Friday, November 7, 2008

Talk in Philadelphia

Eriospermum armianum (Ruscaceae), from west of Springbok, Northern Cape, South Africa. Single leaf with club-shaped outgrowths called enations arising from its surface.

I'm going to be giving a presentation on "Winter Growing Geophytes of South Africa" to the Philadelphia Cactus and Succulent Society this Sunday, November 9. The meeting will be from 11-3:00 at the Fairmount Park greenhouses, and my talk itself will likely take an hour or so, starting around 1:00. It should be fun; the PCSS is one of the largest and most active groups of its kind in the country; I was a little overwhelmed by the size and enthusiasm of the audience when I gave a talk on Conophytum in Philly last year.

The presentation will be a basic introduction to what is a huge subject; a lowball estimate of the number of winter growing tuber and bulb species in South Africa, from the Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs, is around 1500. I'll talk about cultivation, the ecology of the plants in the field, and a little bit about morphology and anatomy, while showing slides of a somewhat scattershot sampling of Cape bulb diversity. The genus Eriospermum will be overrepresented, because I like eriospermums and have a bunch of photos of them, but I'll touch on the usual suspects too, like the Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis family) and Hyacinthaceae (Hyacinth family), as well as some possibly unfamiliar dicot geophytes, like the tuberous Pelargonium species (Geraniaceae - Geranium family).