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Hercules's Club, Pollinator Magnet, Host Plant, Culinary Delight

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"People who have tasted the bark call it pepperwood, rabbit gum, sting tongue, tongue-bush, and toothache [tree]". (Austin, 2004) 'Toothache tree' is how I was first introduced to Zanthoxylum clava-herculis about a decade ago. My partner made the introductions and told me the leaves would numb my mouth, so I popped one in to check it out. It was August and the leaves quite mature (in other words, potent!) and yes, it numbed my mouth. Completely. Over the years I've watched and admired as what started as a scraggly, knee high cluster of prickly twigs in our backyard stretch out and up into a majestic specimen nearly two stories tall. The pollinators go crazy over the hundreds of tiny flowers that appear briefly every spring and occasionally we are lucky enough to find giant swallowtail larvae nibbling away at the pungent leaves. It wasn't until this year that I considered trying the leaves again, this time in early spring, just as they are starting to unfurl a

[ACTION ALERT] Stop Governor DeSantis from Signing SB 2508

We need your help NOW to convince Governor DeSantis that he should veto Senate Bill 2508 because FLORIDA DOES NOT NEED A COMPLETE MAKE-OVER OF OUR IMMENSELY SUCCESSFUL LAND CONSERVATION PROGRAMS! The Florida Legislature passed this terrible bill and it is now awaiting the Governor’s signature. It threatens to upend our successful approach to land conservation by essentially replacing the science-based, transparent, and accountable Florida Forever program with one designed to keep agricultural lands in production. The Rural and Family Lands Program (RFL) was created to purchase conservation easements over privately owned forests and ranches, and is a valuable complement to Florida Forever because the working lands it keeps in production sometimes have supplemental habitat value for native plants and wildlife, and can maintain connectivity within wildlife corridors. But Florida Forever has been, and should remain, our principal land conservation program . Call Governor DeSantis at (850)

FNPS Requests Veto of SB 2508

On March 16th we sent a letter to Governor DeSantis recommending that he veto the atrocious Senate Bill 2508 which would replace the scientifically-rigorous and highly successful statewide conservation land purchasing program known as Florida Forever with the agricultural land protection program Rural and Family Lands that had been run alongside Florida Forever as a complementary easement program. You can read our letter here and please consider contacting the Governor to veto this bill.

We're hiring!

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The Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is seeking a visionary Executive Director to lead growth of the statewide organization’s membership, financial support and program impact. You will lead an organization of highly committed Board of Directors, staff members, community advocates and volunteers all dedicated to authentic Florida environmental preservation via research, education, policy and conservation programs. This is an exciting time to join FNPS. If you are passionate about the environment and our unique Florida ecosystem, a dynamic public speaker who can share the compelling mission and significant impact of FNPS, a collaborative team builder, and a proven fundraiser who can generate new streams of revenue and social enterprise opportunities please visit www.fnps.org to learn more about our mission and programs. See https://www.fnps.org/news/news for full job description. JOB RESPONSIBILITY SUMMARY Reporting directly to the board president and in support of the board of dire

Rick McDonnell, 1947-2021

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On December 8 2021 Hernando Chapter lost a big part of the heart of its native plant community. Our friend Rick McDonnell died from complications of pneumonia after a lengthy hospitalization. He was 74 years old. Many of Rick’s FNPS friends know him first as a nurseryman. In the early 1980s Rick started a small commercial nursery in Brooksville Florida which became Hickory Hill Native Nursery, Inc.. He was a longtime member of both the Florida Association of Native Nurseries and the Florida Native Plant Society. Hickory Hill Native Nursery has always been a participant in the Hernando Chapter’s plant sales and a key source of native plants in our area. “We always looked forward to Rick’s arrival on plant sale day – the van loaded to the top with all our favorites – his famous wild coffee, coral honeysuckle and coralbean, sunshine mimosa with some wild garlic thrown in for fun. He had the most interesting wetland plants – native hibiscus, swamp mallows and string lilies.” – Cindy Libe

Kathleen 'Kay' Brennan, 1944-2021

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Kay at one of PBC ERM's staff Halloween parties Dedicated, detail-oriented, determined – these descriptive words and phrases probably spring quickly to the minds of all who knew Kay. She was a person who lived a life of service to her church and community; all of us who love the natural world were part of the community that benefited from her service. One of the first hires of the newly created Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management in January 1988, Kay spent the early portion of her 24 year career with the County diligently identifying and acquiring environmentally sensitive lands for the County’s Natural Areas Program. She spent the later portion of her career working on related ordinances, and management plans to keep acquired environmentally sensitive lands in their natural state. In January 1988, the County did not own any environmentally sensitive lands. Today it owns and/or manages over 31,600 acres of environmentally sensitive lands. We often si

Research, Conservation, Ethnobotany, and McNamara Grants are now open!

The Florida Native Plant Society maintains an Endowment Research Grant program for the purpose of funding research on native plants. These are small grants ($2500 or less), awarded for a 1-year period, and intended to support research that forwards the mission of the Florida Native Plant Society which is "to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida." FNPS Conservation Grants support applied native plant conservation projects in Florida. These grants ($5000 or less) are awarded for a 1-year period. These projects promote the preservation, conservation, or restoration of rare or imperiled native plant taxa and rare or imperiled native plant communities. To qualify for a Conservation Grant, the proposed project must be sponsored by an FNPS Chapter. The Dan Austin Award for Ethnobotany will provide up to $1500 to graduate or undergraduate students who are studying Florida ethnobotany – i.e., the study o