Debra Lee Baldwin is an award-winning garden photojournalist. She has written hundreds of articles and columns, is a popular guest on garden radio programs, and gives presentations at major horticultural venues throughout the West. She served as a succulent consultant for the latest edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book. She has written two popular books on succulents, Succulent Container Gardens and Designing with Succulents. Her websites are  www.debraleebaldwin.com and www.succulentchic.net.



Designing with Succulents

This talk will describe how top garden designers are using succulents to enhance landscapes, and the growing popularity of succulents as waterwise, easy-care, fire-retardant plants in southern California gardens.


Succulent Container Gardens

Florists, nurserymen and garden designers have discovered the appeal of using succulents in innovative potted combinations that have widespread appeal to the gardening public.  This program present many ideas to take home and put to use in your own garden, porch, or patio.


Dr. Rudi Dorsch became enamored with cacti at the age of 11 while visiting family in Germany and seeing plants on his aunt’s windowsill. Although initially interested in terrestrial cacti, his interests changed to the epiphytic types, a change prompted in part by a 1968 visit to Harry Johnson’s nursery in Paramount, California. In addition to growing and studying plants in cultivation, he also has field experience and vividly remembers his first field sighting of an epiphytic cactus on a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico with Myron Kimnach and Miguel Chazaro. He has given many talks in the United States and Europe on epiphytic cacti. Dr. Dorsch is a Pittsburg native. He studied medicine at the University of Pittsburg, Albany Medical School, and Baylor College of Medicine. He is a practicing gastroenterologist in Cyprus, Texas, a suburb of Houston.


Origin of Epiphytic Cacti: A Historical Perspective

This talk will delve into both the taxonomy of epiphytic cacti and the botanists and collectors who brought them to the attention of the botanical and horticultural communities.


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“Epicactus” is now the preferred term for the great diversity of interspecific and intergeneric hybrids, often of very complex lineage, that are so popular with collectors. This talk, co-presented with Chuck Everson, will discuss the historical origins of epicacti and the plant breeders that were so important in their popularization.



Julia Etter and Martin Kristen, originally from Switzerland and Austria, have now made their home in Mexico. For more than 10 years they have traveled full-time in the US Southwest and Mexico, exploring the backcountry, often in their amazing Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG expedition vehicle. Their special interests are Agavaceae and Crassulaceae but they also love all kinds of other plants. They are working on several projects including a botanical database and the design of an agave garden for a tequila factory in central Mexico. Their photographs have appeared in several books and in articles printed in cactus journals. Their website is www.globetrotters.ch.


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This talk will be on Mexican plants of the Agave family.


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The second talk will be on Mexican Crassulaceae, with emphasis on some of the lesser known species.





Tom Glavich is Vice President of CSSA and author of the Beginner’s Guide series of articles in CSSA’s To the Point newsletter.  He is one of the co-chairs of the Inter-City Cactus and Succulent Show held each August at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.  He is active in several Los Angeles area cactus and succulent societies, with his home club being the San Gabriel Valley Cactus and Succulent Society.  He has been a member of the Cactus and

Succulent Society of America since the early 1980s and was growing cactus and succulents for several years before that.


Exploring Gasteria Hybrids and Cultivars

This talk will explore some of the common and more exotic hybrids and cultivars of Gasteria, and will include advice on successful cultivation and propagation.



We will look at growing and producing crests, variegates, monstrose growth, and some of the unclassifiable oddities that are part of the succulent plant world.

Andrew Hankey is Assistant Curator and Specialist Horticulturist at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden (WSNBG) near Johannesburg, South Africa.  He has an extensive resumé of published articles and papers in technical, popular and scientific journals on subjects relating to gardening, botany and natural sciences and is a popular speaker. Among his achievements, he is noted for his work on the development of WSNBG, including the Succulent Rockery, People Plants Garden, Cycad Garden, and Forest Garden which are all landscaped exclusively with impressive collections of southern African plants. Among the living collections he curates are Aloe, Crassula, Haworthia, Gasteria, Stapeliiae, Plectranthus, and Clivia. Andrew has done extensive botanical field work, travelling to remote areas of South Africa and neighboring countries to explore and document the flora in his pursuit of a deeper understanding of the natural world.


An Expedition to Remote and Arid Southern Angola

Angola was ravaged by civil war on and off for about 30 years; the recent period of peace has seen the country opening up to biological exploration which was scarcely possible during the war years. With its vast unexplored territories this untamed country boasts tremendous succulent plant wealth and is sure to still serve up many surprises.


