Sunday, April 8, 2012

17th Eastern Cactus and Succulent Conference

The Eastern Cactus and Succulent Conference is coming up next weekend, April 13-15, in Waterbury, Connecticut. It will be an exciting and informative time, but also extremely busy because a) I'm president of the club that is hosting the conference, and b) I'm giving two talks. Maybe I can sneak over to the indoor water park at the conference center to take a break at some point.

Diplosoma luckhoffii, a mesemb in the Mitrophyllum Group.

Talk #1, Saturday afternoon, will be "Other Mesembs." Anyone attending a cactus conference will know at least something about Lithops, the living stones, but there are about 120 (depending on your taxonomy) other genera of succulent plants in the family Aizoaceae. In this presentation I'll try to provide an overview of the succulent Aizoaceae, or mesembs, some familiar but many likely to be obscure to all but the most dedicated specialists.

Pelargonium longifolia, a tuberous species in section Hoarea.

"Succulent Pelargonium" is the topic for my Sunday morning presentation. Pelargoniums suffer form an even more extreme form of the sort of selective fame that afflicts mesembs: everyone with event the slightest knowledge of gardening knows the windowsill geraniums, which are actually hybrid pellies, but there is a whole world of succulent, desert-dwelling Pelargonium species that are little known and rarely cultivated.

I hope to see some of you at the conference! Keep in mind that, while the conference talks and events will be restricted to those who register, there is a succulent plant show and sale that is free and open to anyone, running Saturday and Sunday at the same location in Waterbury.