2010 Members' Day Plant Sale

Saturday, October 2, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Annually during the past 72 years, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has distributed plants to Fairchild members for use in the South Florida gardens and landscapes. Once again the time has arrived for Garden members to enjoy an exclusive benefit of membership. Through the years, Fairchild's horticulture staff have observed, evaluated, and introduced beautiful, interesting, and diverse trees, shrubs, vines and ground covers to the community. The Members' Day Plant Sale is certainly the place to buy great plants for your yard. The sale and information about the plants we will make available is also an educational tool we use. Fairchild wants to promote great plants; non-invasive exotics, native species which will provide food and shelter for our native fauna and add beauty and life to your garden. Even modest increases in the native plant cover on suburban properties raise the number and species of breeding birds and butterflies.

Doug Tallamy's book 'Bringing Nature Home' strongly and eloquently describes the important link between planting natives and providing food and nesting habitats for insects, birds, butterflies, pollinators. He points out that all wildlife in the U.S. has co-evolved with native plants and they seek native plants. For more information read this. Individual species are bent toward more temperate locations, however the general data is applicable to our own area.

The Distribution Plants have been grown in larger quantities than the other sale plants and are carefully selected for this program. While you may purchase up to four of the Distribution Plants there will be many other plants for sale. Plan an early start: lines form quickly, and while we have a good supply, it is not endless. Along with other staff members and knowledgeable volunteers, I'll be available to advise you on site selection, planting and growing these very special plants.

General Information

  • The Members' Day Plant Sale is for Fairchild Members only.
  • Unfortunately, members' guests may not purchase plants.
  • Location: the Palmetum, south of the Cycad Circle
  • Please park in the Lowlands. Enter through the North Entrance, drive to the Lowlands parking field, watch for signs. There will be shuttle service between the Lowlands parking, the Visitor Center parking and the plant sales area. The parking lot will open at 8:00 a.m. You may park your car and walk up to the Cycad Vista to wait in line until opening at 9:00 a.m.
  • You must show your membership card to purchase sale plants and distribution plants.
  • Each membership may purchase up to four distribution plants - limit one per species. These plants will be located in Plot 117 in numerical order according to their placement on the distribution list (see below) and handed out to members by staff and volunteers.
  • The sale plants will be located in the Palmetum in Plot 119 and the west end of Plot 117. The number of sale plants that may be purchased is unlimited, except for those plants with blue tags, which are limited to one per species.
  • We suggest that you bring a container, wagon or cart to carry your purchases to your vehicle. There will be plant valets to help you.
  • Unfortunately, we cannot pre-sell, ship or hold plants for members unable to attend.


You will need your membership card and the distribution list to purchase plants. Each membership may purchase four distribution plants. Limit one per species.

 Distribution List

  1. Licuala lauterbachii.......................................$.18.00
  2. Satakentia liukiuensis.......................................22.00
  3. Dietes iridioides 'Amatola'...............................15.00
  4. Myrciaria vexator............................................18.00
  5. Stephanotis floribunda.....................................18.00
  6. Colubrina elliptica............................................20.00
  7. Senna mexicana var. chapmanii........................18.00
  8. Krugiodendron ferreum...................................18.00
  9. Guaiacum officinale.........................................18.00
  10. Salvia caymanensis..........................................12.00
  11. Pavonia bahamensis........................................16.00
  12. Morus nigra....................................................16.00

 Click on photos to enlarge

Licuala lauterbachii is native to shady forests of New Guinea. This palm is a small to medium size which has beautifully divided and pleated palmate leaves on slender stems. The single trunk is 4 to 6 feet tall. Small showy red fruits are produced on upright stalks. This petite palm is perfect for a moist shady location.

Satakentia liukiuensis is a beautiful palm endemic to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. A lush crown of ten-foot long, dark green, pinnate leaves tops an exquisite crownshaft: smooth, lustrous, and dark red to mahogany green. In Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a 30-year old plant is 20 feet tall, with a trunk twelve inches in diameter. The straight, gray-brown trunk provides a foil to the colorful crownshaft and leaves. Pink inflorescences produce slightly fragrant, cream-colored flowers which give way to small, yellow fruits. Grow it in full sun to partial shade. (Plot 75)


Dietes iridioides 'Amatola' native to South Africa, is a member of the iris family with sword-shaped leaves to one foot long and fragrant flowers. The flowers are white with yellow-orange nectar guides and pale blue to purple inner petals. The delicate flowers last only a day, but the plant continues to form new blooms for long periods of time throughout spring and summer. You may tuck this plant into any lightly shaded location.

