The Strangeness of Mesembs

With Steven Brack
SPECIAL DATE AND TIME – Sunday, June 18, 2022 – 11:30 am Pacific Time

Steve Brack posing with mesembs


Live at the SFSCS Show and Sale ON SUNDAY June 18, this special presentation combines our June meeting and the summer installment of MesembsVirtually. Watch this and other presentations that weekend in-person at the San Francisco County Fair Building, or join the international audience and watch on Zoom.

Program Description

How do you survive in a surreal landscape? Members of the mesemb family (also known as ice plants) have adapted to live in dry climates by making thick succulent leaves (or in a few cases roots). Other desert plants like cacti have spines to keep away herbivores, but mesembs solved this problem by having a discouragingly bitter taste. Due to South Africa’s stable climate over a long time frame they have evolved into a myriad of shapes and colors. If you watch the talk you will also learn about anisophylly, where plants have uneven leaf pairs.

Images from Steven Brack’s presentation

Steve Brack started growing cacti and succulents from seed in 1970 and caught the bug. In 1976 he and his wife started Mesa Garden – one of the most respected seed nurseries in the hobby – and operated it for 41 years. He is well known as a presenter and explorer of succulent ecosystems from South Africa to his home state of New Mexico.

As this is part of our “Stranger than Fiction” show and sale event, if you are watching on Zoom, tune in at 11:00am (California) or 7:00pm UK for a live look at some of the show tables on display in the same room. Note that your local times may vary.

MesembsVirtually is a quarterly zoom lecture series produced by the San Francisco Succulent & Cactus Society, the Manchester Branch of the British Cactus and Succulent Society, and the International Mesemb Study Group.

SFSCS Members please note: There is NO meeting at the regular Tuesday evening time in June. We will instead have a volunteer evening for people willing to help sort through the detritus of the event. See your newsletter for details.

Meeting Agenda (all times given in (Pacific Daylight Time)

10:45 Room opens
11:00 Show tour
11:30 Formal presentation starts
12:30 Maybe another quick look at the show tables

Watch Online

On Zoom: Join the meeting in progress.
Meeting ID: 882 6023 5854
Passcode: mesemb

Or watch the simulcast on our Facebook page:

Upcoming Events

  • There will be NO third Tuesday meeting in June,
  • Saturday June 17th at 2:00pm –
    Success with Succulents: Growing Techniques
    Ernesto Sandoval, former curator at UC Davis Botanical Conservatory offers an exploration of the science behind growing succulents.
Stranger than Fiction - flyer front. an image of an astronaut finding a strange cactus in an alien desert landscape. All text is included in page contents