Kenya, Land of Tropical Succulents

By Rob Skillin
Tuesday, August 20, 7:00 pm

Kenya is located in tropical east Africa and is bisected by the equator.  Weather conditions are uniformly warm (70°-90°) and humid along the sandy plains bordering the Indian Ocean.  Temperatures are cooler on the higher elevation savannas in the central area (55°-77°), and hot (75°-95°) on the arid northern plains.

In these warm areas there is a great abundance of succulents, many of which are common in enthusiasts’ collections – and the weather conditions found here give an important insight into their successful cultivation.

The Great Rift Valley cuts through the country north to south, with many major volcanic features associated with it – these areas can have a much higher elevation (Mt Kenya is 17,057’) and range from temperate to very cold.

There are two well-defined wet (monsoon) seasons; October through late November, and late March to early June.

Along with Tanzania to the south, Kenya is well known for its many world-class wildlife reserves and national parks, but wild animals are not limited to these areas and can often be seen throughout the country.

The program will feature habitat photos of the succulents of Kenya from a wide variety of plant families.

Rob has been growing cacti and succulents for 41 years and has been involved in various local societies for most of that time, starting with the San Diego C&SS in the 1970’s, then to the Santa Barbara and Bakersfield clubs. He currently belongs to the Central Coast C&SS, of which he was a founding member, first President and first Show and Sale Chairman. He has also been involved with the Cactus and Succulent Society of America as a member of its Board of Directors, and he is a CSSA certified Judge.

Along with his interest in cacti and succulents, he enjoys photography and travel. These interests have come together in a wonderful way during his botanical explorations of the western US and Mexico, plus portions of South America, Africa, Madagascar and the Middle East. He has several programs based on these trips, and he speaks regularly to clubs in northern and southern California, as well as at the Huntington Succulent Symposium and the 2019 CSSA Convention.  Many of his photographs have been published as illustrations for articles and covers of the Cactus and Succulent Journal and Haseltonia, as well as the Timber Press Guide to Succulent Plants of the World.

Rob will also be this month’s featured grower.

What to bring:

For this month’s Show & Tell table, we will feature we will feature Aloe on the succulent side and Copiapoa on the cactus side, and anything else looking good to share.

Please bring baked goodies, fruit, snack food or a beverage if your last name begins with the letters S to Z and A to B, and any other members who would like to contribute this month.

Meeting Location:

Auditorium in the San Francisco County Fair Building, 1199 9th Ave (at Lincoln Way), San Francisco — MAP