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FNPS Mission: To preserve, conserve, and restore native plants and native plant communities.
Learn more by visiting the FNPS website • Check our calendar for upcoming events sponsored by the Pinellas, Nature Coast, and Suncoast Chapters • Not a member yet? Join today!

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Event Updates

Please see details for these events in the newsletter below and check our Facebook Group and website calendar for the most up-to-date information.
  • Wednesday, 11/4 - Zoom Membership Meeting & Presentation
  • Saturday, 11/21 - Moccasin Lake Butterfly Garden Volunteer Opportunity
Wed., November 4th, 6:30 pm
Zoom Video Meeting and Presentation

Florida Scrub and Rosemary Bald
The Heart of the Gladys Douglas Property

Valerie C. Anderson, Florida Native Plant Society
Director of Communications and Programming
6:30 - 6:35 Announcements and Voting for 2021 Board of Directors
6:35 - Presentation and Q & A

Local citizens and organizations have signed petitions, waved signs and appealed to elected officials since September in an effort to stop development of the Gladys Douglas property (GDP) in north Pinellas County. But what makes this 44 acre property worth saving? What is Scrub and Rosemary Bald, and why is it special? This 30 minute presentation will answer those questions.

Learn about the plants and animals that inhabit rosemary balds and scrubs, urban/suburban scrub management and the threats to this rare and quickly vanishing ecosystem.

Scrub is a globally imperiled (G2/S2) ecosystem with a wealth of plants and animals that are found only in Florida. Further, scrub is home to many species that are found in no other type of ecosystem in the world. Scrub is centered in Florida but extends westward to Alabama, Mississippi and north into southeastern Georgia.

Scrubs are threatened for several reasons:

1. Scrubs are excellent for human housing and commercial development - they are not flood prone and they're an excellent substrate for road beds and concrete pads.
2. The white scrub Sand is a finite resource in high demand. Scrub habitats such as rosemary scrub and coastal scrub have deep, rapidly-draining sandy soils. For more information, you may wish to listen to Planet Money EP 853: Peak Sand.
3. Federal wetlands protection has the unintended consequence of incentivizing development on uplands.
4. Coastal scrubs are considered to be very valuable for residential and commercial development and are also threatened by sea level rise.

The GDP is the last remaining rosemary bald in Pinellas County. Join us to learn why saving this land from development is so important. Presentation will focus on scrub habitat and not the details of the GDP sale.

Submit your questions about scrub habitat via Zoom chat or in advance to

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 840 1580 4608
Passcode: 720632

One tap mobile
+19292056099,,84015804608#,,,,,,0#,,720632# US (New York) 

Saturday, Nov. 21st, 8:00 am - 10:00 am

Butterfly Garden Maintenance

Landscape designer Nicole Jones will be leading a team of volunteers in maintaining the Butterfly Garden at Moccasin Lake. This is a great opportunity to learn more about which plants attract and host our local butterflies, what conditions they grow in and how to prune them.

Please bring hand tools, work gloves and drinking water. The chapter will provide trash bags. with your cellphone number for last minute changes.

Enjoy these recent photos from the butterfly garden.

Native Shrubs with Colorful Fall Berries

by Debora Moran
After a harsh Florida summer, my garden (and the gardener) can look a little tired. To perk things up a bit, I have begun planting native shrubs that produce fall berries. The berries add autumn color and interest and provide a valuable food source for visiting birds. There are many outstanding native shrubs to consider. Here are just a few of my favorites.

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
American beautyberry meets my most important requirement: it is easy to grow. It does well in sun to partial shade, tolerates various types of soil, and has no serious pest or disease problems. It has arching branches and an open, loosely-rounded growth habit. At maturity, it can reach three to eight feet tall with an equal spread. American beautyberry is a deciduous plant with serrated, light green leaves. In summer, small, lavender-pink flowers form in the leaf axils (the angles where the leaves attach onto the stems) and provide a nectar source for butterflies and bees. The flowers are followed by tight clusters of shiny, magenta berries. If not devoured by birds, the fruits can remain on the plant after the leaves drop, extending the show. 

Shiny-Leaf Coffee (Psychotria nervosa)
As its name implies, shiny-leaf coffee (also called wild coffee) is a compact, evergreen shrub with shiny, dark green leaves. Although in the same family as the plant that produces our morning java, it is a different species, and its berries do not contain caffeine. This low maintenance plant prefers well-drained soil in partial or full shade. It has a dense, rounded shape, growing about two to eight feet tall and up to five feet wide. Shiny coffee is attractive in every season with deep veins giving each leaf a textured appearance that reminds me of quilting. Small, greenish white flowers appear in spring or summer and may continue throughout the year, attracting a variety of pollinators. Birds enjoy the dark red berries that follow. It does well as a specimen plant and can also be grouped to form an attractive hedge. 

Rouge Plant (Rivina humilis)
While technically a long-lived perennial, rouge plant functions like a small shrub in my garden, growing to a tidy mound about three to four feet tall and equally wide. It has neat evergreen foliage and produces tiny white or light pink flowers all season, which are visited by various pollinators. The flowers are followed by clusters of small red berries that are quickly consumed by birds. In the past, the berries have been used to make red dye and rouge, which explains the common name. Rouge plant grows well in part sun or shade and is drought tolerant, making it a perfect solution for the dappled shade under trees. And it requires little maintenance. When the plant becomes a bit leggy, I simply give it a haircut, and it responds with fresh new foliage.

