April eNews for Broward Native Plants
View this email in your browser
Background: American Eel-grass or Tape-grass, Vallisneria americana

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

April Events

Saturday, Apr. 9, 11 am - noon
Main Library, 100 S. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL  33301

"Broward's Beautiful Wildflowers"
Richard Brownscombe, Chapter President, is speaking at the Broward Main Library on the 6th Floor in the Bienes Museum Room.

Wednesday, Apr. 13, 7 pm
Secret Woods, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312

"100 Years of Broward Orchids"
Chuck McCartney is a former editor of the American Orchid Society Bulletin, the predecessor of Orchids magazine. He has been a resident of Hollywood in southern Broward since 1976. He has been a member of the Florida Native Plant Society for more than a quarter of a century and received the society’s Green Palmetto Award for education in 2002. He retired in 2009 after nearly 19 years as a copy editor with the Miami Herald. The current issue of the FNPS quarterly journal, Palmetto (a benefit of FNPS membership), features his article, "Across the Florida Straits: Observations on Plants in Cuba."
We eagerly anticipate Chuck McCartney's delightful narrative and photos featuring the orchids of Broward County. Please join us.
Photo: Chuck McCartney

Saturday, Apr. 16, 9 am - 1 pm
Secret Woods, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312

Secret Woods Plant Sale
The Broward Chapter, Friends of the Secret Woods, and several Broward & Palm Beach nurseries come together with the best of local cultivated native plants. It's a chance to see, ask, learn, and find plants for your garden or balcony that you may not encounter anywhere else.

Saturday, Apr. 30, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Walking Jonathan Dickinson with Chuck McCartney
16450 SE Federal Hwy, Hobe Sound, FL 33455

Jonathan Dickinson is one of the most fascinating natural areas in all of South Florida. You'll gain a new appreciation of our wildflowers here. Jonathan Dickinson is a rare opportunity to see the Southeast coastal zone as it was before so much of it was lost to our coastal cities.

Our leader is Chuck McCartney (see his short bio above). In addition to his orchid expertise, he is also a great native plant generalist with an abundance of knowledge, including the flowering species in Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Although the drive takes about 1-1/2 hours from downtown Ft. Lauderdale via the Turnpike, it is worth it. Add about 10 minutes to go via Highway 95. If you allow 2 hours, you can relax, enjoy it, and arrive a bit early. You can discuss self-arranged carpooling at Chuck McCartney's April 13 presentation at the Secret Woods Nature Center, if you like. Dade Chapter folks are invited enthusiatically and need to add the extra travel time.

There is parking next to the pay booth (park entrance fee is $4 or $6, see details below). We will meet at 9:30. Being there on time will ensure that you know which interior parking lot and trail Chuck has chosen. If you are late, ask the gate staff where the Native Plant Society folks are. Richard's cell is 954-661-6289 (if it works in the park).

We will see spring wildflowers. In the pine flatwoods there, we might be able to catch two Calopogon species (tuberosus and pallidus) and Pogonia ophioglossoides.

BRING A BAG LUNCH, so we can enjoy and relax after the walk (of course, lunch is optional). Chuck will supply his traditional "cheap cookies".

State Park Fee: $6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle, $4.00 Single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle, $2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass. See you there!
photo above: Florida Feathershank, Schoenocaulon dubious, J. Dickinson SP, R. Brownscombe

Calendar at
Should the Chapter Do More?

Yes: 1) better conservation work, 2) invasive removal, 3) better help with landscaping.

We need three of you to help us.

Most people would probably like to see the Broward Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society do more to protect the native species in Broward County. The Chapter Board is keenly aware of the need to save the critically imperiled species in our County. We understand that saving extant species depends on what we do, or fail to do, within the next five years.

The reality is that the Board is our volunteer team. This team works hard to produce an annual public education program that includes: ten monthly speakers, ten field trips, a half dozen outreach events, two or three plant sales, the newsletter, paperwork and payments, database, email list, etc. There are too few of us to do much more. To expand what we do, we need a few more willing volunteers.

The Board recently approved $1,000 in grants to support of a start-up Friends of Broward Natural Areas group. This group is focused on the greatest threat to imperiled species — invasive plants in Broward natural areas. We have no designated leadership or volunteer for this crucial conservation work.

