South Florida Palm Society


The South Florida Palm Society is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate information about and encourage interest in palms and the use of these plants.  The South Florida Palm Society uses its funds to help support local botanical gardens, individual scientific research expeditions or projects, conservation and planting projects and educational efforts.

Upcoming Activities

August 5, 2019: General meeting with plant auction and presentation at Fairchild Garden. Details will be provided when available.

Other events include a general meeting on October 7, 2019, a fall garden tour in the planning stages and a holiday party in December.

**** Low Membership Rates for New Members under 40: The SFPS is offering memberships for $1.00 per year for anyone under the age of 40 years old! Signup is in person at an SFPS event, such as a meeting, holiday party or garden tour, with proof of age.

General meetings are held on the first Monday of every even month: February, April, June, August and October. Meetings begin at 7:00 pm at Fairchild Botanic Tropical Garden. Details including the invited guest speaker are announced by email prior to the meeting. The meetings are open to the public. See Events tab for more details.

Memberships including initial sign ups and renewals may be paid online. See Join tab for more details.

Recent Activities and Website Enhancements:

June 12, 2019: See Links Section for Lethal Bronzing and Stem Bleeding (Trunk Rot) diseases. Not all is peaches and cream in the sunshine state. Fortunately, we've got some terrific scientists at work trying to keep our palms disease free. At present, residents are advised to remove diseased palms as soon as possible.

June 3, 2019. Dr. Chad Husby lead us through an amazing travelogue as he and Brett Jestrow of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden explored the markets, nurseries and gardens of Thailand in search of promising new introductions for South Florida horticulture. The presentation took us to the incredible Nong Nooch tropical botanical garden and the Ao Phang Nga National Park in the south of Thailand, then more plants north of Bangkok. Not exactly sure what was most incredible - the images of the coco de mer with their massive fruit at Nong Nooch, or the trees growing out of the massive limestone outcrops, seen during a boat tour of Phang Nga park.

Dr. Chad Husby is Botanical Horticulturist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. His main focus is finding, cultivating, and propagating new plants to enhance horticulture and botanical collections. He focuses on plant groups that have not received adequate attention, from conifers and ferns to foliage, flowering trees and unusual fruits. Chad also enjoys educating students and the public about plant exploration, horticulture and botany. His scientific research ranges from plant ecophysiology and horticulture to conservation and systematics.

A lively auction and raffle for a Copernicia giga proceeded Dr. Husby's presentation. The auction included a donated Zamia pygmaea, a very rare cycad.

May 4, 2019: See Scrapbook for selected photos of the awesome tour of Fairchild Garden followed by tours of two private gardens. It was jointly organized with the Tropical Flowering Tree Society (TFTS) and the Palm Beach Palm and Cycad Society (PBPCS). This is part of the scrapbook page as shown in the above tabs.

Elvis Cruz explains to the group how the incredibly rare Coco de Mer seed came from the Seychelles Islands to this beautiful garden in Coral Gables many years ago.

March 2019: Another Educational Tour of Morningside Park Palmetum

Last year, SFPS adopted the Morningside Park Palmetum in an effort to restore it to its original glory (see Project page). The Palmetum is once again thriving. SFPS's president, Elvis Cruz led a tour of the Palmetum for the students at Morningside K-8 Academy, a nearby public school, in March 2019. We're obviously starting early in increasing awareness and knowledge of palms. Perhaps there are a few young botanists in the group!

Membership Page Enhancements: Click here

New memberships are being accepted with Paypal and all major credit cards. Please note there is no need to login to Paypal. Just click the second option to pay with a major credit card.Renewals and donations may also be paid by Paypal and all major credit cards. A receipt will be sent by email.

Projects Page: Click here

In 2018 SFPS has recently supported two projects: (1) Relocating of several very tall palms to the Kiem Foundation Preserve (2) Restoration of the Palmetum at Morningside Park in Miami. Volunteers with SFPS helped in the planting, mulching and installing an irrigation a drip irrigation system. Also, volunteers labelled all the palms. Once completed, volunteers provided tours of the Palmetum to students from local schools. In 2017, SFPS assisted in the planting of native palms on Virginia Key.


We have selected the very best advice available and have posted these articles under the LINKS page. Accepting suggestions for additional links.




