October eNews for Broward Native Plants
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OCTOBER is "Florida Native Plant Month". Governor Scott, the Broward County Commissioners, and today, the City of Oakland Park have proclaimed it so.  Free posters will be handed out (until supply is exhausted) on October 14 at the meeting with landscape architect Mike Rawls, designer of Green Cay Wetlands. (Sabatia decandra, Bartram's Rosegentian)

Florida Native Plant Society

Promoting the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Broward County
Membership $35
Broward Chapter site & CALENDAR
Email Us (we read it and respond to it)
Plant List (Inst. for Regional Conservation)
The Broward Chapter on Facebook
October Events
Observing Florida Native Plant Month
Feature Article: "Hole-in-the-Donut"
A Milkweed for South Florida
FNPS President Elect

October Events

Wednesday, Oct 7, 6:30 pm
3650 NE 12th Avenue, Oakland Park, FL 33334

City of Oakland Park Presents Proclamation
   Please join us in the City Chambers to receive Oakland Park's proclamation for Florida Native Plant Month. As far as we know Oakland Park is the first Broward city to join this public awareness effort to protect and grow native plants. Last month Broward County made the proclamation county-wide and just last week governor Rick Scott proclaimed Florida Native Plant Month statewide. All communities are welcome to make October a special time for native plants and native plant efforts.

Wednesday, Oct 14, 7 pm
Secret Woods, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312

How to Design a Wetlands to Clean Water
  Mike Rawls, landscape architect for Palm Beach County Water Utilities, designed and manages the Green Cay and Wakodahatchee Wetlands. He will speak about the development and management of these wetlands including establishing and maintaining the native plants on those sites. Followup to this talk will be a tour of Green Cay on Saturday, October 17.

Saturday, Oct 17, 9 am
12800 Hagen Ranch Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33437

Tour a Beautiful (and functional) Urban Wetlands Abundant with Wildlife
  This tour is a followup to Mike Rawls' prior talk (above). As designer and continuing landscape advisor of Green Cay and Wakodahatchee Wetlands for Palm Beach County, he will give a 30-minute summary of the Cay and then a tour to see the native plants and wildlife there. This a longer-than-usual boardwalk with more-than-usual plant and wildlife viewing opportunities. You will be heartened to see how nature has taken hold here and created a wonderful rebirth of local wetlands. It's a perfect example for Florida Native Plant Month to show how sustainable water management utilizes the cleaning capacity of a natural area in an urban setting.

Observing Native Plant Month

(download the Broward Chapter poster 3MB)
By Richard Brownscombe

Celebrating Plants and Nature
Polygala setacea
Coastalplain Milkwort
Alan Cressler

  The native plants of Broward County are the local legacy of 3.8 billion years of evolution and about 6,000 years of migration, adaption, and evolution on this most-southern peninsula, just below the North American temperate zone. Over 700 species still exist within the County. Our unique subtropical setting shares about half the native species of Bahama, Cuba, and other West Indian islands to the south. From the north we share many more species, connected by land to the continental East Coast. Six millennia is enough time for entirely unique species to evolve as endemic native species. About a dozen species in Broward County are unique to South Florida, meaning they are native nowhere else on earth.

Liatris chapmanii
Chapman's Gayfeather
  We celebrate this variety of plants. There are over 20 species of native orchid, about 30 ferns, 15 morning-glories or morning-glory-like plants, primitive spike mosses and cycad, several hibiscus, liatris, numerous asters, on and on. There are plants to delight everyone. We all would do well to show their photographs and grow them so the public can see and appreciate this living gift, the natural history of Broward County.
Calopogon tuberous
Tuberous Grasspink
Alan Cressler

  But of course, it is not plant-mania (a perfectly acceptable state of mind) alone, but the symphony of plants with creatures that we celebrate. Pollinators by the hundred, butterflies and birds, and every wild thing from microbes to alligators are using and being used by plants.