Ramblings around a Few Lithops Localities

Andrew shares some of his experiences while visiting a couple of Lithops populations in South Africa as part of his travels in search of succulent plants.





Tom Knapik. TBA





Marlon Machado was born in Salvador, Bahia, in northeastern Brazil, and at an early age he developed a keen interest in plants. He began to collect cacti when he was fifteen, and in time his curiosity about these plants led him to start to study cacti in more detail, specially the cacti native to northeastern Brazil. He has published articles in several journals devoted to cacti and succulents, and he has also published a book about the genus Uebelmannia together with Australian Rudolf Schulz. His passion for cacti and plants in general induced him to study botany, in which he got a master's degree in January 2005 at the State University of Feira de Santana, Bahia, with a thesis on the genetic and morphologic variability of Discocactus species. Recently Marlon has been working at the Institute for Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Switzerland, conducting a study of the relationships of species within the genus Parodia (Notocactus).


A Trip to the Pampas: the Cacti of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

The state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil has a rich cactus flora, with over 50 species, the majority of which in the genera Parodia (Notocactus), Frailea, and Gymnocalycium. Unlike the cactus flora of the drier northern region of Brazil, where most species are columnar, in Rio Grande do Sul the cacti are small, globular, and are mostly found growing on low rocky areas scattered in the Pampas - an area of natural grasslands found on flat plains and low rolling hills, that covers most of the region.


The Discocacti and Melocacti of Brazil

Plants of these two genera are usually globular cacti with a striking feature: at maturity they develop a differentiated flowering region, termed the cephalium. The majority of the species of both genera are only found in Brazil, and it is the diversity of species found in the country that is the subject of this talk.


Todd Masilko is a native of North Dakota but has lived in southern California for the past 17 years. He has a background in Industrial Design and is currently an instructor in the Interaction Design and Industrial Design departments at Pasadenaʼs Art Center College of Design and runs a Pasadena based product design consultancy. Todd has been an enthusiastic grower of cacti and succulents for nearly 10 years and is a member of the San Gabriel Cactus and Succulent Society. In addition to growing plants, he is a photography enthusiast. Over the last several years, he has traveled to observe and photograph plants in habitats in the Canary Islands, Yemen and Socotra, Baja California and mainland Mexico, and Namibia, as well as California and the southwestern United States.


Pachycauls and Stem Succulents in the Wild and the Garden

Todd will include a selection of plants from Baja and mainland regions of Mexico, Yemen, Socotra, and Namibia.


Succulents of Southern California and Surrounding Ecosystems

This talk will include habitat and cultivation notes on cacti and succulents native to coastal Southern California and adjacent islands, winter rainfall influenced regions of Baja California, and adjacent areas of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.


Dr. Matthew Opel is a horticulturist at the University of Connecticut Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Plant Growth Facility, and president of the Connecticut Cactus and Succulent Society. Matt grew up in New York, and was interested in succulents, bromeliads, carnivorous plants and the natural world in general from a young age. Matt’s Ph.D. is in botany. During his undergrad and grad student years, Matt was employed for several summers at Mesa Garden and Steven Hammer’s Sphaeroid Institute. Matt’s doctoral research at the University of Connecticut focused on the morphology and evolution of the dwarf leaf-succulent genus Conophytum, from southern Africa, where he spent three field seasons. He has written about mesembs and other South African desert plants for the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Haseltonia, Veld & Flora and the Mesemb Study Group Bulletin.


Nomenclature, Evolution and Succulent Plants

Whatever happened to the genus Monadenium? Or to the milkweed family, Asclepiadaceae? This talk will examine a few of the ways that modern evolutionary investigations have altered the taxonomic landscape for our favorite plants.


Conophytum – In the Veld and Under Glass

Conophytum comprises a diverse group of more than 100 species of (generally minute) succulents, distributed primarily in the arid winter-rainfall regions of South Africa. We will look at how these fascinating little plants survive in their harsh native haunts, and find out how to grow them in a cool greenhouse or sunny windowsill.


Jackie M. Poole was born and raised in Kerrville, Texas and became interested in botany as a child accompanying her father collecting edible plants in the Texas Hill Country. She received her master’s degree in Botany from the University of Texas at Austin and currently is the rare plants botanist for the Wildlife Diversity Program (formerly the Texas Natural Heritage Program) within the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Previously she held curatorial positions in the herbaria at Harvard University and the University of Texas. Jackie has surveyed and photographed most of the rare and endangered plants of Texas and has co-authored two books on the subject. She is recognized as the authority on the rare cacti and succulents of the state. She has also conducted field work in New Mexico, Montana, Mexico, Honduras, and Brazil, in addition to traveling to various parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is most appropriate to have Jackie introducing us to the cacti and succulents of Texas as Austin will be the site of the next (2013) CSSA convention.