Conservation Chair. This volunteer position would look after the natural areas in Broward County, working with County staff and city personnel. This dedicated volunteer would support the work of the Friends of Broward Natural Areas group.

eNews Editor. This volunteer would prepare the ten monthly newsletters to help relieve the Chapter President and bring some fresh perspectives to the articles published.

Store Manager. We have an online store and at least two annual plant sales. We have the ability to accept payment from credit cards. We need someone dedicated to providing what the public needs (especially for landscaping) and making purchases and membership renewal easy both online and at sale events. The Chapter accesses sales transactions through

Our volunteers take ownership of their task. You, the volunteer, determine when and what you do. The conservation mission, as interpreted by the Board, provides the guidance and control of Chapter work. Our volunteers care about native plants and their conservation. The Board team is supportive and a pleasant group to work with. Please join us, if you can help. Email or call 954-661-6289 or talk with a Board member at a Chapter meeting.

Aquatic Native Plants

Big Floatingheart, Nymphoides aquatica
Crested Floatingheart, Nymphoides cristata, is an invasive species native to Asia. The "crest", a ruffle down the midline of each flower pedal, distinguishes that invasive plant from our South Florida native, Nymphoides aquatica. Big Floatingheart pads are usually smaller than American Water Lily pads. We commonly see Big Floatinghearts on swamp walks and if lucky, their white flowers sticking above the leaf and water. They can have smaller leaves below the surface and can survive completely submerged. They are a common aquarium plant, called Banana Plant because of their fat, banana-like roots. In low-light aquariums they tend to stay small and may not create pads and flowers.

Water-lettuce, Pistia stratiotes
You might be surprised to see invasive Water-lettuce among our aquatic native plants. Yes, it does displace native species, choke waterways, and require great cost to control. It should not be introduced anywhere. It is a FLEPPC Category I invasive species. Nevertheless, the Institute for Regional Conservation believes that it is a native species, "Previously reported as a non-native weed in Florida, we now believe that this species is a native component of our flora. We are now editing the site accounts in the database to reflect this change." There are a number of other native species that are a problem to people. Some irritate our skin (Poison Ivy and Poisonwood), stick in our socks (Sandspur), displace other native species (Nickerbean and Cattail) and spoil pastureland (thistles). Some plants become pests when land is disturbed or fertilizer leaches into water. We change the environment quickly and upset a natural homeostasis. Not all native plants serve our human needs or our aesthetic. We are only beginning to understand the extraordinarily complex interrelationships of plants, wildlife, the abiotic environment, and ourselves. Pistia stratiotes, has been used as an aquarium plant and landscaping pond plant, but there is risk of accidental escape such as during a hurricane.

Carolina Mosquito Fern, Azolla carolinians
is an aquatic floating fern that reproduces by spores. It is common in aquariums, water bowls, and ponds. Azolla grows aggressively in nutrient-rich water, but does well in nutrient-poor water. Pond fish may feed on it; koi are said to consume all of it. Its texture, leaf-pattern, rust-red or green color, and easy nature appeal to most of us. Wunderlin uses the synonym, Azolla filiculoides, for this native species and the common names, American Waterfern and Pacific Mosquitofern. As usual, we take the preferences of our South Florida experts at the Institute for Regional Conservation. There is apparently a non-native, Azolla pinnate, that in photographs looks sufficiently different (triangular and feathered) to distinguish it from the native species.

American Eel-grass or Tape-grass, Vallisneria americana
American eel-grass is a submerged aquatic herb, a widespread native species in North America. It has runners, long tape-like leaves, male and female flowers, and a seed pod or seeded fruit. The very small flowers emerge at the surface where free-floating stamens gather by surface tension around the female flower. This flower photo by Kevin C. Nixon at Cornell shows, "Female flower surrounded by floating male flowers, each with a single erect stamen; anthers mostly dehisced [split open], showing pollen masses." Each tiny flower is atop a long spiral stalk reaching to the surface. In the confines and low light of an aquarium, the plant may be significantly smaller. The story of aquarium Vallisneria species and varieties is beyond our purview. Waterfowl, fish, shrimp, snails, and manatees feed upon eel-grass and its starchy tubers.

American White Waterlily, Nymphaea odorata
This popular, beautiful, and sweetly-fragrant aquatic wildflower does well in high nutrient, rich organic soils in water gardens, ponds and lake edges one to six feet deep. Photo by Mary Keim on
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.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp