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Newsletter - November/December 2013

Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trip
Yard Visit
Dade Chapter and FNPS News
Conservation Issues
Other News and Events
Book Review
Muhlygrass - Muhlenbergia capillaris
Contacts for DCFNPS


Nov. 8-10 (Fri.-Sun.): FTBG Ramble (volunteers needed)
Nov. 17 (Sun): Field trip to Okaloacoochee Slough in Hendry County (9:30 a.m.)
Nov. 24 (Sun.): Yard visit (2 p.m.) – new announcement
Nov. 26 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Garden

Dec. 7 (Sat.): Annual Holiday picnic (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
Dec. 8 (Sun.):  Field trip to Matheson Hammock (3 p.m.)
Dec. 14 (Sat): Chapter workday, Everglades National Park
(No monthly meeting or newsletter in December)


Jan. 4 (Sat.): Annual Bolla/Gann holiday party (5 -9 p.m.)
Jan. 28 (Tue.): Meeting at Pinecrest Garden

Mar. 22:  Native Plant Day
May 15-18: FNPS Annual Conference, Ft. Myers


Tuesday, November 26, 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.

"Common diseases and disorders affecting plants in the South Florida landscape" - Dr. Aaron J. Palmateer, University of Florida Tropical Research and Education Center

This presentation will include both non-native and native plants that are affected with diseases or disorders.  Dr. Palmateer has a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Auburn University, AL.  He is an Associate Professor of Plant Pathology and director of the University of Florida’s Extension Plant Diagnostic Clinic at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, FL.  Under his direction the diagnostic clinic has provided a valuable resource for which commercial plant producers, and landscape professionals have come to rely upon for accurate diagnoses of plant diseases and disorders.  His areas of interest in his research include developing new diagnostic techniques, characterizing plant pathogens, and implementing effective management strategies for commercial producers and landscape professionals.  He has published on a number of plant pathogen introductions and disease outbreaks affecting new plant hosts in the United States and the Caribbean.   For additional information visit


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.

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013,  9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Okaloacoochee Slough in Hendry County.  We visited the "OK Sough" in October, 2003, and April, 2005.  This area is a major headwater for the Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress National Preserve.  It contains largely undisturbed wetlands surrounded by oak, cabbage palm-dominated hydric hammocks, and pineland.  We plan to walk through wet prairie with sojourns into hammocks, get our lunches from the cars to eat where it is dry, then visit flatwoods (where it will still probably be wet).  Flowers are not abundant now because of the wet fall and the season, but come to experience the beautiful slough drying down after a very wet rainy season – it’s worth the drive!

  • Difficulty: Moderate – off-trail walking, definitely wet (possibly to the knee). 
  • Bring/wear: Sun/bug protection, drinks/snacks to carry, lunch (leave in car), shoes and pants that can get wet.  A walking stick can be helpful in the water.  As a precaution, try to wear something with a bright color since it is small game hunting season (even if not close to us).
  • Leaders: Jean McCollom, FFWCC Biologist, and our own Steve Woodmansee.
  • Lost/late? Try Patty's cell (305-878-5708) or Jean’s (863-228-7232)

Sunday, December 8, 2013, 3 – 5 p.m.: Matheson Hammock Park.  The hammock on the west of Old Cutler Road is one of the best examples of coastal rockland hammocks in Florida. Over 100 acres of restored forest with unique geological formations such as solution holes covered with tropical ferns, and some of the largest hammock trees remaining in Dade County. Hurricanes in 2005 altered the canopy, so we'll see the continued changes and challenges to restoration efforts.

  • Difficulty: Moderate (rocky off trails), easy if you stay on trails. 
  • Leaders: All of us
  • Lost/late? Try Patty's cell (305-878-5708)


Sunday, November 24, 2013, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Location: Member's home

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

Who is invited: FNPS members and their guests

‘Wow!"  That’s what I said out loud when I saw Bill’s property, and continued to say throughout my visit.  I am always amazed how people can turn a ½ acre property into a very special place! The house cannot be seen from the road.  The vegetation is thick, but maintained so that there is a lot of sunlight for many smaller plants and vines as well as large trees.  Bill has been particularly involved in collecting rare and endangered plants, propagating them and giving the seeds to nurseries.  Approximately 90% of the plants are native and the rest exotics used for splashes of color.  Many plants were in bloom, and the number and varieties of butterflies were astounding - very wild life friendly!  This twenty year labor of love also has a very special side story.  Bill has not only created a beautiful yard, but has also persuaded and helped all four of his immediate neighbors go native.  An impressive yard for many reasons!

