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Newsletter - October 2013

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trip
Dade Chapter and FNPS News
Conservation Action Needed
Air Potato Beetles Create A Buzz
Other News and Events
Online Reading
Pineland Snowberry - A well-behaved groundcover
Contacts for DCFNPS


Oct. 6 (Sun.): Field trip (Deering Estate rehydration)
Oct. 19 (Sat.): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
Oct. 22 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Garden
Oct. 26 (Sat.): Miami Shores Green Day (volunteers needed)

Nov. 8-10 (Fri.-Sun.): FTBG Ramble (volunteers needed)
Nov. 17 (Sun): Field trip to Okaloacoochee Slough (Hendry County)
Nov. 26 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Garden

Dec. 7 (Sat.): Annual Holiday picnic
Dec. 14 (Sat): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
Field trip TBA, no monthly meeting


Tuesday, October 22, 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.

"Ants and Native Plants" – Ian Jones, PhD candidate at Florida International University, will speak about ants tending Senna plants to protect them and other interesting relationships between ants and plants.

Ian’s work at FIU is under the guidance of Professor Suzanne Koptur.  His dissertation is on "Understanding Extrafloral Nectar Mediated Arthropod Interactions and Their Associated Costs on Senna mexicana var. chapmannii."  He received his MSc degree in Applied Entomology from Imperial College London in 2006.  Before coming to FIU he was a Research Scientist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Acarologist/ Entomologist at the Medical Entomology Centre, Cambridge.

November 26: Dr. Aaron Palmateer will present on "Diagnostic Native Plant Pathology"


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.

Sunday, October 6, 2013, 8:45 a.m. – noon.  A revisit: the Deering Estate at Cutler re-hydration area and ferns. 

We will visit the transverse glade in the rehydration area and surrounding rockland hammock, with attention to ferns and other vegetation benefitting from the project.  This is a special opportunity to see a part of the Deering Estate not normally visited, with a host of knowledgeable leaders.  No entrance fee; you may bring lunch to enjoy at the Estate’s picnic tables.

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

  • Leaders: Craig Grossenbacher (DERM),  Jennifer Possley (FTBG),  Dallas Hazelton (Miami-Dade Parks).
  • Difficulty Moderate, 1-1.5 miles, some walking off-trail in rocky, uneven substrate, particularly at the start of the trip (you may get wet or muddy feet)
  • Bring/wear: Water, sturdy walking shoes that can get wet, long pants, long sleeves, sun and insect protection, lunch if you care to picnic after the trip (leave in your car).  A walking stick might be handy.
  • Lost?: Patty’s cell (305-878-5705) the morning of the trip.

Sunday, November 17, 2013.  Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest.  "OK Slough" contains largely undisturbed wetlands surrounded by oak, hydric hammocks, and pineland.  It is about a 2.5 hour drive from South Miami, but it’s worth the effort (and we’ll start a little later).  Save the date!

Please give us your input on field trips.   Give us suggestions for destinations or leaders, tell us your day/time preference or what would encourage you to attend.  What have been your favorite field trips?  Could you or a colleague lead a trip?  Please contact Patty (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring,com) or send comments to the chapter mailing address.


The Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society has joined the social media scene!  In addition to using our Facebook page, you can now find and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @dcfnps or Dade Native Plants.  Like us, follow us, tweet at us.   Share your comments and beautiful native plants and habitat photos. - Kurt Birchenough

Everglades National Park DCFNPS workday, October 19, 2013, 9am -noon.  Help the chapter enhance the entrance to a national park.  This will be a maintenance workday.  A jug of cold water will be provided; bring snacks to share if you care to.  Gloves, hand tools and bug spray are available but you may prefer to use your own.  New helpers are encouraged to come!  Everyone in your car gets into ENP free after the workday. Contact Patty 305-255-6404, if you have questions (305-878-5705 cell, for the morning of the workday only).  No workday if the park is closed due to a government shutdown.

Miami Shores Green Day: Good for All. Celebrate Fall.   October 26, 2013, 3 – 8p.m.  Downtown Miami Shores, NE 2nd Avenue between 94th and 100th Streets. Join the Miami Shores Chamber of Commerce for this community event which will educate and entertain.  DCFNPS will be there spreading the word about native plants, so come check us out.  Numerous other organizations, companies and agencies will feature "green" information, gifts, activities and food, plus a variety of vendors and entertainment.  See

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Ramble, Nov. 8-10, 2013. Get the inside perspective – volunteer!  Teach others about native plants at our educational display.  Please respond to Gita Ramsay (, 786-877-7168) by October 15 to have a name tag and free entry into FTBG.  The schedule will be finalized at the October 22 meeting.