  Lastly, nature cleans water and air, creates oxygen, recycles carbon, and does all this without harm, but only benefit to the environment. All this macro and micro chemistry, structural physics, materials science, and biology is what we need to know to develop sustainable living. This last gift (the gift we so urgently need to turn the corner on climate change and care of the earth) is in all the natural places around us waiting to be observed and discovered. Sustainability does come with a set of instructions and a working example. Many solutions are in these natural processes, ready for us to learn and imitate. (Visit for videos and more information about sustainable city design.)


By Richard Brownscombe

Walking with Botanists

Less than two weeks ago the Broward Chapter joined the Dade Chapter on a drive and walk into the Everglades with Steve Woodmansee. He is past president of the Florida Native Plant Society and a long-time botanist. Steve, along with George Gann and Keith Bradley, created the best inventory of native plants ever recorded for South Florida. They completed that work and published, Rare Plants of South Florida, (sited below) in 2002. George Gann and others have been improving and updating this online inventory since. You can access this work of over 1,300 native species online at the Institute for Regional Conservation (, or more specifically, It is a privilege on these walks to learn from those who have themselves spent a lifetime looking and learning. Not only Steve, but Chuck McCartney, Marty, Mary Rose, Mariana and many others (who I insult by omission) know most species and many other interesting facts about the plants and wildlife we encounter on these walks. The rest of us have enthusiasm and that, too, makes it all fun and worthwhile. We all have different interests: photography, learning plant names, seeing butterflies and birds, or just being outdoors in wild places.
"Rare Plants of South Florida: Their History, Conservation, and Restoration" by George D. Gann, Keith A. Bradley, and Steve W. Woodmansee

Healing in the Everglades
The Hole-in-the-Donut restoration area we visited is along the southern edge of Long Pine Key within the National Park. This 6,000-acre area was once private farmland, left fallow after the National Park Service (NPS) acquired it in the 1970s. Over time, Brazilian-pepper came to dominate. Without natural competition, invasive plants are especially quick and thorough to overtake disturbed land. In 1989 NPS took measures to remove this exotic invasive and restore the wetland. They scraped away all the soil to bedrock one section at a time as funding and resources were available. Since restoration took place over decades and in sections, we are now able to observe restoration that is relatively recent and compare it to restoration that is as old as 26 years. We visited several sites to see how nature bounces back and learn about plant succession.

Below: A Photo Walk Through the Hole-in-the-Donut
It does the heart good to see how the native plants see the scraped rock as opportunity and re-populate the Hole with a wide variety of native wetland species.
Susan Walcutt captures a wildflower at Hole-in-the-Donut.
Hyptis alata, Musky mint
Ipomoea sagittata, Everglades morningglory
Ampelopsis arborea, Peppervine
Lythrum alatum var. lanceolatum, Winged loosestrife
Pectis glaucescens, Tea-blinkum
Solidago stricta, Wand goldenrod
Conoclinium coelestinum, Blue mistflower
Sabatia stellaris, Rose-of-Plymouth
Waltheria indica, Sleepy morning
Sagittaria latifolia, Duck potato
Discussion of differences between this natural site and the adjacent restoration site.

A Milkweed for South Florida

Asclepias incarnata, Swamp Milkweed
Shirley Denton

This is from a 2011 blog post by Steve Woodmansee, regarding milkweed for butterflies in South Florida. It still has relevance, especially as FNPS and FANN (Florida Association of Native Nurseries) work on a project to collect local milkweed seed to grow and improve the supply of local milkweed to local native nurseries.

  "Although not commonly cultivated in South Florida, the native Asclepias incarnata is perhaps the best bet for us down here as A. perennis has northern leanings. Native forms of the common A. tuberosa are too difficult to grow, and do not last long in the landscape (not to mention that I have never seen monarch larva on its leaves in the wild). A. incarnata is large, with good fleshy leaves. Its one drawback is that it needs its feet wet, so would be good for a rain garden or a water feature."
The Broward Chapter is on Facebook. Check us out; like us; or participate in the conversation.