Myrciaria vexator is one of Dr. David Fairchild's introductions. Native to the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, this small tree is sometimes known as blue grape or false jaboticaba. This species becomes a beautiful small tree with trunks and stems having smooth, brown bark which peels off to reveal a cream-colored inner layer. The round, grape-sized fruits have a thick skin over sweet pulp similar to jaboticaba and tastes somewhat like sweet grapes. Fruits are borne in late fall or early winter and usually eaten fresh or used in drinks. A single plant may produce hundreds of fruits. This tree is worth growing for its attractive trunks and leaves and an added bonus is the showy, edible fruit. Our Senior Curator of Tropical Fruit, Dr. Richard Campbell has three of these small trees in his own yard. This fact should tell you something.

Stephanotis floribunda, known as bridal wreath, is a well behaved vine with thick glossy leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers, often used in wedding bouquets. Bridal wreath is an excellent plant for a chainlink fence in full sun to light shade. There is a lovely example of this plant, admired for many years, on the fence at the South Gate entrance to Fairchild.

Colubrina elliptica, soldierwood, is native to the Florida Keys, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Venezuela. It is a shrub to small tree, from 10 feet up to 30 feet tall with an open branching habit. The trunks have flaking orange to brown bark which adds to its character. We are offering this plant because it has proven to be a bird magnet! During last fall expert birders surveyed Fairchild for migrating songbirds. Soldierwood attracted more species by far, than any other plant. Among the birds seen visiting soldierwood were: Tennessee Warblers, Red-eyed Vireos, Blue-winged Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager and Baltimore Orioles. We are delighted to offer this plant to FTBG members. Bring nature to your own yard – plant a soldierwood and keep your binoculars handy! Photo by Roger Hammer.

Senna mexicana var. chapmanii, known as Bahama senna, is native to South Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba. It is a small shrub to 6 feet tall with yellow flowers nearly all year. Bahama senna is a larval host plant for several butterflies, including the orange-barred sulphur, sleepy orange sulphur and cloudless sulphur. It grows best in full sun to light shade. Bahama senna is a wonderful choice for all butterfly gardens.


Krugiodendron ferreum, known as black ironwood, is an evergreen shrub to small tree with distinctive, dark green leaves with wavy margins. The glossy leaves glisten brightly in the sunlight. Small nectar-filled flowers are followed by black fruits much enjoyed by birds in the fall. Native to hammocks of South Florida, black ironwood has dense heartwood and an attractive compact, upright growth habit. It is also native to the West Indies, Mexico and Central America. Grow it in sun to partial shade. (Plots 3A, 3B, 128d) 

Guaiacum officinale, native to continental Tropical America and the West Indies, is known as lignum vitae or tree of life. This species, although not native to Florida, is similar to our native Guaiacum sanctum. It will grow faster than our native species, eventually developing into a beautiful flowering tree to 20 feet tall with gorgeous mottled green trunks. Lovely blue to pale blue flowers appear in spring to summer, followed by orange-yellow fruit. Birds love the seeds. Grow in full sun to light shade. If you have room for just one tree in your yard, Guaiacum officinale should be your choice. (Plot 34)

Salvia caymanensis, known as Cayman sage, was once thought to be extinct for 50 years in its native area of the Cayman Islands. This rare, lovely salvia can reach a height of up to three feet, with tiny blue flowers and a silvery cast to the underside of its leaves. In the spring of 2007 the Department of Environment of the Cayman Islands in cooperation with the Darwin Initiative offered a reward for the rediscovery of the Cayman Sage. During the flowering time around June 2007 the plant was rediscovered and photographed. About 300 individual plants have been found and approximately 18,000 seeds have been collected. Scott Zona graciously donated three plants to FTBG and we have propagated from these to offer this very special plant to our members. Photo by Scott Zona. (Plot 17)

Pavonia bahamensis, from the Bahamas, is a shrub to 15' tall. Known as Bahama swamp bush, it is a member of the hibiscus family. It produces small, nectar-filled, yellow-green flowers that hummingbirds find hard to resist. This shrub is best grown in full sun to very light shade. In the Bahamas, pollinators of Pavonia are Bananaquits and Bahama Woodstars. Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds are the most commonly seen species that visit Pavonia in South Florida. Butterflies and other nectar seeking birds are attracted to Bahama swamp bush. It is a wildlife magnet! (Plot 26)

Morus nigra, black mulberry, produces a delicious, sweet, black mulberry. The ones we are offering to members is an ever-bearing, many-branched shrub. Cutting back the plants will encourage flowering and fruit soon develop. The colorful fruits are first green, turn red and then ripen to shiny black. Birds will also be attracted to the fruit. The heaviest crop of fruit appears in the spring, but if you desire fruit at other times of the year, just prune it back and flowers, then fruit will be produced. The berries may be eaten fresh or used in jams and pies. Plant in full sun.