Volunteers are needed for:  

  • Staffing our display Friday to Sunday, 9am-4:30 pm.
  • Set-up help on Thursday afternoon, 3:30-5pm.
  • Break-down on Sunday, 4:30-5pm.

You'll be promoting FNPS and native plants.  You don't need to be a plant expert and you can learn what is needed on the job.

Display items needed: Please loan/donate small native plants (in pots), native butterfly plants or caterpillars for the display.  Contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969,

Annual Holiday Potluck Picnic.  Saturday, December 7, 2013.  This year DCFNPS, Miami Blue NABA, Tropical Audubon Society and TREEmendous Miami will join the Gifford Arboretum annual picnic at UM.  Details next month.

Ongoing support for DCFNPS and conservation:

  • DCFNPS Gann Conservation Grant Fund.  Our chapter will support the FNPS conservation grants awarded each May.  Please send your donations to the chapter’s mailing address or participate in special fund-raisers throughout the year. 
  • Dade Chapter board meetings.  All members are welcome to attend or to send suggestions for items for the board to consider.  Please contact president Buck Reilly (, 786- 291- 4824) for more information.  This is your chapter – support it by being involved.

Do you have a family/household FNPS membership?  If you have an active husband, wife or other partner who is not listed on your membership, please send FNPS the additional name and contact info (phone, email) so they can establish good records for all members.  Send to or PO Box 278, Melbourne FL 32902-0278, or call 321-271-6702.

FNPS 2014 Endowment Grant Research Awards and Conservation Grant Awards.  The Endowment Research Grant program funds research on native plants which forwards the mission of the FNPS.   Conservation Grants support applied native plant conservation projects in Florida to promote the preservation, conservation, or restoration of rare or imperiled native plant taxa and rare or imperiled native plant communities.  Applications and details are at  > Participate/Grants and Awards.  Questions should be sent to  Application deadline is March 7, 2014.

Call for Research Track Papers and Poster Presentations - Florida Native Plant Society 2014 Conference (Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida, May 15-18, 2014). Presented papers will be on May 16 and 17 and the poster session on May 17.  Abstracts should be submitted by February 1, 2014.  See for details.


Help Protect Conservation Lands –Your participation in the Surplus Land Assessment is still needed.

FL DEP is taking public comment to identify state-owned conservation lands that could be sold back into private ownership.  Although some lands initially identified have been dropped from the list as a result of public opposition, nearly 3,200 acres remain listed as potential surplus lands.  Although many of the parcels they have identified are appropriate to surplus, others are not.  FNPS members should comment in favor of retaining public ownership of the parcels that have conservation value and contribute to the protection of native plants and native plant communities.  There are numerous parcels in the Keys that need your evaluation.

Remaining public hearings are in Ft. Myers (Oct. 3), Viera (near Melbourne, Oct. 8) and Orlando (Oct. 9).  If you are unable to attend a meeting, you can still submit written comments to  Additional information on the surplus land assessment, parcels and maps is at

Your comments can make a difference.   To be most effective, you should comment about specific parcels and explain how they remain valuable for conservation purposes.

Florida's Water and Land Legacy Campaign.  The required signatures must be obtained by November 30, 2013, to put an amendment to Florida's Constitution on the November 2014 ballot.  If you support this effort and have not yet acted, this is the time - please download your petition now and sent it in.  See


The September Tillandsia article about release of a biocontrol for the invasive air potato vine generated interest in releases on public and private properties.  DCFNPS member Karen Picciano has already arranged for a release at Kenwood Elementary School’s large native planting, "Kenwoods." 

You can make a request now to be added to the list for next spring’s releases on private properties.  Current releases are in public properties and some other areas for research purpose.  Contact Dr. Min B. Rayamajhi, Research Plant Pathologist at the USDA-ARS, Invasive Plant Research Lab, in Fort Lauderdale (954-475-6552, Min.Rayamajhi@ars.usda. gov).


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.  Free. Join on the website (free) to receive an email reminder and to post plant photos for identification or discussion.

  • October 15, 2013, topic: Whatever you think is spooky, the plant name, the plant appearance, attributes or "behavior" or human uses of the plant.  

Florida International University’s Insect Conservation Club promotes habitat restoration for insects and has field trips and outreach programs. The public is invited to join in upcoming activities. 

  • October 4, 2013, 6-8 p.m., meeting at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s Science Village. (Free.  Mention Insect Conservation Club at the gate to be admitted.)
  • October 30-31, 2013, 11a.m. – 3 p.m.  Butterfly plant sale at the FIU library breezeway.  The sale will focus on insect attracting plants at low prices, and there will be raffles for some very unique plants.  Campus address: 11200 SW 8 Street, Miami.  See

Tropical Audubon Society.  For other news and activities, see or call 305-667-7337.  Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami, 33143.

