November eNews for Broward Native Plants
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Southern Broken-Dash, Wallengrenia otho, on Spanish Needles, Bidens alba, by Mary Keim. To see more of her wonderful floral and faunal photos, visit Mary Keim on Flickr.

Florida Native Plant Society

Promoting the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Broward County
Membership $35
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November Events

Wednesday, Nov. 11, 7 pm
Secret Woods, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312

Florida Native Plants and Insects
Dr. Bill Kern, an experienced entomologist with the University of Florida , Entomology and Nematology Department, will introduce us to the world of insect interactions with native plants.

Places with native plants are busy with thousands of active plant and wildlife interactions in every direction from where we stand. Thank you to Bill Kern and others who have had the interest and patience to watch and study. Through his experience, we can begin to learn to appreciate the intricacy and long-term nature of these cooperative and defensive relationships.

Saturday, Nov 14, 10 am
Quiet Waters Park, 401 S Powerline Rd, Deerfield Beach, FL

Go Native Plant Sale

A variety of native plant nurseries and vendors will be displaying and selling plants native to south Florida. Other plants said to be beneficial to butterflies and wildlife will also be sold there. Park entrance fee. Sale 10am - 2pm.

Saturday, Nov 21, 8 am
Fern Forest, 201 SW 46th Av, Pompano Bch, FL 33063

A Walk with Ted and Barbara Center Looking at Insects

Dr. Ted Center is a life-long scientist with many publications on insects and invasive plants. We know them as delightful trail companions who can spot the insects we pass by and who know many interesting and wonderful things about them. Please join us in a rain or shine hunt for bugs.

Sunday, Nov 29, 9:30 am
South side at the intersection of Loop Road & Tamiami Trail (US 41), Big Cypress

Big Cypress National Preserve: Loop Road

Another great joint field trip hosted by the Dade Chapter and a chance to see familiar and rare native plants in the wonderful wilds of the Everglades. What better way to end this weekend than by enjoying and being thankful for nature?  We will drive along the east end (with a good surface), stopping to delve into pinelands and perhaps other habitats.  We expect to be dry, but there might be opportunities for wet feet (which you can skip). Directions: Take US-41 (Tamiami Trail) west to the 40-mile bend, 21.5 miles from Krome Avenue, 4 miles past Shark Valley.  Turn left and meet near the intersection. Additional details on the Calendar at

At this moment in history the climate, the air and water, many animals, much natural land, oceans, and many native plants are under siege by careless human development and exploitation. With recent and broader awakening of the consequences, perhaps society will finally use its wealth, intelligence, and imagination to make the needed changes, quickly.

The crisis highlights the interdependence of everything living on the planet. More concretely, native plants live in a very busy world with bees; insects of all kinds; microbes doing biochemical work; birds feeding, pooping, and moving things around; and busy squirrels, possums, raccoons, and little lizards doing their thing. Native plants also live under the care of native gardeners.

In November our speaker, Dr. Bill Kern, and hike co-leader, Dr. Ted Center, will take us closer to understanding what is going on in the bushes and within the flowers as insects come and go. Hopefully, this very close and specific look at the complex interactions of plants and insects will expand our appreciation for the awesome complexity and endless excitement to be found in the living world. Our natural legacy is at least as old, interesting, and valuable as the Egyptian treasures.


Editor: Richard Brownscombe 

In the October 2015 issue I misidentified the two plants below. They were photographed at Hole-in-the-Donut, Everglades National Park. Thank you, Chuck McCartney, for catching the errors and giving us the correct identification shown below. If you are interested, you can follow my amateur's path to learning their correct identification in the article below.
Sagittaria lancifolia, Lance-leafed Arrowhead  
Ipomoea cordatotriloba, Tievine

Revisiting the Identification of Two Species

Richard Brownscombe 

  Chuck McCartney kindly alerted me to the misidentification of two species. All of us who are amateurs (that is, most of us) make many errors along the way. Nearly always in this effort toward correct identification I begin noticing what I never saw before. This closer look is where the excitement begins.
Sagittaria lancifolia, Lance-leafed Arrowhead 

A great aid to identification is a plant inventory. In South Florida, we can easily print out (or access) the comprehensive species list of a conservation area from the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC). Here is the one for the Everglades National Park, grouped by Family. In the case of the two plants below, I thought I knew them, but a check of the local plant list would have confirmed or raised questions about my identification. It's possible to find species "out of place" or newly discovered in a locality, but an unusual identification bears a much closer, and more expert, look. The first step is to consider a closely-related species that is known to be in the area.