Catherine Bowman  

Note: The President Elect is likely to become President in June 2016 after elections at the FNPS State Conference in June 2016. President Elect is a new FNPS office.

Catherine’s love of and dedication of Florida Native Plants and Plant Communities started in childhood with a lot of time spent in the longleaf pine flatwoods and salt marshes along the Destin shoreline of Choctawhatchee Bay.    Later her family moved to several acres in of those great-smelling longleaf pine – turkey oak sandhills, with pungent wild rosemary and sundial lupines, along Cinco Bayou in Ft. Walton Beach.  

Catherine and her family would acquire annual permits to harvest blueberries on the vast Eglin Air Force Base property; then, they would spend the rest of an afternoon exploring the pitcher plant bogs and floating down small, clear tie-tie-edged streams. 

The feel, smell and images of the special plant communities of her childhood followed her throughout life and she took her own young family to live in and explore the beauties of Arkansas and, then, to return to the east central part of Florida where they took every opportunity to explore the salt marshes, forests, and swamps around Orlando, Titusville and Merritt Island.  
Catherine studied plants in school and graduated from UCF in the last group of Botany majors that were produced there.  She had the good fortune to study under Drs. H. A. Miller, Hank Whittier, Jack Stout, and Walter Taylor.
During her last two years at UCF, Catherine began working part-time for the ecological consulting firm Lotspeich and Associates, whose principals were also some of the founders of the Florida Native Plant Society.  These associations resulted in a 20+ year career as a field botanist and ecological consultant, as well as an increasingly active member of the Tarflower Chapter.
Her consultant position has allowed her to continue to work in and learn about plants throughout her life in Florida and has complemented her membership, participation and leadership in the Tarflower Chapter.  Catherine served as Tarflower president from 2006 until 2013, receiving an FNPS Mentor Award in 2014.  
Also in 2014, Catherine started her own firm, Bowman and Blair Ecology and Design, Inc.,
 She remains actively involved with the Tarflower chapter and she is currently the chapter’s Vice President of Programs and the chapter liaison to Mead Botanical Gardens in Winter Park.  Under Catherine’s guidance, the chapter’s partnership with Mead Garden has expanded in scope and participation.  A major element of this relationship is the organization of Tarflower’s first large, chapter-hosted, annual  event,    the Backyard Biodiversity Day  - -Which is held each October.
Catherine serves as Event Coordinator.   This event offers an opportunity for the public to speak with and learn from exhibitors such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Florida Wildflower Foundation, and Orange County Environmental Protection Division.   
This has become a popular event and includes a large native plant sale, public outreach and education with guided hikes, workshops and speakers.  Live music and food truck add to a festive environment.  
This association with Mead Botanical Garden also offered an opportunity to begin establishing appropriate native plant collections in the historic longleaf pine-turkey oak community where large longleaf pine and sand live oaks remain - - often with the assistance college student volunteers who she is mentoring.
There is much to be done in furthering the appreciation and protection of native plants and the rapidly vanishing native plant communities.  One of Catherine’s work projects is a future landfill expansion site where the Tarflower Chapter and dedicated volunteers have been working with the rare plant propagation team at Bok Tower Gardens to salvage common and listed plants for propagation and reintroduction into public lands that are being restored.  On some plant salvage days, Catherine takes her 5-year old granddaughter to this place that she refers to as “the secret forest” to play in the yellow sand, surrounded by turkey oaks, sand live oaks, lichens, gopher tortoise burrows, green eyes and lupines.  
Many describe Catherine as the person who transformed the Tarflower chapter into the successful, energetic, community outreach chapter that it is today.  
Her leadership and organizational skills are what we need in our next Society leader.
Catherine says that this is a critical time for the Society to continue to grow, encourage new ideas, new technology and do more to reach out to those who will follow what we have started.   
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 © 2015 Broward Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, All rights reserved.

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