Spiny or Not: An Overview of Texas Cacti and Succulents

Jackie’s first talk will be a quick tour of hundreds of cacti and succulents that occur throughout Texas from the western deserts to the eastern Pineywoods and from the coastal dunes to the Panhandle plains.


Seldom Seen: An Intimate Look at the Rarest Cacti and Succulents of Texas

The second program will be a closer look at the 50 rarest cacti and succulents of Texas including their habitats, threats, and conservation. 


Dr. Jon Rebman has been Curator of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum since 1996. He received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University researching the chollas of Baja California; cactus systematics, especially on the Opuntioidea, is still the focus of his research program. Dr. Rebman has been very active in partnering with Mexican colleagues to study the flora of Baja California and developing a checklist of the plants of the peninsula and neighboring islands. Jon is also the lead botanist on the San Diego County Plant Atlas Project. San Diego County is the most botanically diverse county in the contiguous United States and it has been identified as an international 'hotspot' of biodiversity. This project seeks to inventory the plants of the county and their distributions.


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Dr. Reid Moran was Curator of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum from 1957 to 1982. Dr. Moran was an avid explorer of Baja California and his research specialty was the Crassulaceae. One of his favorite spots was Isla Guadalupe off the Pacific Coast of Baja California. This talk will be a tribute to Dr. Moran and an update on the special plants found on Isla Guadalupe.


Dr. Guillermo Rivera was born in Cordoba, Argentina. He has a Ph.D. in Botany from the

University of Cordoba, and was a researcher there for a time before forming a tour company named South America Nature Tours. He leads tours to show the diversity of succulents, bromeliads, orchids, and birds in most countries of South America. Dr. Rivera will be our tour operator and guide on CSSA Tour 2012: Argentina and his talk on Argentina will be a preview of the plants we may see on that trip.


Diversity of Cacti in Northwestern Argentina

This presentation will cover several provinces from central and Northwestern Argentina, from salt flats to high elevation Puna habitats. Gymnocalycium, Trichocereus, and Parodia will be well represented among the cactus discussed, as well as some bromeliads and wildlife. The talk will emphasize the importance of the knowledge of variation among individuals in a population and among individuals of different populations as a key factor defining "species".


Cacti of Peru: Land of the Incas

The talk will cover a voyage through the whole country of Peru: from the dry deciduous forest in the north around the cities of Chiclayo and Jaen, to the lower slopes of the Andes into the Amazon region. We will see amazing matucanas in flower, high elevation oroyas, spectacular neoraimondias and the most incredible bromeliad, Puya raimondii, with its inflorescences of over 20 feet tall.


Prof. Gideon F. Smith is Chief Director of Biosystematics Research and Biodiversity Collections at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). He also holds the John Acocks Professorial Chair in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Pretoria. Prior to that he was Director at the National Botanical Institute. He is involved in various national and international professional associations and advisory committees; for example he served as President of the International Organisation for Succulent Plant Study (IOS) 1998‑2000. His research interests are in taxonomy and floristics, particularly of southern African succulent plants. He is author or co-author of 35 books and more than 550 scientific and semi-scientific papers. Professor Smith has received numerous awards for his research and environmental work, including the Fellow Award from CSSA, the Allen Dyer Medal from the Succulent Society of South Africa, and the Cactus d’Or from the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study.


Aloes and Their Relatives

With over 550 species of Aloe known today, there are few African landscapes that do not host at least some species of this prominent group of plants. This talk explores recent trends in the taxonomy of these fascinating plants. Additional reference will be made to the uses and biology of aloes and their kin.


Succulents in Southern Africa

The southern African landscape is host to the richest succulent plant flora globally. With over 4,500 species of succulent plants indigenous to the subcontinent, it represents the hottest of hotspots for this fascinating growth form. The talk will give an overview of some developments in succulent plant research in southern Africa.


Karen Zimmerman, Huntington Botanic Gardens


An Insider's Tour of the Huntington Desert Collections

A look at the history, plants and people of the Huntington's potted cactus and succulent collections.


Curious Aloes. Hybridizing Aloes: Past and Present with Future Possibilities

This talk is co-authored with Kelly Griffin. Both have been productive hybridizers of fantastical aloes and this talk will discuss some of these amazing plants as well as the original parental species.



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