In addition to the Distribution Plants for 2010, the following specially selected sale plants will be offered. Most may be purchased in whatever quantities you wish; those with blue tags are limited to one per membership. It is first come, first served, so consider alternates. The sale plants are available in smaller quantities than the distribution plants described above. In addition, there will be many other species at the sale not mentioned here. My advice is to come early to get the best selection! We open parking in the lowlands at 8:00 am. Once parked, you may walk or ride a shuttle to the Cycad Vista where the lines form. The sale opens at 9:00 a.m. Many people bring their own plant cart or wheelbarrow. We will have plant valets to assist you.

Click on photos to enlarge 

Muhlenbergia capillaris, muhly grass, is a native clumping species 18 to 36 inches tall and wide. One of our most ornamental native grasses, it produces beautiful cloud-like pinkish-purple plumes during the fall months. When not in bloom, its airy texture fits nicely into any landscape or garden. We have found that grasses go nicely when planted among palms. (May be seen in plots 54 and 123a.)


Thrinax excelsa, Jamaican thatch palm, has a single trunk. It grows from 10 to 35 feet tall, with magnificent palmate leaves that reach seven feet across. The distinctive, large, glossy leaves make this an outstanding palm. It may be grown in light shade to full sun. Although they need no special care, it is advisable to stake young plants until established. In its native Jamaica, this species grows only in very well-drained sites far from the influence of salt spray. 


Croton linearis, a native of South Florida pine rocklands and coastal areas, is commonly known as pineland croton. This semi-woody shrub has dark green linear leaves with white or golden hairs on their lower surface. Small white flowers and small dry fruits which pop open when ripe are present all year. Pineland croton is the larval food plant for the Bartram's Hairstreak and the Florida Leafwing butterflies. This shrub grows best in a sunny, dry location. Once established it requires no supplemental irrigation. (May be seen in FTBG pineland.)

Nashia inaguensis, commonly called Moujean tea, is a shrub to 8 feet tall native to the Bahamas. It is much branched, with tiny leaves that are aromatic when crushed. The young stems are red, becoming gray-brown. The tiny, fragrant white flowers are followed by small orange fruits nestled among the glossy leaves. We have found that the Atala butterflies and many others find Moujean tea hard to resist when in bloom. Grow in full sun. It is very drought tolerant once established. (May be seen in plots 102, 164 and butterfly garden.)

Jacaranda caerulea is native to the Bahamas. It is a smaller tree than the more commonly grown Jacaranda mimosaefolia and with more bold, shiny foliage. It is one of the most attractive ornamental trees native to the Bahamas with its panicles of blue-violet flowers appearing throughout late spring and summer. The crown is more narrow and upright than the more common Jacaranda, making it a great choice for small yards. This species prefers a sunny location and thrives in the soils of south Florida. Its furrowed bark makes this tree an excellent place to put epiphytic orchids and bromeliads among the branches. (Plot 164) 


Chosen as one of the 2007 Fairchild Plants of the Year, Clusia lanceolata is a delightful shrub or small tree 8-10' tall from the sandy coastal regions of Brazil known as "restingas". It was introduced to South Florida by noted USDA researcher and Fairchild Research Associate Alan Meerow. The white, waxy 6-petaled flowers have a distinctive ring of wine-red markings around the center. These 2-inch wide flowers appear all year. The distinctive fruits are round and crowned with a circle of black glands. When ripe, the fruit opens to disclose seeds covered with orange-red arils. Well adapted to our growing conditions, it thrives in sun or partial shade with minimal irrigation requirements. It can be maintained as a smaller specimen with judicious pruning or allowed to fill a larger space. As a container plant, it will provide a unique highlight to a patio collection. (In FTBG four plants are growing in Plot 49).  

Pachypodium rosulatum is native to the central plateau of Madagascar. It has vivid yellow flowers in clusters on long stems emerging from near the top of the stems. This species has a short and thick succulent caudex branching into cylindrical arms with stout spines, and topped by a rosette of dark green leaves. It is a moderate grower, but an impressive specimen with a big caudex can be made fast. Water sparingly in summer and plant in extra well-drained soil to avoid waterlogged conditions. Do not water from November to March. It is sensitive to cold and should be kept totally dry in winter. Protect from frost. It will lose its leaves and go dormant in winter. It grows best in full sun to light shade.