  I misidentified the Arrowhead plant as Sagittaria latifolia (3-4 feet tall). This species is not on the list for Everglades National Park. Big clue! However, the same genus, Sagittaria, includes the species lancifolia (2-3 feet tall) and two additional species.  Photographs of S. graminea or Grassy Arrowhead (2 feet tall) show a smaller plant with grass-like leaves. S. filiformis or Threadleaf Arrowhead is a very, very short form that may look as if it is floating on the water.

  My world is already getting more interesting as I realize for the first time that there are probably three Sagittaria species in Everglades National Park, two interestingly different forms and one very much like my photograph, Sagittaria lancifolia.

  I've always heard people refer to the Arrowhead plant as Duck Potato, but I didn't realize there are two similar species. According to the IRC, "Duck Potato" or "Common Arrowhead" refers to Sagittaria latifolia (the species I did not photograph and has not been recorded in Everglades National Park). According to Green Deane (, only S. latifolia produces lots of edible tubers. The common name for Sagittaria lancifolia is Bulltongue Arrowhead or Lance-leaved Arrowhead.

  Perhaps it is time to actually look at the leaves of Sagittaria. Too bad I didn't photograph the leaf, but others have. The lance-like leaf of S. lancifolia makes identification easy, once you know to look. Wunderlin & Hansen's, The Guide to Vascular Plants of Florida, describe the leaf of S. latifolia as "cordate [heart-shaped], sagittate [arrowhead-shaped], or hastate [basal lobes even more splayed than a typical arrowhead]. You can see below how the lower or basal part of the leaf is so very different between the two species.
S. latifolia Broad-leafed Arrowhead
or Duck Potato
George D. Gann
S. lancifolia
Lance-leafed Arrowhead
Shirley Denton
S. graminea
Grassy Arrowhead
Shirley Denton
S. filiformis
Threadleaf Arrowhead
Bob Upcavage

Ipomoea cordatotriloba, Tievine

  Leaves may also help us with two similar species of pink morning glory, Ipomoea cordatotriloba or Tievine and Ipomoea sagittata, Everglades Morning glory. In fact, we can apply a little of what we just observed about the leaf shape of the genus Sagittaria to the leaf shape of the genus Ipomoea.

  Before looking at leaves, another look at the Everglades National Park plant inventory shows that Ipomoea cordatotriloba is typically on disturbed land, exactly what we were looking at. That could be an indication that I. cordatotriloba would be more likely found at the location where the photo was taken.

  We might expect Ipomoea sagittata to have arrowhead-shaped leaves and, yes, that is a distinguishing feature of this species. If I were guessing, I might expect I. cordatotriloba to have heart-shaped leaves with three lobes, or something like that. And it does, sometimes. Yet when I look at many I. cordatotriloba photos, perhaps from different localities, I see a lot of variability in the leaf-shape.

  There are about 25 species of morning glory in Florida and several pink ones, so identification isn't easy. The great variety that comes of sexual reproduction, evolution of species, and atypical individuals is at the very heart of survival. All this variation makes identification of some genera quite difficult, if you are expecting to master it quickly. Yet this great variety and gradation is full of the questions and answers about how life evolves and how plants interact with the creatures and conditions they live in. Understanding morning glories is like a new book for an amateur, full of things you never thought about before. If you aren't looking for a fast read, morning glories are as fascinating as they are beautiful.

  For now, I will be content with looking at the leaves of the two similar Ipomoea species that confuse me, and later, look at them again when I can see them in the wild. If I am lucky, Chuck will be nearby to help as he does so often and so patiently. Or perhaps you, who have also been looking at morning glories, will tell me what you see. I have many more chapters to read and I'm looking forward to it.
I. sagittata
Everglades Morning Glory
Walter Taylor

I. cordatotriloba
Matthew Merritt 
I. cordatotriloba
Roger Hammer
I. sagittata
Everglades Morning Glory
Roger Hammer
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Speaker events are on 2nd Wednesdays at 7 pm at the Secret Woods.
Field Trips are usually on a following weekend but they vary,
so always check the Calendar and check again for last minute trip updates.
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