February eNews for Broward Native Plants
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Yamato Scrub Natural Area
This is the look of scrub, a habitat that covered thousands of acres until the rapid building of cities after World War II. This rare remaining 217-acre site includes interesting and imperiled species. Join us at the site this Saturday with Jimmy Lange (details below).

Florida Native Plant Society

Promoting the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Broward County
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February Events

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 7 pm
Secret Woods, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312

Broward - 100 Years of Change
Presented by Diana Guidry
Diana Guidry has worked tirelessly towards supporting wildlife and the environment for over 20 years, with Broward County’s NatureScape Broward program, the Extension Education Division, and Flamingo Gardens Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary.  

As the NatureScape Broward Outreach Coordinator, Diana organizes programs, trainings, and community projects that support sustainable landscapes and wildlife habitat. As a National Wildlife Federation Host, she has graduated 20 classes of Habitat Stewards and serves as the team leader for Broward County’s Community Wildlife Habitat.  

She plays a major organizational role in the county’s annual Water Matters Day, overseeing the tree and plant giveaway, where 38,500 native trees and plants have been given out to residents over the past twelve years.  Diana is also responsible for the annual NatureScape Emerald Awards program, which recognizes outstanding landscapes and environmental achievements.

She is uniquely positioned to have an interesting perspective of the changes in nature in our County and insight into achievable priorities for the future.

Saturday, Feb. 13, 9 am

Exploring Yamato Scrub with Jimmy Lange

701 Clint Moore Rd, Boca Raton, FL 33487
The natural area is the southernmost large scrub on the southeastern coast of Florida. It contains five native Florida ecosystems: scrub, scrubby flatwoods, mesic flatwoods, mesic hammock, and basin marsh. The County and the City of Boca Raton jointly own a 10-acre tract that was purchased in 1994. Both contributed funds for the acquisition of the other tract in 1997. State Preservation 2000 matching funds were provided for that acquisition through the Conservation and Recreation Lands Program. The larger tract is owned by the State of Florida and leased to the County for management. The County manages the natural area with the assistance of the City of Boca Raton. The Institute for Regional conservation lists about 240 native species on this site, more than twice the number on smaller sites south.

IRC Bio: Though cultivated in Michigan, Jimmy has been naturalized here in Florida for over 20 years and is considered “Florida friendly”.  Graduating with honors from the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science, Jimmy began his research career studying under the guidance of graduate mentor Jenny Schafer in the Mack Ecosystem Ecology Lab.  He went on to join the Plant Ecology Lab at Archbold Biological Station where he assisted on a number of research projects including demography of several rare plant populations, effects of fire frequency on scrub habitat, experimental restoration of scrub habitat on reclaimed pasture, and plant community structure and composition of differing scrub management regimes.  He then began work at the Michigan Tech Research Institute.  Here he conducted ground-truthing surveys of Great Lakes wetland plant communities and worked to generate a map of both the current and possible future extent under modeled hydrologic scenarios of the invasive Phragmites australis­.   Jimmy is currently completing a master’s degree at Florida Atlantic University where he has been studying combined legacy impacts of invasive species Melaleuca quinquenervia and management practices on plant communities in the northern Everglades under Dr. Brian Benscoter.  Jimmy joined IRC in January 2014.  He is Field Botanist with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. He is a dedicated south Florida naturalist with years of experience and a passion for botany who has worked in a number of ecosystems and will, if pressed, also throw down on a piano.
Calendar at
Broward's Scrub Sites and Natural Areas
by Richard Brownscombe


Conserving Broward's Natural Areas is important because they are few and small. Last month's field trip to the Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub and Highlands Scrub alarmed me. I was awakened to the importance of these twelve remaining botanical gems in Broward: the designated County Natural Areas and their vulnerability. They range in size from 7 acres to 101 acres, but most are a few tens of acres, a large lot surrounded by homes and commerce.

They are gems because they are the only remaining lots representing habitats that existed here historically. Our cities have grown in just 70 years to cover almost everything that was coastal habitat. The map below shows in color codes, the only protected or partly-protected land -- just bits and pieces. (Color code: blue=state, yellow=county, red=city, pink=private)

This eastern third of Broward County that is now heavily populated was once the most geographically diverse part of the County. It had dry and wet habitats, salt and fresh water, sand and rock. This topographical variety created different habitats and unique niches like the exposed limestone in shade at the Fern Forest Natural Park. Inland from the beaches were old sand dunes exposed to the sun, a scrub habitat (Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub and Highlands Scrub). About 70% of Broward's native species live in this eastern third on these remaining pocket lands.

One of our local botanists remarked that scrub lands in particular are now more rare than the rainforests. We shouldn't run off to save Brazil, he said, when we haven't studied or protected the rare plant communities right here.


Before large numbers of people arrived, these niches and different habitats (over the long time of evolution) created species diversity and even unique, endemic plants. Diversity isn't just in the plants, but in unique ecosystems of microbes, insects, butterflies, birds, and wildlife that feed, breed, and live there. These plants and creatures have a very complex and fine-tuned interdependence. We know, for example, that flowers are often shaped and colored to attract certain pollinators, but a great deal more is going on and much of it has never been studied.

These natural areas are at least as interesting as a library of ancient books with a history much older than humankind. Future generations will want to know the origins of this place. The new sciences of sustainability will learn from understanding natural systems. And regardless of their benefit to us, we need to keep them as the only living examples of the life that was here. (Photo Bob Peterson, Gulf Fritillary on Feay's Palafox, Palafoxia faeyi)

It was wonderful to walk in the Crystal Lake and Highlands scrubs and visualize the land as it was for thousands of years. On the sand trail at Crystal Lake under the smell of pine I got a glimpse of the
natural history of South Florida's subtropical peninsula. We saw plants I have not seen before.

Each should be treasured as a living natural history museum and they aren't much bigger. We under-appreciate their significance. (Photo: 
Wayne Matchett, Hairy Jointweed, Polygonella ciliata)

I was alarmed because these Natural Areas are heavily infested with invasive species, to the point of choking out and preventing the growth of rare and fragile species. Even the bare sand that is essential for some wildflowers and strangely primitive plants, is choked. The base of scrub bushes are entangled with invasive species. If we don't remove them, some of the native species and interdependent wildlife that survived these 5,000 years won't survive the next 10 years. Invasive exotic species are without question their single greatest threat.

The mission of the Broward Chapter is "to conserve, preserve, and protect the native plant species of Broward County." These plants are in trouble. Given our small size and few volunteers, I don't know what we will do to actually get the invaders removed. Now that I am awakened to the problem I need to act. I promise a plan and an action. Visit at least one Broward Natural Area near your home (link above) and help us conceive the right plan of action.  (Photo: Alan Cressler, Forked Bluecurls, Trichostema dichotomum)


The Broward Chapter is on Facebook. Like us. Participate in the conversation.
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.
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