|Traveling in East Africa is an interesting experience, to say the least. Most Americans seem to believe it is too dangerous to go there, but in our travels, we find it mostly to be filled with inconveniences, bribes, friendship, treachery, wild animals, and non-stop entertainment. Our recent trip, dedicated to hunting down species of Sansevieria, is representative of our travels in Africa and Arabia. We met three dedicated Sansevieria hunters with vastly different agendas, but all three are fascinated -- even consumed -- by this outstanding genus, which is far more than that Mother-in-Law's Tongue you see everywhere.
Taxonomically, the genus Sansevieria is a mess. This morphologically diverse genus spans the region from South Africa to southeast Asia, but the biodiversity hotspot is Kenya and Tanzania. We are working with Professor Len Newton of Kenyatta University in Nairobi to try and unravel the Gorgonian knot. We also are working with a molecular chemist to see if DNA can help solve some of the riddles this genus offers, but molecular data, while compelling, offers few answers and many more questions. Exciting new species are part of the norm with this genus as we travel into some of the most interesting parts of East Africa.
Bob has worked on land-use issues, landscape ecology and conservation concerns of the southwestern United States and Baja California for more than 35 years. For the past 17 years, he has worked with Mexican government scientists on plant conservation issues in Baja California centering on cirio, cardon, and other charismatic species that are iconic to the peninsula. He has a Ph.D from the University of Arizona in Geosciences (1985) and has worked for the National Research Program of the U.S. Geological Survey for nearly 25 years.
Bob Webb has collected succulent plants for over 29 years. For his day job, he is a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Tucson; however, he has worked as a plant ecologist in the southwestern United States and Baja, California for nearly 35 years. He's been traveling to the Arabian Peninsula and Africa since the mid-1990s and has visited Oman, Kenya, Socotra, Yemen and South Africa in search of succulent plants.
Bob has produced around 200 publications, including 12 books, with many more on the way. Several of these books are benchmark volumes on environmental change in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. Bob Webb and Toni Yocum are owners of Arid Lands Greenhouses at 3560 W. Bilby Road Tucson AZ 85746 Phone: (520) 883-9404.
Bob's programs are always a must see for everyone. Please bring your friends and anyone interested in an inside look at these amazing plants that are seldom given the attention they deserve.