Yay! It's the COCCOLOBA JAM!
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The Coccoloba Chapter meets on the third Thursday of each month at  the
Holton Eco-Center at Unitarian Universalist Church, 13411 Shire Lane,
Fort Myers, FL 33912, which is off Daniels about halfway between Six-Mile Cypress and I-75.

Visit our Website:
Like us on Facebook: Coccoloba Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society
Inside April 2017
  • Guest Speaker 
  • Follow Coccoloba happenings on the web & Facebook
  • Your Board of Directors
  • Cape Coral Library   
  • FGCU Chapter
  • FNPS Annual Conference
  • Blue Sky Lupine
  • CoC Minutes
  • Lakes Park
  • Yard Visits
  • SCCF
  • Water Conservation
  • Yard Visits
  • Chapter Update
  • Lee County Travel Rally
  • Brazilian Pepper
  • Coccoloba Meeting Minutes
Follow Coccoloba happenings on the web, Facebook, & Twitter! 
Check out Coccoloba's website for up-to-date information on chapter events ( Like us on Facebook (type in Coccoloba Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society) and follow us on Twitter (@FNPSCoccoloba) to join the conversation!

President:  open
Vice President:  Marlene Rodak - 239.273.8945;
Treasurer:  Kara Tyler-Julian - 813.785.5730;
Secretary:  Barb Forster;
Director: Jim Rodwell - 239.565.7437;
Director Emeritus: Dick Workman
State Chapter/Council of Chapters Rep:  Ben Johnson;
Jam Newsletter Editor: Martha Grattan - 239.247.1566;
FGCU Native Plant Club Liaison: Miss Isabella Peedle 
Native Edibles Talk -- Thursday, April 20 at 7 pm
Native Edibles Field Trip to Hickey's Creek -- Saturday, April 29 at 10 am

Meeting Schedule for FGCU FNPS Chapter

Isabella Peedle and James Javaruski have been working hard to bring native plant education to the FGCU campus. The last meeting for the of the semester is April 18th, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm in BHG 109. Our intrepid students have also been hosting a table at the campus Farmers Market every other Tuesday from 11:30 to 1:00. The Farmers Market has ended for the school year. 

Blue Sky Lupine

A tall observer
Rises from the sandy soil
Beautiful in blue
                                 Dorothy Rodwell
This week’s wildflower is one of the most striking of Florida’s plant inventory. The Blue Sky Lupine, Lupinus diffusus, of the Fabaceae (bean) family is a perennial evergreen herbaceous plant.  Blue Sky has a single erect stem that can reach about two feet in height. Single elliptic leaves are arranged in alternate order on the stem.  Leaves are heavily covered in silky hairs. Dense leaves take up the lower half of the plant.

The upper half is a terminal spike that supports dozens of tiny blue colored flowers. Flower structure has the typical bean family pea shaped structure. A banner with two fused petals on top with two winged petals below that surround a keel of two smaller fused petals. Ten male stamens are fused into one and emerge from a slight tunnel directly below the banner.  Two white stripes are found at the base of the banner to attract flying pollinators. This is Sky Blue’s corolla or bloom.  Individual plants often grow in clusters providing an attractive blue hue to see. The fruit is a small pod.

Sky Blue is found through the State in sandy well drained soils.  It is very particular, however, about where it will grow no matter how much sand. Seeds are difficult to propagate.  Unfortunately, Blue Sky is also poisonous.
The specimen in the picture was found in a small population in the Koreshan State Historic Site. The population is being closely monitored by members of the Chapter.

Council of Chapters Meeting Minutes

The council meeting minutes from the March 5th online meeting have been posted to the forum and council website. You can access them here:

National Public Garden Day at Lakes Regional Park

On Friday, May 6, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (noon) Lakes Regional Park will be hosting a variety of activities in the Park’s gardens in celebration of National Public Gardens Day.

Lakes Park will be joining over 500 public gardens in the nationwide celebration. The public is urged to come and see the beauty of the gardens as well as participate in activities.

There will be tours of the Botanic Garden including the Community Garden, the Fragrance Garden, the Rose Garden, Succulent Garden and Water Garden at 8:30 and 9:30 am. Tea and cookies will be served in the Community Garden. Educational tables will have information available on various garden related topics.

The following is a schedule of educational programs and book signings

  • 8:30am Adrienne Diaz, “Grow a Ton From Your Garden”
  • 9:00am Wesley Higgins, American Orchid Society, “Phalaenopsis Culture” (book signing)
  • 10:00am Gary Murza, Southwest Florida Orchid Society, “How to Mount your Orchids”
  • 10:00am Karen Harty, “Companion Planting”
  • 11:00am Adrienne Diaz, “Wow, It’s Really Hot, What Do I Grow for the Summer”
  • 11:00am Charles Sobczak, “Meet Your Neighbors – The Amazing Flora and Fauna of SW Fl “(book signing)

Lowes will be participating and handing out free garden gloves to the first 50 people who visit their booth.