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. If more information is needed, call me at 305-238-8901.

Gwladys Scott

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
University of Miami’s Gifford Arboretum

This year the joint picnic of DCFNPS, Miami Blue NABA, Tropical Audubon Society and TREEmendous Miami will join the Friends of the Gifford Arboretum for their annual picnic. Please come and share an educational and fun time with others who are also friends of the environment.

The event is being sponsored by the Gifford Arboretum and TREEmendous Miami, but please bring a pot luck side dish or dessert if you are able. You do not need to RSVP.

Schedule (come when you can):
10 a.m. - Tour of the Arboretum with Gifford Arboretum Director Steve Pearson
11:30 a.m. – Lunch
12:30 p.m. - Gardening for wildlife presentation - Gary Hunt
1 p.m. - Tour of the Arboretum's Florida native trees with Florida Native Plant Society President Steve Woodmansee.

Location: University of Miami's Gifford Arboretum, Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146. Parking is free.
Directions: The Arboretum is on the northwest corner of the campus (near the Cox Science Center). Enter the parking area from San Amaro Drive at the south end of the Arboretum. (San Amaro runs along the University's western periphery, starting at Ponce de Leon where the baseball stadium is located). See
More information: Contact Steve Pearson, 305-284-1302 or

Annual Bolla / Gann
"Nature Lovers' Holiday Party"
January 4, 2014 – 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Home of Don & Joyce Gann in the Redlands

Mark your calendars now …
the January newsletter might be too late!

The Ganns are continuing the tradition begun by the late Mary Ann Ogden Bolla more than forty years ago. Mark and Lura Bolla will not be able to come from Cleveland this time, but Mary Ann’s daughter Laura Ogden will be here.

Native Plant Society members and all other nature lovers are invited, along with family, house guests and like-minded friends and acquaintances. The more the merrier!

Soup’s on at 7 p.m. but come any time after 5. Come early to enjoy snacks and walk in the woods before dark, or come late. Expect to park on the unlit swale and walk a short distance off pavement. Bring a flashlight and a covered dish. The Ganns will provide Joyce's homemade turkey soup, coffee and tea. Please RSVP (and get directions): 786-423-1881 or


Welcome new members: Mark and Deb Greenberg, Kathie Grigg, Alberto Morales

Save the date for Native Plant Day on March 22, 2014, at Elaine Gordon Enchanted Forest Park in North Miami.  We are excited to be working with the City of North Miami once again to highlight the park and varied habitats at this fantastic location. Are you interested in helping make Native Plant Day extra special this year?  We are interested in speaker recommendations and a few hours of help from available volunteers.  If you can help with ANY of these items, please contact Amy Leonard at (preferred) or 305-458-0969 after 3 p.m..  Please start potting up natives now and looking for special gardening- related, non-plant items for our raffle table. 

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Ramble, Nov. 8-10, 2013.
Last-minute volunteers are welcome to help at our educational display but are too late for free admission the FTBG.  Please contact Gita Ramsay (

Dade Chapter board will meet November 24.  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).

Everglades National Park DCFNPS workday, December 14, 2013, 9 a.m. -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).

The November-December issue of the Sabal Minor (newsletter of FNPS) is available for download on the FNPS website at > Resources.  If you have any trouble downloading, contact Cathi in the FNPS office at

Please support FNPS and native plant conservation in your end-of-year giving.

  • DCFNPS Gann Conservation Grant Fund.  Our chapter will again support the FNPS conservation grants awarded each May.  FNPS needs to know early in the year what funds will be available.  Please send your donations to the chapter’s mailing address or donate at a meeting.  A few dollars from each of many members (and then matched by the chapter) can add up to a significant portion of a grant award.  Let’s do it!
  • FNPS 2013 Annual Fund Campaign.  The Annual Fund appeal is a special campaign to build up funding for projects in the coming year. FNPS counts on these additional contributions, above and beyond membership, to help fund the grants program and other mission specific activities. Watch for your letter in the mail. Thanks in advance for giving as generously as you can.

