NEXT MEETING: Sunday APRIL 7TH at 11 am
MEETING PROGRAM: Rob Roy MacGregor from ROB ROY’S PLANTS SPEAKING ON THE mOHAVE nATIONAL PRESERVE.
i started collecting plants about 20 years ago. At first it was collecting from the local nursery in San Felipe in Baja Norte California so I could plant them around a friend’s property in Puertecitos Baja California. Then 15 years ago I bought my home in Riverside and proceeded to remove the grass in my ½ acre backyard and install rocks and cacti. The front yard soon followed, receiving an aloe and rock remodel. After those first couple of years I began to meet people that would change my whole outlook on cacti and succulent plants. It was at this time I ran into a person whom I would later call my mentor. He took the time to instill in me the drive to learn correct terminology and spelling of plants.
He also taught me to take a more scientific approach of gathering information. It was this approach that I call “playing with my plants” which gave me the willingness to do what I have done to plants, in the name of further education.
Mojave National Preserve
On the southeastern border of California lies 1.6 million acres that make up the Mojave National Preserve. Of the 4 deserts that exist in North America, 3 are present within this Preserve, the Mojave, the Great Basin, and the Sonoran deserts. Over the course of multiple excursions throughout various seasons I have explored the Mojave Preserve to view succulent plants in habitat. Treks to the Mojave National Preserve are one-day trips that are inexpensive, contain accessible hot spots with a variety of succulent plants and geological phenomena. The intent of my talk is to demonstrate examples of exploring natural habitats in our own backyard that anyone with a day or two could experience, whether it’s the Mojave National Preserve or our other desert wonders.
NEXT MEETING: Sunday March 3rd at 11 am
MEETING PROGRAM: 20 Years in the Atacama, Land of the Copiapoas, presented by Wendell S. “Woody” Minnich
Similar to the coast of Namibia, the coastal and inland regions of northern Chile, known as the Atacama, is mainly watered by amazing fogs, “the Camanchacas.” These fog-fed regions, in two of the driest deserts in the world, have some of the most interesting cactus and succulents to be found anywhere. The Atacama of northern Chile has an endemic genus considered by many to be one of the most dramatic to have ever evolved, the Copiapoa. This ancient genus is also believed to be tens of thousands of years old, and there are those who feel it might well be on its way out! The ocean currents that affect the coastal Atacama have changed considerably over the last hundreds of years, and now its only source of moisture is Copiapoa columna alba crest at Pan de Azucar, photo by Woody Minnich primarily from consistent dense fogs. Some of these areas rarely, if ever, get rain and the plants that have evolved there live almost entirely off the heavy condensation from the Camanchaca.
There are many different Copiapoa species ranging from small quarter sized subterranean geophytes to giant 1,000-year-old, 300-head mounding clusters. Thanks to Rudolf Schulz’s excellent field work and his two comprehensive Copiapoa books, we have all been introduced to these amazing plants. Having worked with Rudolf in Chile, I can honestly say that the genus Copiapoa is without comparison! Now, having visited Chile numerous times over the last 20+ years, I have become familiar with most all of the representatives of this genus. With this presentation, I hope to taxonomically introduce you to most of the Copiapoa species as well as show their relationships and synonyms. Along with the Copiapoa, we will also encounter many other genera including the Neochilenias, Neoporterias, Eriosyce, Eulychnias, Trichocereus, as well as many
of the other Chilean succulents. Chile also offers some of the best lunar landscapes, geologic formations, and spectacular beaches to be found in all of South America.
This last August 2018, I had the pleasure of leading a group of 20 crazy cactophiles in seven four-wheel drive trucks. Our objectives were to see most of the fantastic plants and spectacular scenery that are to be found in this the land of the Camanchaca. Most of our group were very young adults (25-35yrs), and they all wanted to see and know how us old timers (Rudolf, Woody, Ritter and Charles) used to do our explorations to the wild and seldom seen places of Chile. Not only did we take them on very bad roads, the kind of dusty, dirty two tracks we used to have to maneuver, we also had them camp out in the middle of nowhere with the scorpions. No restaurants, no showers, no beds, and no bar! These camp-outs were
exceptional as we could often see, without light pollution, the Southern Cross and the Magellanic Lights until the Camanchaca fog slowly blanketed our campfire discussions. What an incredible trip it was! The energy of the young people and my memories of the last 20+ years in Chile made this an epic adventure, one I will never forget! Join me at the meeting, and hopefully you’ll share our exhilarating experience and the overall magic of this wonderful arid region, the Atacama.
Woody, as he is commonly known, grew up in the Mojave Desert and has had an attraction to desert plants and animals since the early 1950’s. He has been involved with the cactus and succulent world as a grower, field explorer, club and organization leader, writer, photographer, lecturer and presenter.
Having been a speaker all over the world, Woody is most often associated with giving presentations on his field work from the places he has traveled, such as: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Socotra, South Africa, the United States and Yemen. He is also recognized for having operated the nursery Cactus Data Plants since 1975. Woody’s show quality plants are often considered one of the standards for staging and horticultural achievement. His favorite genera include: Adenium, Ariocarpus, Astrophytum, Copiapoa, Cyphostemma,
Fouquieria, Gymnocalycium, Lithops, Mammillaria, Melocactus, Pachypodium, Turbinicarpus, Uebelmannia, and Pachycauls in general.