“The purpose of this event is to give the public a view of the present gardens as well as the future plans for a Children’s Garden,” said Wesley Higgins, Chairman of the Botanic Garden Committee. “It also emphasizes the importance of plants in our daily lives.”

The event is being sponsored locally by the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation, a non-profit organization that enriches the park with many projects including an expansion of the Botanic Garden at Lakes Park. The foundation’s main focus is to assist Lee County Parks & Recreation by enhancing the park’s environmental aesthetics, wildlife habitat and recreational amenities for the community to enjoy.

For event information, contact Barbara Manzo at (239) 229-0387.  For information on the Foundation, to make a donation, become a member or a volunteer visit,  For information about Lee County Parks and Recreation, visit or call  (239) 533-7275.
Lakes Regional Park is located on Gladiolus Drive just west of U.S. Route 41.
To get your FREE Parking voucher visit:

Coccoloba Chapter Member Yard Visit

One of the benefits of Coccoloba membership are site visits from chapter volunteers. Volunteers tour home landscapes and offer insight, advice and feedback. This is a great opportunity for everyone involved to learn from each other and get some great ideas for integrating native plants into your yard. 

  • The next site visit is for Kandy Love at Caloosa Bayview, on Saturday, April 8th at 10 AM
  • Then, Wendy Bates' visit at 10:00 am Saturday, April 22nd at the Oswego Bay II on Fort Myers Beach
Please contact Ben Johnson and let him know you want to attend. He will provide the addresses and information.
The SCCF April Newsletter is available!
Click this link to read all the stories!

Water Conservation is in Effect for Lee County 

Fort Myers, FL, March 16, 2017 – As seasonally dry conditions continue in Lee County, residents and visitors are urged to conserve water where they can and to limit lawn irrigation in accordance with the Lee County year-round water conservation ordinance. The ordinance must be followed, regardless of a home or business’ water source. Conserving now, during the dry season, will help protect declining groundwater levels throughout the county.

Groundwater conditions should improve with the onset of the wet season, which normally commences in June. However, the increase in usage brought about by the drier than normal conditions and the increased seasonal population makes spring a critical time to cut back any unnecessary use. While it is important to conserve year-round, reducing usage now is vital to protect the resource.

All residents are urged to abide by local ordinances that restrict lawn irrigation. Lawn irrigation can account for 50 percent of household use. While the Lee County ordinance applies to those in unincorporated Lee County, a comprehensive list of local rules can be found at

All local ordinances have provisions for enforcement of ordinance violations; they vary by community. People in unincorporated Lee County who irrigate outside the permissible days and hours can receive a warning on a first offense and fines following a warning.

Lee County is coordinating with the regional water resource authority, the South Florida Water Management District, to monitor conditions. In the event that a water shortage is declared for Lee County or other areas in Southwest Florida, the South Florida Water Management District will provide notice of any associated mandatory water use restrictions. 

The South Florida Water Management District also provides information on how residents, businesses and other water users can implement some easy steps to conserve water. Click here for 50 Ways to be Water Smart.

Chapter Update ... Koreshan and Other Projects

This month we are celebrating our one year anniversary for participating in the Koreshan Farmers Market. Boy! We have come a long way in a year!
Volunteers continue to staff the native plant sale at the Koreshan State Historic Site's Farmers Market. Through the farmers market, we have attracted new, active volunteers who are regulars on Sundays. However, if you are intrested in working the plant sale, contact Marlene at We also need volunteers to help water and monitor plants around the park. 

Business has been slower in February and March than it was in January. However, the nursery has been well-stocked with plants for all the various events we've had going on. Additionally, we added grasses and wildflowers to the Koreshan sign on the corner or 41 and Corkscrew. We will be adding more plants around the park, too, once Mother Nature starts to help us water them in. 

Once we have time, we'll add more plants to the Bonita demonstration gardens and continue working there.

Site visits are keeping us busy, too. These are fun events where groups of people tour a property and offer advice and suggestions. This is a great way to instigate discussion and learn more about plants. We are happy to provide site visits as a benefit of your membership. Ben follows up with a report.

We are delighted to have Kara talk about Native Edibles this month. She will lead us on a field trip at Hickey's Creek on Saturday, April 29th at 10 am to forage a bit. 

Our annual picnic will be on Saturday, May 27th at Koreshan State Historic Site at our nursery. We will start off with a field trip through the Audubon-owned portion of the park, where we are monitoring Curtiss' milkweed. We'll eat at about noon. Plans are also to make some insect houses. You are welcome to bring a kayak or rent them to take a paddle on your own. Stay tuned for more information. 