Sat.-Sun., Oct. 26-27:  Native plant sale. (9a.m.-5p.m. Sat., 9a.m.-3p.m. Sunday).  A great selection of plants with knowledgeable sales people.  Come early for the best selection.  Come on Sunday for supper at the "Food Truck Migration."

Bird Festival, October 10 - 13, 2013, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, in partnership with Tropical Audubon Society.   Field trips on Thursday and Friday.  Weekend activities (9:30a.m. - 4:30p.m.) include presentations, bird walks and educational activities for the whole family.  Bird attracting plants (many native) will be sold.

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  Quarterly Meeting, November 3, 1-3 p.m. John Pennekamp State Park, MM 102.5 Overseas Highway in Key Largo.   Robert McClure McElderry will speak on the very rare Florida Leafwing, as well as the more common leafwings in Texas.  A butterfly walk will follow the program.  The Florida Leafwing’s larval food is the native Pineland croton (Croton linearis), a shrub in the understory of pine rocklands.  It is believed that Everglades National Park is now the only place where the Florida Leafwing is found.  Pennekamp park entrance fee applies to non-NABA members.  More details at or email

Environmentally Endangered Lands Program Volunteer Workdays.  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 earn community service.  Please register at or call 305-372-6611.  Info and calendar:

  • 10/5/13 – Florida City Pineland, SW 344 St & SW 8 Ave (cleanup)
  • 10/25/13 – Larry & Penny Thompson Pineland, SW 179 Terr & 122 Ave (cleanup)


Connect to Protect Network (CTPN).  Have a look at, especially if you are interested in pine rockland.  Read about plants, pollination, planting a pineland and how your garden can become part of CTPN and be a "pine rockland stepping stone garden" that helps link pineland preserves.  Click on "Newsletter archives" for articles in the newsletter Connections:  

  • September 2013: Read about the novel discoveries of Poison Ivy sawfly feeding on poisonwood and winged sumac, and "How Well Do You Know Your Native Ferns?" 
  • September 2011: "How to Spot Pollinators." 

Browse the archive for more.

Native fern identification.  The CTPC newsletter fern article above provides a link to "Natural Area Weeds: Distinguishing Native and Non-Native ‘Boston Ferns’ and ‘Sword Ferns’ (Nephrolepis spp.)" by K. A. Langeland (, a good reference for South Florida.  Click on the photos to enlarge to read the text.

Pinellas Chapter FNPS newsletters."Permaculture and Native Plants" -  by Andy Karpinski

Permaculture Part I (April-May 2013) defined permaculture and discussed some of its goals and elements.  Part II (June-July 2013) discusses how permaculture can help with the design of native landscapes.  Part III (August-September 21) addresses the incorporation of food plants.

A well-behaved groundcover

By Patty Phares

Quite a few years ago, I planted Pineland snowberry, Chiococca parvifolia, to use as a pineland understory plant. It became much larger than I expected, forming mounds over 2 feet tall and growing much taller where it climbed among the branches of other shrubs and trees.  It grew quickly and spread aggressively to other areas - not what I wanted.  Out it came.

Later, I learned that this species has two different forms in South Florida.  The one I planted was likely the vinelike shrub found in coastal hammocks in the Keys.  The one I wanted was a more petite woody groundcover found in pine rocklands.

When plants grown from a South Dade pineland seed source were available, I tried again.  Two or three pots were planted in a rocky area on a small slope at the edge of the yard.  The location is in semi-shade until mid-afternoon, when it is in full sun.  Over several years the plants have gradually spread to fill in a dense, wide patch about 6 by 3 feet and generally under 1 foot tall.  There is some stem layering (branches rooting along the ground), but it has not spread by seed to distant areas.  White, bell-shaped blossoms are plentiful along the stems in late summer, followed by clusters of white berries.  The only maintenance is an occasional pulling of a wayward stem layer or a minor trim at the edge of the sidewalk.

Pineland snowberry
Photo by Gene Scott

Chiococca  means "snowberry" and parvifolia means "small-leaved."  Some consider C. parvifolia  to be a form of the much larger species, C. alba.  Read more about snowberries in books and online at The Institute for Regional Conservation’s "Natives for Your Neighborhood" ( 

Even if you aren’t creating a pineland in your yard, you might want to try this little snowberry for an attractive, durable, low-maintenance border or groundcover

Pineland snowberry
Photo by Lauren McFarland

Please submit your landscape photos or observations to the editor for potential use in Tillandsia. Share your ideas, gardening tips and techniques, what you have learned.


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,