Simpson’s Stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans)
While its natural range is a bit south and east of our area, Simpson’s stopper adapts well to Pinellas County gardens. This shrub or small tree has bright green, leathery leaves and an upright, rounded shape, growing from three to 20 or more feet tall. When I first saw the plant, I was attracted to its unusual flowers. With four white petals and multiple long white stamens, each flower resembles a miniature starburst. The flowers also attract pollinators and are followed by green fruits that ripen to an orangey-red and provide food for many species of birds. Simpson’s stopper does best in sun or part sun and moist, well-drained soil. It is named for Charles Torrey Simpson, an American botanist and naturalist who was known for his conservation efforts in Florida. Curiously, the name “stopper” alludes to the plant’s historical use as a treatment for diarrhea.

Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)
Wax myrtle (also called southern bayberry) is a large shrub or small tree with evergreen, aromatic foliage. It is tough and easy to grow, tolerating full sun or light shade and various soil conditions, including both moist and dry sites. It makes an excellent background plant or hedge, growing 15 to 25 feet tall and 20 or more feet wide, but it can be kept smaller and responds well to pruning. Most plant species have both male and female flowers or flower parts on the same plant. However, wax myrtle is dioecious, meaning there are separate male and female plants. Both males and females produce inconspicuous light green flowers. Then, if a male wax myrtle is growing nearby, female plants will produce small, waxy, blue-gray berries. The berries are prized by birds, and the plant’s multi-stemmed, open growth habit also provides good wildlife cover. And here’s a bit of trivia about another Florida native. Local author, Myrtle Scharrer Betz, who was born in 1895 and grew up on Caladesi Island, wrote a popular book about her experiences, Yesteryear I Lived in Paradise: The Story of Caladesi Island. In the book, Myrtle explains she was named for the wax myrtle berries her family harvested and used to make bayberry candles.

There are many beautiful and versatile Florida native shrubs that produce colorful berries. I encourage you to try some of them in your own garden. You’ll enjoy the burst of fall color, and your local birds will appreciate the service. 

Debora Moran has a Bachelor of Technology in Plant Science from the State University of New York at Cobleskill and was a Senior Extension Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Schenectady County, New York. She has written for Fine Gardening magazine and Green Scene, the journal of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. 

Conservation Corner

This feature of our monthly newsletter will highlight local conservation issues and opportunities for our members to influence decision making by our local, state and federal governments. If you have issues you would like the Conservation committee to explore, email them to

By Jane Graham, Conservation Committee Chair
Developer Pulte Homes Backs out of Douglas Estate Deal, But What’s Next for this Precious Native Habitat? Let’s Keep the Pressure on the City and County
Conservation fans will be relieved to hear that developer Pulte Homes backed out of their contract to develop the Gladys Douglas Preserve, forty-four acres of precious Pinellas County habitat. This is a short term success for conservation, however, we must continue to keep close watch on the City of Dunedin and Pinellas County to secure the appropriate conservation and preservation of our native plant communities on these lands.
The City of Dunedin and Pinellas County have until January 18, 2021 to make an offer on the property. The attorney representing the Douglas Estate has made it known that after this time, he is obligated to find another willing buyer. So far, Dunedin has dedicated $2 million to the preserve, but this is still well under the appraisals of the land and more funding is needed. Our Chapter is coordinating with Sierra Club Suncoast Chapter to advocate to local decision-makers in the City and County to preserve and fund this treasured property. We are also exploring other sources of funding.
Your voice is important! Write your County Commissioners to tell them you want them to #SaveTheGDP (Gladys Douglas Preserve/Park/Property) AND increase the County's land conservation budget.
For more information, check out this great editorial in the Tampa Bay Times:
Also see this article from the Tampa Bay Times:

Conservation Committee Blooming Once Again

In a call to find conservation advocates in our ranks to help support efforts to preserve the Gladys Douglas Preserve, we recently announced that the Conservation Committee of our chapter is blooming once again. As conservation issues pop up like the Douglas Estate, our Board considers it critical to hear the voice of our members to discuss strategy and formulate policies moving forward. We are meeting next Monday, November 2, 2020 by Zoom. If you haven’t contacted us already and are interested, please email Jane Graham at for more information.

Thank You To Our Business Members

Sunshine City Law - New!

Wisehands - New!

Bartlett Law Offices

City of St. Pete Beach

Vision Ace Hardware - Oldsmar

Hort & Soul Landscape Design

Rebecca Wellborn, Realtor, Coastal Properties Group

Wilcox Nursery & Landscape

Pinellas Chapter Florida Native Plant Society
2020 Officers, Directors and Committee Chairs

President - Michael Coleman
Vice President - Stefan Babjack
Secretary - Susan Taylor
Treasurer - Rebecca Wellborn
Past President - Jan Allyn
Director - Belinda Lambert
Director / Membership Chair - Bonnie Carine
Director / Programs Chair - Pam Schrader
Director / Events & Volunteer Chair - Nicole Jones
Director / Communications Chair - Robin Peacock

Florida Native Plant Society Mission

The Mission of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida.

The Society fulfills this mission through:
  • Support for conservation land acquisition
  • Land management that enhances habitat suitability for native plants
  • Education
  • Public policies that protect our native flora, especially rare species
  • Research on native plant species
  • Encouragement of local landscaping practices and policies that preserve Florida's native plant heritage
Join/Renew Membership
Copyright © 2020 Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, All rights reserved.

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