Finally, we are busy and still have a lot to do. So, we'll be meeting through the summer, as we have for several years now. 

Please get involved. There is something for everyone! 

This year the program is better than ever!

Listen to live music from special guest, Sheena Brook - singer/Songwriter and contestant on NBC's Season 12 of The Voice! Sheena has performed with artists such as Kristian Bush, Helen Darling, and Josh Turner, and is a featured artist at the Island Hopper Songwriter Fest.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
4-7 p.m., Lakes Regional Park
(Rain date: May 3)
Free admission, parking, prize giveaways, refreshments from Texas Tony's BBQ & more!
  • Cheer on the Hilarious Tourism Races
  • Don't miss the friendly competition between hotel and attraction race teams.
  • Wander the Carnivale-themed Travel Fair
  • Explore dozens of hospitality exhibitors in our community!
  • Meet the "Faces of Travel"

All kinds of kids stuff!

Face painters, magic, cuddly critters, Railroad Museum of South Florida miniature train rides & more.
All local residents, tourism and hospitality businesses, and their employees are invited to attend. Tourism partners, bring your staff to represent your company! Employees, bring your families to join in the fun activities! Residents, come learn more about how tourism benefits Lee County. Register to attend or sign up to be a Travel Fair exhibitor or Tourism Race team.

Deadline for prize donations: Fri., 3/31. Email Joshua Lambert for more information.

Check out our Facebook page to learn more!

Brazilian peppertree packs power to knock out antibiotic-resistant bacteria

The weed whisperer: Ethnobotanist Cassandra Quave uncovered a medicinal mechanism in berries of the Brazilian peppertree. The plant is a weedy invasive species in Florida, but valued by traditional healers in the Amazon as a treatment for infections. (Photos by Ann Bordon, Emory Photo/Video)

By Carol Clark

The red berries of the Brazilian peppertree – a weedy, invasive species common in Florida – contain an extract with the power to disarm dangerous antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria, scientists at Emory University have discovered.

The journal Scientific Reports published the finding, made in the lab of Cassandra Quave, an assistant professor in Emory’s Center for the Study of Human Health and in the School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology.

“Traditional healers in the Amazon have used the Brazilian peppertree for hundreds of years to treat infections of the skin and soft tissues,” Quave says. “We pulled apart the chemical ingredients of the berries and systematically tested them against disease-causing bacteria to uncover a medicinal mechanism of this plant.”
Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolia
The researchers showed that a refined, flavone-rich composition extracted from the berries inhibits formation of skin lesions in mice infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus auereus (MRSA). The compound works not by killing the MRSA bacteria, but by repressing a gene that allows the bacteria cells to communicate with one another. Blocking that communication prevents the cells from taking collective action, a mechanism known as quorum quenching.

“It essentially disarms the MRSA bacteria, preventing it from excreting the toxins it uses as weapons to damage tissues,” Quave says. “The body’s normal immune system then stands a better chance of healing a wound.”

The discovery may hold potential for new ways to treat and prevent antibiotic-resistant infections, a growing international problem. Antibiotic-resistant infections annually cause at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The United Nations last year called antibiotic-resistant infections a “fundamental threat” to global health and safety, citing estimates that they cause at least 700,000 deaths each year worldwide, with the potential to grow to 10 million deaths annually by 2050.

Blasting deadly bacteria with drugs designed to kill them is helping to fuel the problem of antibiotic resistance. Some of the stronger bacteria may survive these drug onslaughts and proliferate, passing on their genes to offspring and leading to the evolution of deadly “super bugs.”

In contrast, the Brazilian peppertree extract works by simply disrupting the signaling of MRSA bacteria without killing it. The researchers also found that the extract does not harm the skin tissues of mice, or the normal, healthy bacteria found on skin.

“In some cases, you need to go in heavily with antibiotics to treat a patient,” Quave says. “But instead of always setting a bomb off to kill an infection, there are situations where using an anti-virulence method may be just as effective, while also helping to restore balance to the health of a patient. More research is needed to better understand how we can best leverage anti-virulence therapeutics to improve patient outcomes.”

Quave, a leader in the field of medical ethnobotany and a member of the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center, studies how indigenous people incorporate plants in healing practices to uncover promising candidates for new drugs.

The Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia) is native to South America but thrives in subtropical climates. It is abundant in much of Florida, and has also crept into southern areas of Alabama, Georgia, Texas and California. Sometimes called the Florida holly or broad leaf peppertree, the woody plant forms dense thickets that crowd out native species.

“The Brazilian peppertree is not some exotic and rare plant found only on a remote mountaintop somewhere,” Quave says. “It’s a weed, and the bane of many a landowner in Florida.”