Miami-Dade Environmentally Endangered Lands – will they become more endangered?

In this time of tight budgets and limited staffing, programs that have public support will continue, and those that do not, well…

The Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program was a wise investment!  Over 20 years ago, the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County voted to tax themselves to set aside funds to acquire and manage important conservation lands.  We knew how special our natural areas were, and wanted to preserve them.  For our ever-dwindling pinelands, this was a critical action that has resulted in preservation and management of some very important areas that are now coming to the attention of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 

The USFWS is proposing to list two pine rockland plant species, Brickellia mosieri (Florida Brickell-bush) and Linum carteri var. carteri (Carter’s small-flowered flax) as federally endangered, and is also proposing to designate critical habitat for these species in an effort to increase the chances for their survival.  The habitat being considered for critical designation consists of pine rocklands where these plants are found now or have been found in the past, and most of the proposed critical habitat is either owned and managed by the EEL Program or is listed for future acquisition (if additional funds were made available and the property owner were willing).

What would be the current status for these two extremely rare plant species if EEL had not come into existence over 20 years ago?  Would they still exist?  Think about it.  EEL has been working quietly for over 20 years to acquire, restore, and manage important conservation lands, make these areas available for compatible educational opportunities (DCFNPS members regularly visit EEL sites on field trips), and educate local schoolchildren and other volunteers about our native heritage through volunteer opportunities.  

If you appreciate what this program has done and want to see it continue, please let Mayor Gimenez and your own commissioner know that you support the program.  If you’d like for EEL to have more resources to protect natural areas, please be sure to say that, too.  In this time of tight budgets and limited staffing, programs that have public support will continue, and those that do not, well … (Remember the fight for the libraries?)  

Mayor Gimenez may be contacted by letter at:  Office of the MayorStephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33128 or by e-mail at:  Find your commissioner’s contact information at

(By the way, if you have any information to contribute to the USFWS on Brickellia mosieri and Linum carteri var. carteri, the comment deadline is December 2, 2013.  Make comments through  You can find the two articles (one for the proposed federal listing and one for the designation of critical habitat) by searching for the October 3, 2013 issue and looking under "Fish and Wildlife" for the two proposed rules.)

Last chance to support

Florida's Water and Land Legacy Campaign

Signatures are still needed and must be obtained by November 30, 2013, to put an amendment to Florida's Constitution on the November 2014 ballot.  If you are a registered voter and support this effort and have not yet acted, please download your petition now and sent it in.  See


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.

  • Nov.19 topic: Mint family (Lamiaceae).  Florida natives include skullcap, bluecurls, pennyroyal, wild basil and many others.  For a list of South Florida plants in this family visit:  then select "Lamiaceae" under the "Family"…
  • Dec. 17 topic: Hibiscus family (Malvaceae).  We'll also have our Holiday Plant Party, so feel free to bring a dish or beverage to share (and maybe to identify first).

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:

  • 11/8/13 – County Line Scrub, NE 215 St. east of San Simeon Way (trail maintenance)

Everglades National Park - Free admission on Monday, November 11, 2013.  In honor of Veteran’s Day there will be an open house and tours of the Nike Missile Site by Nike Missile Veterans, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  No reservations are required.  For more information call the main information line (305) 242 -7700 or see

Give Miami Day, November 20, 2013.  Go to and click on Categories to see organizations you can support, including environmental groups such as the South Florida National Parks Trust and citizens for  better South Florida.  From the website: "Give Miami Day is a unique, 24-hour online giving event that allows individuals in our community an opportunity to build a greater Miami by making a charitable gift to a local nonprofit. The Miami Foundation and its partners have committed an initial monetary pool as incentive dollars to match a percentage of contributions received during Give Miami Day". Last year more than $1.2 million was raised for 300 nonprofit organizations.