April 1, 2019: A palm auction began the meeting, with many enthusiastic bidders, particularly on several of the donated palms, such as Attalea butyracea. Then via a slide show entitled "A Trip to Falla - So Near and Yet So Far," we joined the intrepid exploits of Elvis Cruz and companion on their recent adventure to the natural habitat of Cuba's prized and much-coveted endemic palm, Copernicia fallaensis. Along the way, we learned about Copernicias and some of the perils that come with palm exploring, including swarms of mosquitos which attacked our explorers. They had time to recuperate in Camagüey, Cienfuegos, the Bay of Pigs and Havana, rich in history and architecture, before returning home. The meeting ended with a raffle of a 3 gallon Copernicia fallaensis donated by Ellis Brown! Thanks to Montgomery Botanical Garden, Pinecrest Garden and many others for the palm donations.

Copernicia fallaensis - absolutely a garden stunner!

Feb 4, 2019 Lord Howe Island off the east coast of Australia is home to unique endemic fauna and flora. Dr. Laz Prieguez gave us an appreciation of this as he toured the island and climbed one of its mountains with a group lead by an expert botanist. This is the home of Kentia palms (Howea forsteriana and belmoreana).

Lord Howe Island

December 3, 2018 Holiday Party. A great holiday party was enjoyed by all. The party included a fantastic buffet, with some really outstanding dishes contributed by members and guests. Those board members whose terms were expiring were re-elected. A very successful silent auction was held. Then came the highlight of the night, the plant auction, with enthusiastic bidding for some of the hard to find palms. Many thanks to the various growers listed below who generously donated palms to the auction including a rare Attalea palm, dwarf betel nut palm, Licuala peltata var. sumawongii, Copernicia (various species), fairly good size sealing wax palms and Phoenicophorium borsigianum. There was something for everyone as approximately 70 donated palms found new homes. See link for more images: 2018 Holiday Party Thanks to: Nature’s Tapestry, Plant Creations, St Germain, Redland Nursery, Botanics Wholesale, Action Theory, Searle Brothers, Scott Cohen, and Montgomery Botanical Garden.


November 3, 2018: Fall Garden Tour of the North Campus of Miami Dade College. SFPS members visited the palmetum on the Society's Fall Tour. Our host was Steve Ritter, a former Miami-Dade County IFAS agent who since 2004 has been a full professor of biology at the North Campus of Miami-Dade College. Some 10 years ago he was instrumental in creating a 4.4-acre palmetum on the west side of the campus. It is a component of, and opened simultaneously with, the college's science complex. For most of our members in attendance, it was their initial exposure to the garden. Several aspects of the collection make it remarkable. First, the substrate is sand, in stark contrast to the limestone that most SFPS members have to deal with in their yards in the southern half of the county. Second, the palms get tough love - they are neither mulched nor fertilized, and they haven't been irrigated in a year! Yet most are thriving. One in particular was a remarkably green Livistona with a crown of dozens of fronds. M-DC's palm collection provides convincing proof that not every species requires white-glove treatment to excel in the climatic and soil conditions of southern Florida.

Professor Steve Ritter leading the tour of the palmetum at Miami-Dade College, North Campus. For more photos of the visit, see the following link: Palmetum Tour

October 1, 2018: Palms of The Kampong The Kampong is located in Coconut Grove and is open to the public. See the following link: The Kampong . Craig Morrell, director of The Kampong, went far beyond just talking about palms, but all the information was of interest to our palm loving members. He spoke on the recovery process following a hurricane. The three essential elements for successful recovery are (1) Avoid sunburn and further damage by providing shade and water (2) Keep the plant healthy, and in particular preventing fungal diseases using fungicides and (3) Applying sufficient and appropriate fertilizer. The advantages of magnesium sulfate and potassium nitrate were discussed. Proper plant care extends to all plants. Craig gave great horticultural advice for our palm growers.

August 6, 2018 Presentation: Andes Mountain High. SFPS member, Elvis Cruz presented a slideshow on the International Palm Society's Biennial Conference in Colombia from May 26 to June 2, 2018. We saw the tallest palm tree in the world, Ceroxylon quindiuense and enjoyed hearing about the various adventures, fun and frivolity had during the journey, including a potentially fatal incident. This eight-day journey took intrepid palm enthusiasts through Colombia's Quindio Region with stops in Armenia, Tochecito and the Cocora Valley.


The photo above was taken at the IPS Conference in Colombia. Andrew Street and Saul Hoyos with specimen of Ceroxylon quindiuense. Saul is the Colombian palm expert who discovered Sabinaria magnifica.