March eNews for Broward Native Plants
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Above: This month we visit a surprisingly wild and ancient place, Fern Forest in Broward County, with Jennifer Possley, a fern expert from Fairchild Gardens.   These delights are all around us, yet unknown to most of the public. The photo above is from Matheson Hammock Park just south of the trendy bustle of Coral Gables in Dade County. 
Spelunker, Brent Aulenbach, photo: Alan Cressler

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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South Florida Ferns with Jennifer Possley
Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 Florida (W. State Rd.) 84, Dania Beach, FL 33312

Jennifer Possley, Field Biologist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens, graduted from the University of Florida, M.S., Agronomy and Kalamazoo College, B.A., Biology. She has published on a wide variety of research topics, many related to restoration efforts. Her fields of interest are:
*Mapping and monitoring the rare flora of Miami-Dade County
*Invasive plant ecology & management
*Ferns of South Florida and the Caribbean

On this very special evening Jennifer Possley pulls back the curtain on a window to nearby ferns few of us know. Enjoyable for the novice and expert, this topic encompasses the big picture of variety and diversity, "the richest of any state in the continental United States; ... only Hawaii and Puerto Rico have greater numbers of fern species," writes Gil Nelson. We also glimpse through photo-micrography into the fascinating detail of spores on their unique journey to becoming ferns.
Ms. Possley has also generously consented to take us to Fern Forest on the following Saturday to see common and rare ferns in Broward. Whether you want to learn their names or simply enjoy seeing the great visual diversity of this forest, check out the field trip details below. 
Photo: Osmunda cinnamomea, Cinnamon Fern; photographer, Alan Cressler
A Walk in Fern Forest with Jennifer Possley
SATURDAY, March 14, 10:30 am
Fern Forest Nature Center
, 201 Lyons Rd. South, Coconut Creek, FL 33063
  • Driving tip: If you approach Lyons Road westbound on W. Atlantic Blvd., you can't make a left onto Lyons, but from the right lane you can loop around to southbound Lyons; Fern Forest is just a few hundred yards south of Atlantic Blvd, a right turn and into the forest of ferns.
Fern Forest, if you haven't yet been there, is one of the real natural treasures in Broward County and very surprising given its proximity to urban density. It's a County park with free entrance and easy parking. We will meet at the trailhead on the south side of the parking lot. (If you are too late, just continue quickly on the boardwalk to the wood-beam Nature Center building and you'll likely be able to catch up with us.) Because of the extremely delicate substrate, we will need to stay on the boardwalks, but then we may venture off in search of ferns, so wear shoes for sand or a bit of mud just in case. This is easy going for almost everyone. Children are welcome. We always recommend water, sun protection, repellant, and if you like, binoculars or camera. (A monopod or selfie stick could work well here for closeups from the boardwalk.)
Photo above: Thelypteris ovata, Ovate Maiden Fern; photographer, Alan Cressler

Slog Gator Hole or Cypress Dome in Everglades Nat'l Park
SATURDAY, March 21, 8:45 am
Coe Visitor Center, Everglades Nat'l Park

40001 State Highway 9336, Homestead, FL 33034
Photo: Acoelorrhaphe wrightii, Paroutas Palm, Everglades Nat'l Park; photographer, Alan Cressler
The Dade Chapter invited the Broward Chapter to join them with Alan Scott of Everglades National Park, 8:45 to 12:30 for a hike or "slog" to a cypress dome or gator holes. Our leader will be Alan Scott, Chief of Resource Education and Interpretation for Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks.  Our final destination might be decided at the last minute based on the weather and the group, but it’s sure to be an interesting walk as we go off-trail and into the prairie.  In the dry season, chances are we will not be slogging in much water, but be prepared to walk in some muddy water and sharp sawgrass.
Meeting time and place: Arrive at 8:45 for a 9 a.m. departure from the Coe Visitor Center.
Directions: If you don’t know how to get there or how long it will take you, please look it up.  The address of Coe Visitor Center is 40001 State Highway 9336, Homestead, FL 33034 (but it’s a long ways past Homestead).
Difficulty: Moderate. 
Wear:  Long pants, long sleeves and a hat.  Close-toed, lace up shoes with socks are required.  No flip flops, sandals or aqua shoes. 
Also bring: Sunscreen, water to carry, lunch if you want to picnic afterward.  A walking stick (a broom handle will do) could be helpful for some since the footing might be uneven.
Park entrance fee: $10 per car (or pass). We’ll carpool in to use available passes or share fees.
Info that morning: Try Patty’s cell (305-878-5705) but reception inside the park is doubtful.

Reading Plants

Stay in the Shade; Ferns; Early Botanizing

Craig N. Huegel, author of Native Plant Landscaping for Florida Wildlife and Native Wildflowers and Other Ground Covers for Florida Landscapes, has just published another much-anticipated aid for the native gardener, Native Florida Plants for Shady Landscapes.
  • "Shaded areas in gardens can be just as appealing as a sunny rose garden. Hegel takes the mystery out of how to use a palette of shade-tolerant Florida native plants to transform dim areas into a beautiful oasis. Follow his expert advice and you'll have it made in the shade." -- Roger Hammer

Gil Nelson, author of The Trees of Florida, The Shrubs and Woody Vines of Florida, and Exploring Wild Florida, wrote another book particularly relevant to this month's topic, The Ferns of Florida: A Reference and Field Guide.
  • An identification book for the native ferns of Florida.This field guide, the first in 25 years to treat this amazing variety of ferns, catalogs and illustrates all of Florida's native and naturalized fern species. Color plates feature more than 200 images, some of which include rare species never before illustrated in color. Rare and hard-to-find species such as some of our spleenworts and filmy ferns are included, as well as common species like the cinnamon fern pictured on the front cover.

Gail Fishman, author of Journeys Through Paradise: Pioneering Naturalists in the Southeast, researched those interesting early botanists whose names echo in our plant names. Now we can enjoy these absorbing journeys on horseback, boat and foot from the comfort of an armchair.
  • "Fishman modernizes the men and their explorations by retracing the terrain that they explored, wrote about, drew and painted. The result is an intriguing and appealing lesson in biographical and scientific history and a literary reading experience that will appeal to a wide audience." -- William W. Rogers, professor of history emeritus, Florida State University
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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