He has published numerous articles and reviews in various journals (CSSA) and his photography is featured in many books including; “The Copiapoa” by Schulz, “The Mammillaria Handbook” by Pilbeam, “The Cactus Lexicon” by Hunt and Charles, as well as many others. As of November 2017, he is featured as the primary photographer in the new book “The
Xerophile.” This book specializes in what the authors call, the Obsessed Field Workers from around the world. He is also featured in electronic articles about conservation from MNN Mother Nature Network and the Guardian Newspaper.
Woody and his wife, Kathy, live in Cedar Grove, New Mexico. He is a retired secondary school teacher of 32 years where he taught Graphics, Art and Architecture. In the cactus and succulent hobby, Woody is recognized for his high energy and creative spirit. As an educator, he has become an important part of the hobby and thus is an honorary life member of eleven C&S societies. With 49 years in the hobby and 64 years in the field, he has many experiences to share and numerous photos to show.
NEXT MEETING: February 3rd 11 am
MEETING PROGRAM: Ernesto Sandoval: Forms and Functions of Cacti and Succulents, Inside and Out
Ernesto will be sharing his understanding of the way succulents and other desert plants are adapted to surviving drought in
desert and other dry environments. He’ll cover biology (how they work overall), anatomy (how they’re organized on the inside),
morphology (how they’re organized on the outside, and ecophysiology (how all the parts above work together) to
make the plants adapted to their often challenging lives.
As usual Ernesto bring an assortment of plants, mostly hardy succulents to offer for sale! He will also bring a unique assortment,
separate from the sale plants, for the raffle!
Ernesto Sandoval has been wondering and seeking questions to why plants
grow and look the way that they do for a long time. Now he explains and
interprets the world of plants to a variety of ages and experiences from K-
12 to professionals as well as Master Gardeners. He regularly lectures to a
variety of western Garden Clubs throughout the year and particularly to
Succulent Clubs throughout California. Desert plants are his particular passion
within his general passion for plants. He describes himself as a “Jose
of All Plants, Master of None.” Ernesto thoroughly enjoys helping others,
and gardeners in particular, to understand why and how plants do what they
When he was about 13 he asked his dad why one tree was pruned a particular
way and another tree another way. His dad answered bluntly “because
that’s the way you do it.” Since then he’s been learning and teaching himself
the answers to those and many other questions by getting a degree at
UC Davis in Botany and working from student weeder/waterer to Director
over the last 25 years at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory.
He’s long left the “mow blow and go” monoculture landscape gardening
world and has immersed himself in the world of polyculture and biodiversity
by growing several thousand types of plants at the
UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, many of them succulents. Several of his
favorite garden projects involved converting lawns and or water loving
landscapes to drought tolerant and diversity filled gardens! He likes to promote
plant liberation by encouraging gardeners of all sorts to grow more plants in the ground when possible. He loves the
technical language of Botany but prefers to relate information in more understandable methods of communication! By helping
people to understand the workings of plants he hopes to help us better understand how to and why our plants do what
they do and how we can maximize their growth with less effort.
January 6th at 11AM.
Hiding in plain sight: a new cactus species from the California Desert
Presenter: Michelle Cloud-Hughes
Cylindropuntia chuckwallensis (the chucky cholla) is a newly-described cactus found in San Bernardino, Riverside, and northern Imperial Counties, California. Michelle’s presentation will describe how this historically-misidentified cholla was determined to be a distinct new species and the characteristics that distinguish it from similar cholla species. This presentation will provide detailed information on where to see the chucky cholla as well as other cacti and succulents found in the same areas.
Michelle Cloud-Hughes is a botanist and restoration ecologist specializing in desert flora and ecosystems. She worked for the Soil Ecology and Restoration Group at San Diego State University from 1997 to 2013 and spent most of those years doing restoration work in the central Mojave Desert at Fort Irwin National Training Center. In 2010 she started her company, Desert Solitaire Botany and Ecological Restoration, and since then has been involved in many rare plant surveys and other botanical and restoration projects throughout the southwestern U.S. Her main love is Cylindropuntia, but she is also fascinated by other cactus, particularly Echinocereus, Grusonia, Pediocactus, and occasionally even Opuntia.
LOCATION: Rancho Los Alamitos, 6400 Bixby Hill Road, Long Beach, CA 90815.
Rancho Los Alamitos is located within Bixby Hill and accessed through the residential security gate at Anaheim and Palo Verde. From the 405 Freeway, exit at Palo Verde Avenue and turn south. From the 605 Freeway, exit at Willow, follow to Palo Verde and turn south.
TIME: Sunday, January 6th at 11:00 a.m. Setup will be from 10:30 – 11:00.
REFRESHMENTS: We will follow the alphabet to determine who is to bring the snacks and finger foods. This month, those with last names starting with the letters A through C are asked to bring the goodies. Please feel free to bring something even if you don’t fall into this group.
PLANTs-OF-THE-MONTH: Cactus: Mammillaria Hooke Spines – Succulent: Aeoniums
Enter up to three plants in each category.
Photos from the May Meeting
Mays Guest Speaker Greg Starr!