Mexico is considered by many to be one of the richest regions in the world for cacti. From the United States to the north, to its southern border of Guatemala, there are an amazing number of genera and species to be found. These range from the tiny Turbinicarpus to the giant Pachycereus. Within the reaches of Mexico, there are many diverse geologic environments. These habitats vary from the coastal and inland low lands to its many high mountain niches. For almost 50 years, I have been lucky enough to have traveled most all of Mexico. Thus, my favorite regions for exploring include the most popular Baja California, to the mysterious Sierra Madre Occidental, and the succulent rich Sierra Madre Oriental. It is from these famous territories that the majority of the highly desired collector?s taxa are to be found.
One might think that Mexico, being so close to the United States, would have been totally explored and there would be nothing new to find. Nothing could be further from truth! We are now finding new species of cacti and other succulents at an astonishing rate. These new finds have become a reality mainly because of the construction of many new roads leading us into what was previously unexplored territory. Coahuila, Durango and Zacatecas embody many of these remote regions where few explorers have had the opportunity to botanize. And now, these areas are rapidly opening up!
The ever-popular genera of: Agave, Dasylerion, Fouquieria, Ariocarpus, Astrophytum, Aztekium, Echeveria, Gymnocactus, Mammillaria, Pelecephora and Turbinicarpus, are just a few of the genera where the addition of new species has become common. Due to all of the excitement and interest in these new plants, there have been numerous negative side effects that have evolved. This increased interest in these new plants, combined with the commercial powers of the internet/google, has created new distribution avenues for the marketing of the rare and or endangered species. Plants I have seen for many, many years are now facing new threats from commercial collecting. CITIES and the enforcement of local and international laws, regarding illegally collected plants, has had very little impact on curtailing the destruction of specific plant populations. This is especially true when plants are new or highly desired because of their scarcity in the collector?s circuit.
Come join me, as I will show you many of the new cacti and other succulents of Mexico. Also, I hope to share with you what is happening to these wonderful plants, partly as a result of our new electronic world and the power of money!
Woody, as he is commonly known, has been in the cactus hobby for some 47 years and has become well known for his participation and contributions. He has been awarded honorary life membership to ten clubs, as well as, a life member and Friend award with the CSSA (Cactus & Succulent Society of America.) His many leadership roles include: National Show Chairman, Convention Sales Chairman, Convention Speaker coordinator, 2016 Mid-States Conference Co-chair, accredited C & S judge and writer -photographer. He has also served in almost all positions of leadership for many regional clubs and is currently the president of the new Santa Fe C & S club.
Woody is probably best recognized for his many presentations. His photography is considered to be special and his commentary very entertaining and educational. After all, he was a celebrated secondary school teacher for 32 years, where he taught Art, Graphic Arts-Design and Architecture. He has now become a recognized international speaker and has presented at cactus and succulent events all over the world.
He has also authored a number of articles for various newsletters and journals including the CSSA journal and his photographs are also well published. His work is featured in many books including: ?The New Cactus Lexicon? Hunt and Charles, ?Mammillaria? Pilbeam, and ?Echeveria Cultivars? Schulz & Kapitany. Woody is the creator-originator of the first color version of the CSSA journal article ?Cacti and Succulents for the Amateur? featuring show plants, shows, and the growers of the pictured plants. He is also often called upon to do new book reviews for the CSSA journal
His involvement in the cactus and succulent world is well represented by his 45 years of field work in regions including: Africa, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Socotra, the United States and Yemen. He often goes to remote places where few, if anyone, have ever explored and as a result of this field work, he has introduced many new taxa. Also, being a recognized grower, Cactus Data Plants since 1975, Woody has developed strong interests in both succulent plant taxonomy and the many cultivation secrets that help us to grow these unique plants.