Amyris elemiferaThe National Park Service still needs torchwood (Amyris elemifera) seeds to restore a larval food of the Schaus swallowtail butterfly.  Fruit are ready to harvest when they are about 0.5-1cm long and purple/black.  Fruit may be available year round, reportedly becoming abundant on the mainland in December, and more plentiful in summer.  Harvest up to half the mature fruit at a time, leaving some food for the fauna in your yard.  Place them in a paper bag and contact Helena Giannini, 786-249-3013,  Any small number of seeds can help.  (Photo by Shirley Denton)


By Patty Phares

Native Plants, Weeds, and Sustainable Landscapes in South Florida
A catalog of native plants for landscaping, a weed identification guide, and a discussion of sustainable landscaping in Florida below Lake Okeechobee
By George K. Rogers and numerous collaborators

As a friend says, "The more the merrier" when it comes to books on plants.  No one source can be expected to have everything you could want to know – that’s why we collect books and refer to trusted websites.  This new addition to the list of books about Florida native landscape plants stands out in being specific to South Florida, stressing "sustainability", its wide range of topics and being intended as a teaching tool.  Dr. Rodgers is the Chair of the Environmental Horticulture Department at Palm Beach State College, whose students collaborated on the book.  Most of the excellent photography is by John Bradford.

The word "catalog" could be applied to the entire book.  It is hefty, with 382 pages in a hardcover 8.5 x 11" format.  Rogers includes many of his articles and blogs from various sources.  These may be thought-provoking but also full of information, always in a light manner. 

The book begins with 65 pages before the plant descriptions, including an extensive glossary; "What’s a native plant?"; a history with accounts of William Bartram, Charles Torrey Simpson, David Fairchild and others; discussion of environmental issues such as the use of horticultural chemicals and irrigation; "Alternatives to Toxins and Pollutants"; and "Sustainable Landscapes". 

Next, individual profiles for native landscape plants are grouped into: Shrubs; Trees; Wildflowers, Vines, Annuals, Perennials, Groundcovers; Grasses, Sedges and Grasslike Plants; and Water Plants.  Species are ordered alphabetically by common name within these groupings, and longer articles are included for some species.  You’ll learn the pronunciation and explanation of every scientific name (and then perhaps wish it had been alphabetized by scientific name).

The section (105 pages!) on weeds also includes individual plant descriptions and photos.  It begins with "Thoughts on Weeds" and an identification guide with a series of easy questions such as "Does the weed have fuzzy leaves and stems?  Go to ‘D’ below."  Species included as weeds range from Florida natives many of us are fond of (perhaps because of their tendency to arrive uninvited) to noxious exotic weeds.  This section will be appreciated by those who find weeds interesting (as does Rogers) and those who hate them.  However, the information does not always indicate whether a plant is considered harmful to natural areas and should be eliminated (like Natal Grass, listed as a Category I invasive exotic by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council) or whether it is not known to be a cause for concern.

Information on most landscape plants includes numerous aspects (recognition, landscape use, distribution, etc.), but some content is too brief or inconsistent (e.g., good description of the fruit in one case, but only "Grapes" in another).  Some significant characteristics are occasionally omitted, for instance, it is not mentioned that Paradise Tree, Seagrape and Pigeon Plum are dioecious.  Abbreviations and other shorthand are used for some categories of information, requiring frequent turning to a key, even though the information would fit if spelled out.  Many plants have wonderful close-up photos of flowers, fruits and leaves, but photos of whole plants in the landscape are infrequent or much less effective.  If there is a future edition, hopefully the large amount of white space on many pages will be filled with great photos of entire plants and more details in the descriptions.  There are also some minor lapses in editing to correct, including Spanish Stopper not appearing in the index, and Lawn Orchid lacking a photo.

This book has something to interest most everyone who is involved with landscaping their own or someone else’s property in South Florida.  The price of $40 or $20 for students (includes tax and shipping) is worthwhile for the breadth of information and the photos, especially since all revenues support the Environmental Horticulture Department’s publication and website program.  Contact Dr. George Rogers at 561-207-5052 or for questions or to purchase.  Or check with the Dade Chapter for availability and price at chapter meetings or Native Plant Day.

MUHLYGRASS - Muhlenbergia capillaris

Muhlenbergia capillarisThe only time I don’t love Muhlygrass is when its wiry leaves poke me in the face as I lean in to admire it.  It thrives in the sun in a typical landscape most everywhere in Florida (it is found naturally in pinelands, marl prairies and marshes).  In the summer and fall it gradually becomes a fountain of purple.  It does a wonderful job at covering the ground to suppress weeds.  The only thing I do for maintenance is cut the leaves off in some years to refresh it.  I didn’t even plant all the clumps – Mother Nature gave me a border all by herself.  Read more at > Natives for Your Neighborhood.

– Patty Phares; photo by Mary Rose


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,