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I am determined that the Society will support Cactus and Succulent lovers all over the world during this difficult time and we welcome members and non-members to attend. These meetings are a showcase to what the hobby is about and we welcome absolute beginners through to the more experienced amongst us. We have a Zoom licence for 500 participants and currently have almost 300 attending so we have more space for visitors (if necessary, we could extend this to 1000 participants).

The talks are scheduled to last about an hour but I have added extra time at the end to allow for any over run and also to give you an opportunity to tell me how you would like me to move the Society forward.

Please contact me, Ian Thwaites, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if you would like to offer to give future talks or are able to recommend any top-class speakers.

The meetings are open to all so please spread the word and encourage more members (and anyone else) to join in. These talks are NOT recorded and many of the lectures are one off ‘specials’ so there will not be another chance to experience the talk.

CactusWorld LIVE – Online talks for April

Topic: Derek Tribble – Eight Days in Namibia 2007

Time: Tuesday 6 April 2021 7:30pm (BST)
Meeting ID: 833 3167 2547
Passcode: bcss
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After umpteen visits to photograph succulents in Southern Africa, I was keen to reach more remote areas. When asked, Ernst van Jaarsveld (from Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens) suggested I join one of his expeditions to Namibia, exploring the southernmost mountains. This travelogue (along the lines of a ripping yarn) tells the story of botanising in these rarely visited mountains looking for new discoveries. Unusual Aloes and Mesembs were found as well as Adromischus and Tylecodon, with a backdrop of spectacular scenery

DT April 3


International Cactus and Succulent Zoom meeting (2 talks)

Topic: BCSS/DKG Special Meeting
Time: Saturday 10 Apr 2021 7:00pm BST
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Meeting ID: 851 5419 4099

Passcode: cactus

Thomas Brand - Uncommonly mean - thrips
Growers of succulent plants have often had unpleasant experiences with malformed leaves, buds and flowers, corking, discolouration and contamination on their plants. The search for the cause sometimes leads to small, elongated insects that live more or less hidden on our plants. The Western Flower Thrips in particular is infamous, and rightly so - but there are a few other thrips species, and their way of life and the possible countermeasures are also presented. This talk is not for the faint-hearted!

Since his youth, Thomas Brand has been associated with cacti and other succulents and has turned his hobby into a profession - he is a trained gardener, a qualified horticulturist and phytopathologist, which means that he deals professionally with diseases and pests on plants.

Paul Hoxey - Cactus highlights of Peru –from the Pacific coast to the high Andes
Paul has been fortunate to make a number of trips to Peru and his talk gives a flavour of the diverse habitats where cacti are found and a selection of the more than 180 species which are native to the country. Some will be familiar and others less so. There will be species which can be recommended for the greenhouse and others firmly in the category ‘best seen in habitat’ or on your computer screen during the talk.

Paul joined the BCSS back in 1987 as a teenager but had started a collection of cacti a few years earlier with a gift of a Chamaecereus silvestrii. After building up a collection, mainly through growing from seed, he first saw plants in the wild during a trip to Mexico in 1996. Although still enjoying all aspects of cultivating plants he became ‘hooked’ on looking for and finding plants in habitat.


Topic: Jo Osborne - Seed Banking in southern Africa with the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP)

Time: Tuesday 13 April 2021 7:30pm (BST)
Meeting ID: 824 8728 7573
Passcode: bcss
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In this talk Jo will introduce the conservation mission of the MSBP, explain some of the technicalities of seed collecting and banking, and highlight two MSBP programmes in South Africa and Mozambique. The MSBP has a long history in South Africa and some great conservation success stories to show for it. The programme in Mozambique is just starting out and has much potential.

Jo Osborne is the Southern Africa Programme Officer for the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership based at Wakehurst Place in the UK. She is an enthusiastic field botanist and plant conservationist.

Topic: Steven Molteno - Astroloba, and succulent patterns in the Karoo

Time: Tuesday 20 April 2021 7:30pm (BST)
Meeting: ID: 894 3170 8011
Passcode: bcss
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Botany has been one of Steven's lifelong interests, and he has had a special love of succulent plants since he first became curious about them as a child on the farm where he grew up. His day job is in a different field entirely, so he maintains his research and studies in the field in his spare time. He writes mainly on the succulent Asphodelaceae, for publications such as BradleyaTaxonHaseltonia and Haworthiad. Steven's most recent projects included a four-year study of Astroloba, followed by work on the taxonomy, morphology and phytogeography of the genus Tulista, re-packaged as an MSc last year. Although clearly the hobby is now a serious academic interest, he still claims he's never happier than when exploring and botanising in remote Karoo mountains.

Astroloba are a rather understudied genus of miniature alooids from the South African Karoo, best known for the elegant spirals formed by their tiny leaves. Recent molecular studies have uncovered their relationship to a handful of other 'dwarf aloe' genera. This broader group of alooids - AristaloeAstrolobaGonialoe and Tulista - seem to have little else obviously in common (except perhaps a tendency to grow either warts or keels on their leaves). 

This talk will give a light overview of the genus Astroloba as a starting point, before taking a look at the plants in habitat, at home, at ease, and doing what they do best. Some aspects of their habitat are quite interesting, providing tips for cultivators, and maybe even some new lines of enquiry for researchers. Finally, the talk hopes to raise some broader questions around succulents and their phytogeography. Strange distribution patterns, with even stranger correlations in morphology, are echoed in other unrelated succulent genera. They hint at larger and subtler patterns affecting the succulent flora of the world's oldest arid region.

SM April 17

Topic: Stefan Burger - Chilean Novelties

Time: Tuesday 27 April 2021 7:30pm (BST)
Meeting ID: 847 8788 0569
Passcode: bcss
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Stefan Burger, an Australian naturalist, takes us on a journey from Chile’s Mediterranean-type climate region to the hyper-arid north to see some of the lesser-seen cacti in the country.

SB April 4



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