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia).

Viola is the classical name for the violet and the father of binomial nomenclature, Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778), used the name for this group of plants in 1753.  Interestingly, the violet scent in perfumes comes from the Sweet Acacia (Acacia farnesiana), not a violet.  The reason is the scent that emanates from violet flowers is called "flirty" because, once inhaled, compounds in the fragrance can temporarily keep it from being detected by the human nose until the nerves recover.  This is not a good trait for a perfume ("That’s strange, she smelled really good a second ago!").

Violets have been cultivated for their beauty and fragrance for more than 2,000 years and were once highly regarded as medicinal plants to cure gout, epilepsy, and pleurisy.  Extracts from some species have even been employed to treat cancer.

Hoverflies (also called Flower Flies or Syrphid Flies) seek nectar from many flowers, including Violets, and some serve as effective pollinators.  While visiting the CREW Marsh in February 2013 I was crouched down among many dozens of flowering plants of the Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) and, while focusing on a flower, it was suddenly visited by a colorful, native Hoverfly (see photo). Hoverflies are important in other ways besides being flower pollinators because the larvae of some species are insectivores and prey upon aphids, thrips, and other insects that damage plants. Hoverflies are one more reason to not spray insecticides in your garden.

Roger Hammer is a retired Miami-Dade County naturalist, author, photographer, and native plant aficionado, member of FNPS and a frequent speaker at meetings and contributor to Tillandsia and Palmetto.



By Steve Woodmansee

Florida is lucky to have some really cool plants, and two of my favorites are the native figs (Ficus spp.).  Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea) and Shortleaf Fig (F. citrifolia) occur in parts of the state where freezes are uncommon.  I'd love to tell you more about all the benefits of these fantastic trees, but they are too numerous to include in this article, which is about the unique relationship figs have with their pollinators.  Suffice it to say that members of the genus Ficus are well known by biologists as important ecological "lynchpin" species across the tropical parts of the world (including subtropical Florida), and without them some ecological systems would collapse.   However, did you know that figs are pollinated by a special kind of wasp?

Each species of fig has its own species of pollinating wasp, and that wasp visits only fig flowers.  These wasps are teenie tiny, maybe a couple millimeters in length.  They are also stingless.  Have you ever seen a fig flower?  Probably not, as they are inside what we commonly call a "fruit".  The botanical term for fig is Syconium, and it is a specialized structure that houses the flowers, which are on the inside, and is not a true fruit by definition (ripened ovary). 

On the surface of the fig is a small hole and the tiny female wasps burrows inside this hole moving bracts and stuff out of the way.  She is covered in pollen, and when she enters the fig, there are dozens of female flowers open which get pollinated by her.  The fig is not yet "ripe" at this stage, and she begins laying her eggs in some of the flower ovaries, essentially making them barren of seed, but she leaves many flowers alone, eventually dying inside the fig after egg laying.  Those flowers which are pollinated and not parasitized will develop seeds.  Those with wasp eggs will develop young insects. 

After several weeks, the male wasps hatch out first.  They are wingless, and have two functions in life.  They mate with the females, who are still developing in the ovaries, and then drill a small hole out of the fig, creating an egress, and often plummet to their deaths.  A few days later, the impregnated female wasps emerge fully formed.  At that time, the fig produces male flowers, and the wasps get dusted with pollen before exiting the newly formed tunnel of the ripe fig.  Then they search for another fig to complete the cycle.  So figs are always flowering, since if they didn't, they'd lose their special pollinator and not be able to reproduce. 

So next time you bite into that Fig Newton, remember all that went into creating it, and ask yourself, should vegans be eating figs?  Nature can certainly be intricate in many fantastic ways!

Steve Woodmansee is a biologist with his own business (Pro Naïve Consulting), native plant expert, teacher, chair of the Dade Native Plant Workshop, president of FNPS, a former president of the Dade Chapter and frequent contributor to Tillandsia.


Byrsonima lucida

A native oil-collecting bee, Centris errans, on the native shrub Locustberry, Byrsonima lucida.  These flowers offer oils as a pollinator reward to the bees, which use the oils in their reproduction for nest building and food. 

Mary Rose is a longtime chapter member who is a fount of knowledge, plant donations and help in all activities, not to mention an avid and talented photographer.


The Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN) offers some online reading.

See "Restoring Biodiversity: Plant for Moths in Your Garden", just in time for Moth Week in July.

Plants discussed in the articles may not be for South Florida, but there is still useful information and lots of nice photos.

Some of the retail native plant nurseries and garden centers around the state are listed in the publication.

Yard visit at Steve Woodmansee’s, May 11
Yard visit at Steve Woodmansee’s, May 11
Photo by Jan Kolb

Yard visit at Steve Woodmansee’s, May 11
Bee on Cordia globosa
Photo by Mary Rose

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.

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,