One of our 2008 Fairchild Plants of the Year, Myrcianthes fragrans, Simpson's stopper, is a native of hammocks of south Florida and tropical America. This shrub or small tree grows to 20 feet tall. It makes a great hedge and is a low maintenance alternative to the commonly used ficus hedge. Simpson's stopper's silvery gray to warm brown bark naturally peels to reveal a smooth burnished copper colored inner layer. Crush the small, slightly leathery leaves and you will discover a pleasant aroma. Fragrant little white flowers are produced intermittently through the spring and summer. Showy red-orange fruit provide food for several bird species. Simpson's stopper will have a dense branching habit if grown in full sun. When grown in shade, the foliage is less dense and the trunk displays its attractive, smooth, exfoliating bark. Plant one near a feeder or bird bath for shy birds such as painted buntings and cardinals to use as a safe haven. (Plot 3 near Gatehouse)

Zamia integrifolia, coontie, is our only native cycad. Once locally abundant in Florida, it is now uncommon and threatened by urban development. The stems, after suitable treatment, were used as a source of starch by the Seminole Indians; a small starch extraction industry was established in South Florida in the 1850s. Coontie is a small cycad, with much-branched, underground stems. The leaves are a favorite larval food for the rare Atala butterfly. It grows in full sun to light shade. New growth appears each spring, although if cut back, new leaves may be generated at any time. (Plots 124, 136)

Aloysia virgata, sweet almond, is a relatively new introduction to Fairchild, but immediately has become a much-admired shrub. Native to South America, sweet almond is a shrub to 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Sweet almond is fast growing with slightly cascading branches and spikes of very fragrant white flowers. The sweet fragrance is the most popular feature of Aloysia. Trimming is recommended in order to produce a fuller shrub. Flowering occurs throughout the year. Grow in full sun to light shade. (Butterfly garden)

Brunfelsia plicata is a small, erect eight-foot shrub endemic to Jamaica. The sturdy, dark green leaves make a good background for the showy, white flowers. Appearing in profusion several times during the year, the flowers waft forth a spicy, clove-like fragrance at dusk. Stems tend to be upright, but the uppermost ends of the branches cascade down, giving the plant a vase-like shape. Grow it where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade. (May be seen in plots 52 and 27.)

Kentiopsis oliviformis is a rare and beautiful palm endemic to New Caledonia. It has upright, pinnate leaves 10 to 12 feet long with lush, broad dark green leathery leaflets. The prominent crownshaft is covered with a pale tomentum which eventually wears off to expose a rich dark green hue. The grey-green ringed trunk may grow to 50 feet tall. The creamy colored flowers are followed by bright red fruits. This species has proven to be a wonderful palm for south Florida gardens. Plant it in full sun and provide space for this fast growing spectacular palm. (Plots 102, 49, 50)

Schippia concolor, silver pimento palm, is an elegant, small species native to both the open, dry pinelands and moist forests of Belize. The slender trunk has an open crown of deeply divided two-foot palmate leaves with leafstems two to six feet long. Showy, white inflorescences are followed by clusters of white fruit one-inch in diameter. This dainty palm may be grown in full sun to light shade. (May be seen in plots 106 and 107.)


Hamelia patens, firebush, is one of the absolutely best plants for attracting wildlife to your garden. Ours is the native species which is loved by nectaring butterflies, thirsty hummingbirds, and other songbirds which eat the fruits. Plant a firebush in your yard – our wildlife is depending on it!


Callicarpa americana, beauty berry, is one of our most ornamental native shrubs. Pink flowers are produced in the summer followed by bright purple fruits. Many birds eat the colorful fruit. This grows best in a sunny location.


Sisyrinchium angustifolium, known as blue-eyed grass, is actually a member of the iris family. It is an herbaceous wildflower with leaves 6 to 18 inches long. This Florida native will have flowers in shades of blue, purple or violet during the spring. Plant this jewel in a sunny moist location.



In addition to the colorful muhly grass, we will have Tripsacum floridanum (dwarf Fakahatchee grass) and Sorghastum secundum (lopsided Indian grass). All of these grasses look beautiful planted in groups among palms or upright shrubs. The only maintenance needed is an annual trimming. Pictured is the Tripsacum floridanum planted among palms.


Sorghastrum secundum, lopsided Indian grass, is a larval host plant for Delaware skipper, dusted skipper and swarthy skipper butterflies. Pictured is the Sorghastrum secundum inflorescence by Roger Hammer.


Taxodium distichum, bald cypress, is best known for growing in swamps but it doesn't require wet conditions. It is an admirably adaptable tree and grows beautifully in more typical garden situations. Its soft, feathery foliage contrasts nicely with its straight-as-an-arrow central leader and strong, buttressed trunks. The foliage turns an attractive reddish bronze in the fall. 

Heliotropium angiospermum, known as scorpion's tail, is native to southern Florida and the Florida Keys. It is a small herbaceous to slightly woody shrub to 3 feet tall and as wide. It is a wonderful choice to attract butterflies to its interesting white flowers. It is a nectar source for these butterflies: Bahamian Swallowtail, Cassius Blue, Florida White, Gray Hairstreak, Great Southern White, Gulf Fritillary, Miami Blue, Queen, Ruddy Daggerwing, Schaus' Swallowtail and other butterflies. Plant in full sun to light shade.

Page updated 10/13/10