From an ecological standpoint, it makes sense that weeds would have interesting chemistry, Quave adds. “Persistent, weedy plants tend to have a chemical advantage in their ecosystems, which may help protect them from diseases so they can more easily spread in a new environment.”

The study's co-authors include Amelia Muhs and James Lyles (Emory Center for the Study of Human Health); Kate Nelson (Emory School of Medicine); and Corey Parlet, Jeffery Kavanaugh and Alexander Horswill (University of Iowa). The laboratory experiments were conducted in collaboration between the Quave and Horswill labs with funding from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health.

The Quave lab is now doing additional research to confirm the safest and most effective means of using the Brazilian peppertree extract. The next step would be pre-clinical trials to test its medicinal benefits. “If the pre-clinical trials are successful, we will apply for an application to pursue clinical trials, under the Food and Drug Administration’s botanical drug pathway,” Quave says.

The Brazilian peppertree finding follows another discovery made by the Quave lab in 2015: The leaves of the European chestnut tree also contain ingredients with the power to disarm staph bacteria without increasing its drug resistance.

While both the Brazilian peppertree and chestnut tree extracts disrupted the signaling needed for quorum quenching, the two extracts are made up of different chemical compounds.

“The latest classes of antibiotics introduced to the market were actually discovered between the 1950s and 1980s,” Quave says. “Scientists have just been building off the same building blocks of earlier classes and modifying them slightly to create new antibiotics. Examining the extracts of plants used by traditional healers for infections may open up discovery of new chemical scaffolds for drug design, and provide important pathways for battling antibiotic-resistance.”

Chestnut leaves yield extract that disarms deadly bacteria
Tapping traditional remedies to fight modern super bugs
A future without antibiotics?

Membership Meeting Minutes, Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Barbara Forster, Secretary
Attendance for the program and the meeting: 18

Martha Grattan introduced Katie Schulman, volunteer at Koreshan and recent FGCU Environmental Studies graduate. Katie talked about the efforts of scientists to stop the destruction of giant air plants by the “evil weevil” larvae of the Metamasius callizona beetle. She is working on obtaining a permit to locate the air plants on Koreshan property and attempt to preserve and propagate them at the nursery.

Martha called the business meeting to order and asked for the treasurer’s report. Marlene reported for Kara that there is $10,134.07 in the bank account.

Marlene then reported that this is the last meeting for Martha as president but she will continue to be the newsletter editor. We will continue without a president until further search is done and one is nominated and voted on.

Ben reported on site visits done to Graham Scott’s home and to the Lakes Library in Fort Myers for plant ID for the purpose of the library to add signage to the plantings. Ben Johnson provided the completed reports to the individuals involved. There is an upcoming site visit to the Island Park Village at 10AM March 18.

Marlene reported on Koreshan-weekly native plant sales continue to do well;  milkweed monitoring continues and new plants have been found along with new growth from existing plants.

Marlene reported no further plantings at Cutting Horse property scheduled at this time. 

Marlene and Ben reported on the FNPS conference in May 18-21 and that registration for it will open soon. 

Martha reported for Belle that the FGCU Farmer Market will continue every other week.

Ben discussed grant funding through Scott’s for Cutting Horse and for Holton Echo Preserve.

Barbara and Ana reported on the visit to Fort Myers Middle Academy that showed plantings in fairly good shape with some need for pruning. They need to add some flowering plants to bare areas and will set a workday for next week after communication with the school.

Ben reported that he has collected the volunteer hours from our chapter and submitted them for past month. He also reported on the “Passion for Public Lands: Empowering Stewardship” will be presented at the conference in May. It will present ways that individuals can improve the stewardship of lands to provide natural spaces for generations to come.

Marlene discussed having yearly picnic meeting in May at the Koreshan nursery and possibly having the activity be the making of bee boxes from the cane found on the property.

Martha referred to the newsletter for other upcoming events.

Jim Rodwell discussed a field trip to Corkscrew Sanctuary on June 10. There will be maximum of 15 people who may go and will cost $14 per person.

There being no further business, Martha asked for motion to adjourn and Graham Scott made motion, Ben Johnson seconded and motion passed unanimously.

To see the newsletter visit www.
Comments about the newsletter?  Not displaying correctly? Wrong email address?  Please let Martha Grattan (newsletter editor) know at:
Contact the board member of your choice at:
Marlene Rodak,
James Rodwell,
Kara Tyler,
Benjamin Johnson,
Isabella Peedle,
Barbara N. Forster,
Copyright © 2017 Florida Native Plant Society, Coccoloba Chapter, All rights reserved.
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P.O. Box 61432
Fort Myers, FL 33906-1432

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Florida Native Plant Society, Coccoloba Chapter · P.O. Box 61432 · Fort Myers, FL 33906-1432 · USA

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