It’s time to go back…
The South Florida Palm Society (SFPS) dates back to the very inception of the International Palm Society (IPS). In fact, from the time Dent Smith founded The Palm Society in 1955 until 1982, the local group did not have a separate identity. Dent’s home, Daytona Beach, doesn’t possess the climate to support much palm diversity, so he made frequent trips to Miami to visit Fairchild Tropical Garden and local palm growers. In the first ten years of the IPS’s existence, many of its officers and directors were from southern Florida: They included luminaries such as Dr. R. Bruce Ledin, Lucita Wait, Nat DeLeon, Dr. Harold ‘Hal’ Loomis, Nixon Smiley, Dr. John Popenoe, and Marian Bell Fairchild, wife of Dr. David Fairchild. Notably 28 of the first 35 IPS members were Floridians, many of them lived in the southern end of the state.
The SFPS was chartered as a separate organization in 1982 in Miami. Meetings are held at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG) in Coral Gables, the very place where Dent Smith convened the organizational meeting of the IPS in 1956. The membership of the SFPS has historically been remarkably active both by volunteering for and funding projects to promote knowledge of and interest in palms. In recent years, the SFPS has contributed to the restoration of historic Virginia Key Beach Park and the palmetum at Miami’s Morningside Park. Members are quite collegial, and enjoy the rewards of a subtropical climate by regularly visiting outstanding public and private gardens.
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