March 31, 2018 – Plant Biologists – Key Largo

Please plan to attend the Plant Biologists of South Florida annual meeting to meet with others who love and work with plants, 10:00 am, Saturday, March 31, 2018 at Monroe County Library, 101485 Overseas Hwy., Key Largo, FL 33037.

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.

Suzanne Koptur is organizing this meeting. While details will be coming, the intention is to have a group visit to Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, after the talks and after lunch.

We invite you to give a short talk (12 minutes, with a few for questions – total of 15 minutes) on your work. 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 Presentations 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

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’

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


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


This is Ficus microcarpa as I know it in Miami.