The Bakersfield Cactus and Succulent Society

The Bakersfield Cactus & Succulent Society meets the second Tuesday of each month at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2216 17th Street Bakersfield California. A "social half-hour" begins at 6:30 PM and the real meeting starts at 7:00 PM. Everyone is welcome! This MAP might help you find the place.

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NEXT MEETING: July 11, 2017 6:30PM

"The Genus Hechtia" presented by Andy Siekkinen

The genus Hechtia is a succulent genus in the bromeliad family that is only found in Mexico and surrounding regions. It has long been understudied, and frankly ignored, but this past decade has seen a burst of interest that is continuing to reveal more and more interesting species. In the last 8 years the genus has grown by around 50% and with Andy’s new discoveries, it will easily grow by that much more in the coming few years. In cultivation, Hechtia are usually thought of the big, ugly brother of Dyckia and Deuterocohnia, but with the new species making it into cultivation and first serious hybridization program started, we will start to have many new gems to add to our collections and xeric gardens soon.

This talk will give some background to the genus relative to the rest of the family (they are actually only distantly related to the fellow succulent genera from South America, Dyckia and Deuterocohnia) and cover the basic biology of the genus—including a quick look at the evolutionary relationships within the genus. Then we will go on a tour through the varied habitats taking a closer look at many of the species, including many of the recently published and yet-undescribed plants. We can learn a lot about how to cultivate these plants better by looking at the habitats and think how to maximize their potential. In Southern California, and San Diego in particular, we are spoiled as our climate is ideal for these tough, drought-adapted plants, but Bakersfield may take a few tricks to ensure their success. The program will wrap up with examples of new hybrids that are in development and how to grow these plants in our area.

Andy Siekkinen is a graduate student at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden/Claremont Graduate University studying the systematics (taxonomy, anatomy, biology, and evolutionary relationships) of the genus Hechtia as well as other bromeliads. He began exploring Mexico and studying the genus over 7 years ago as the recession provided a strong encouragement to leave his previous life as a nanoparticle chemist. During that time he had been provided tours to Mexico for ‘botanical and cultural adventures’ for small groups with his company Eagle Eye Adventures, which is currently on hiatus during his graduate studies.

see the newsletter for more information

July 11th BCSS Meeting: Andy Siekkinen:"Bromeliads"

July 26 - 31: CSSA Convenion Tempe Arizona

August 8th BCSS Meeting


September 2: Succulent Symposium Huntington Botanical Gardens

Succulent Garden Work Day: TBA

Things you may want to bring: hand weeding tools, knee-pad, bottled water, maybe a bucket, gloves and be prepared to get dirty, especially if the soil is wet.

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