March 18th – Plant Biologists at Pinecrest Gardens

Please plan to attend the Plant Biologists of South Florida annual meeting to meet with others who love and work with plants, 9:30 am, Saturday, March 18, 2017 at beautiful Pinecrest Gardens, 11000 South Red Road (SW 57th Ave.), Pinecrest, FL 33156 (305)669-6990.

This is an informal meeting in which all kinds of botanists share their work with others, and also come to meet folks from other parts of South Florida with similar interests.  Our host for this venue is Harvey Bernstein, who recently returned to the Miami area to take the position as head of Horticulture.

Coffee and morning snacks will be available at 9:30 am in the meeting room on the left as you enter Pinecrest Gardens.  Presentations will begin at 10:00 am, and we invite you to give a short talk (12 minutes, with a few for questions – total of 15 minutes) on your work.  We will break for lunch at 12:30 pm, and reconvene at 2 pm for more talks – the meeting will last until 4:00 pm, depending on the number of presentations.

PBSF has no dues and the meetings have no registration fees, but everyone attending will have to pay the $5 admission to the gardens. They are letting us use the meeting space free, but have asked that we all pay this small amount to gain admission to the grounds and everything the garden offers. Participants should bring their lunches, and plan to picnic in the garden grounds or meeting room; there are also food items for purchase in the garden (cheeseburgers, etc.).

If you would like to give a presentation, please send your TITLE (only, abstracts neither required nor published) along with your name and affiliation to info@pbsf.org  Presentation titles on the subject of South Florida plants and plant subjects by Plant Biologists of South Florida will be accepted from scientists, students, and others who love plants on a first-come, first-serve basis until we reach capacity.

Also, if you are not already officially a member, please register as a member of the organization at pbsf.org

We look forward to seeing you in one month at this beautiful Miami area location! There should be plenty of close parking for those who arrive before the meeting begins; the lot fills up for birthday parties and other weekend celebrations, but the shady lot is quite large.

DOT plant “diversity”

Capparis cynophallophora

Jamaica caper plants on the south side of I-595 and north side of State Road 84 in Davie, FL, between Hiatus Road and Nob Hill Road.

Promoting their professional qualifications for the job, Florida DOT design consultants talked about “development of native landscapes” in their projects.

So here is what we got in the $1.8 billion I-595 improvement in Broward County—a solid monoculture of hundreds of plants of the same species, Capparis cynophallophora, Jamaica caper, pruned square as board.

Go down the highway a few hundred feet and you’ll find a different native shrub species, planted in mass, similarly squared off on top and both sides.

Yessiree, they are “native plants.” But that doesn’t make it a “native landscape.”

Specifications for the I-595 Corridor Roadway Improvements Project included,  “low-maintenance, native or naturalized plants well suited to the microclimate where they are installed.”

Diversity of plant species was defined in the final technical requirements as at least 3 unique species of large trees, 2 of small trees, 2 palms, and 5 shrubs. No way is that diversity.

Identity of Ficus microcarpa ‘Green Island’

You see this plant in median strips and next to sidewalks throughout urban South Florida.  Unlike older forms of Ficus microcarpa L.f. that are pruned to tall hedges, with their thin, distinctively acuminate leaves often defoliated by whitefly, ‘Green Island’ grows only to about 1 m tall.

The thick, almost succulent, shiny leaves of ‘Green Island’ are at best acute or even obtuse and unaffected by whitefly.  Despite its monocultural use ‘Green Island’ is so  far indestructible.

Most botanists and horticulturists who I’ve talked to identify ‘Green Island’ as Ficus microcarpa but that’s way outside my species concept. Some expert sources may have doubts as well, or have tried to put other names on ‘Green Island.’  FLEPPC says Ficus microcarpa subsp. fuyuensis is sold as ‘Green Island Ficus’
http://www.fleppc.org/list/2015FLEPPCLIST-LARGEFORMAT-FINAL.pdf

Here you can see ‘Green Island’ in Coral Springs, Florida; below is a hedge of the older Ficus microcarpa in Miami:

Ficus_macrocarpa_P1060442

What is this ‘Green Island’ in Coral Springs, FL? It is a Ficus for sure.

Ficus_microcarpa_P1180982

This is Ficus microcarpa as I know it in Miami.