November eNews for Broward Native Plants
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Florida Scrub-jay
This bird is a fitting symbol of Florida's unique Scrub habitat. It survives nowhere else. For thousands of years it has co-evolved with the wildlife, plants, and insects of the Florida Scrub and its seasonal rhythms of rain and rejuvenating fire.

Florida Native Plant Society

Promoting the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Broward County
Membership & Renewal Online
Broward Chapter site & CALENDAR
Email Us (we read it and respond to it)
Plant List (Inst. for Regional Conservation)
The Broward Chapter on Facebook
THIS SATURDAY MORNING is our big workday event. Please make a special effort to join us. You'll likely enjoy yourself and the park needs our care.

November Events

Broward Chapter Work Day: Removing Invasive Exotic Species from the Secret Woods

Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 am
Secret Woods, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312
Secret Woods Nature Center

Make a difference with a shovel! Please join us on Saturday, Nov. 5th, 9 am-noon, to remove invasive plants from the natural land at the Secret Woods Nature Center, our Broward Chapter meeting place.

We will try to provide some choice of work to match your strength and accommodate young people and friends who come to help.

We sponsor this event understanding the urgency and importance of protecting our last remaining natural places.

We need many hands, young and old, to make a significant difference, so please set aside Saturday morning, Nov. 5th, for the Secret Woods. This event is not just for Chapter members. The public is warmly invited, needed, and more than welcome. See you there!

Insect and Plant Interactions with Sandy Koi

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7 pm
Secret Woods, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312
Unique relationships between insects and plants

Sandy Koi* conducted research on Atala host plants. Many of us already know about the close relationship between the Atala butterfly and the Coontie plant. Her work, and the subsequent planting of Coontie, is largely responsible for the Atala's comeback in Broward.

This evening Sandy will speak more broadly on "Insect and Plant Interactions" focusing on butterflies and herbivory and the neat chemical stuff going on that we so rarely hear about or understand. This is a window into this complex, species-specific relationships between plants and insects. These ancient relationships underscore the importance of habitat. The system as a whole is so interrelated that the local extinction of one species can cause the collapse of others.

Understanding these fascinating dances between plants and insects helps us to better advocate for natural areas and native landscaping to save Broward’s natural legacy.

*Sandy Koi is a field biologist & entomologist and Research Associate with
the Institute for Regional Conservation

Check our Calendar at for any schedule updates.

Florida Scrub: Our Most Distinctive Ecosystem

Slender Goldenrod, Euthamina caroliniana, among Saw Palmetto, Serenoa repens

"Florida scrub is frequently considered to be Florida’s most distinctive ecosystem. With so many interesting ecosystems that exist in Florida, such as mangrove swamps, hardwood hammocks, dry prairies, and freshwater marshes, the title is an honorable one...."
Quotations from an Archbold Biological Station guide
by Nancy D. Deyrup and Charlotte B. Wilson
Photos: Richard Brownscombe
Slender Goldenrod, Euthamina caroliniana, with insect

Broward's last remaining scrub is within several County Natural Areas such as Highlands Scrub (34 acres), Crystal Lake Sand Pine (24 acres), and Military Trail (20 acres). With so few acres of scrub remaining, it may be Broward's rarest natural habitat. Broward's scrub is several thousand years old. It evolved on the old dunes as the ocean receded to it current level, leaving the Florida peninsula exposed.
Seminole False Foxglove, Agalinis filifolia, with its dark red filamentary foliage

"Florida scrub is ... found on coastal and ancient inland dunes ... [and] is relatively high ... dry, and desert-like.... Rain drains through scrub soil very quickly. Even within an hour of a heavy rain, very little water will remain on top of the sand. During the wet season, seasonal ponds may form in some depressions...."
Patches of Yellow-buttons, Balduina angustifolia

"Fires [historically] occur[red] at intervals of about 5-25 years in scrub.... These regularly occurring fires swept across the landscape in erratic patterns, keeping scrub relatively low and open and ensuring a mosaic of scrub that varied in stages of growth."

This distinctive habitat holds the last remaining populations of scrub species. Some are rare throughout Florida and a few are endemic species that grow nowhere else on earth.
Sensitive Briar, Mimosa quadrivalvis, sharply barbed, but intense in color and form

Broward is on the brink of losing many scrub species. The Institute for Regional Conservation estimates Broward species in peril to be greater than 25% and emphasizes the importance of an updated species inventory to determine the current conservation status of species. With so few acres of scrub habitat in Broward, the last remaining plant populations of some species are very small, counted in hundreds or even tens of plants. Plants (and their associated insects and wildlife) are on these island-like preserves making it difficult or impossible for wildlife to move from one scrub area to another. Even wind and pollinators may be unable to move seed or pollen between scrub "islands".
Whitemouth Dayflower, Commelina erecta, punctuating blue

However, the greatest threat to rare species is strangulation by invasive exotic plant species. Invasive plants quickly overtake fragile populations of native species, consuming the space, the light, the moisture, and the nutrients.
Tarflower, Bejaria racemosa, and insect; red leaves of Winged Sumac, Rhus copallinum, below

We could probably save all of these rare extant species within the next five years, but it would require the commitment of the public and Broward community leaders to do so. We need publicity so that the public understands the need and urgency. With a public outcry, participation by the charitable community, support from business leaders, and collaboration with the County and city governments, we could save Broward's natural areas. About $1 million is needed for the invasive removal work that would put our rare and critically imperiled plants (and all the insects, butterflies, birds, and other wildlife that depend on them) in much better stead.
Dog-fennel, Eupatorium capillifolium, bobs gracefully above a depression (seasonal pond)

Note: In late October, five Broward Chapter members attended a two-day field trip sponsored by the Dade Chapter to Archbold Biological Station, an 8,000-acre (mostly) scrub preserve at the southern end of the Lake Wales Ridge in central Florida. What we learned makes us appreciate the value of Broward's last remaining scrub preserves.
The Broward Chapter is on Facebook. Like us. Participate in the conversation.
Photo above is by Mary Keim
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.
Visit for a wealth of information about local plants.
Copyright © 2016 Broward Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, All rights reserved.

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