Fresno Cactus and Succulent Society
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center | 5340 N. Fresno Street, Fresno | MAP |
March 2, 2017 | Doors open at 6:30 p.m. | Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.

Canary Islands Crossroads
Presented by Russell Wagner, PhD

The Canary Islands are home of some of our most prized California gardens plants, most notably aeoniums and echiums. But it’s the diversity of it succulent flora that makes these seven islands of the coast of Morocco such a popular draw for succulentists.

Russell Wagner, former editor of Cactus and Succulent Journal, lived in Spain for two years and too the opportunity to make two trips to the Canaries, visiting the islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, and La Palma, the last specifically to see the magnificent Aeonium nobile in habitat. That island also harbors the most easily accessible wild dragon trees. At our next meeting Russell will share his photos and experiences on these wonderful islands, where all the amenities of Europe collide with a succulent smorgasbord.

The Canaries have been a great source of material for our coastal California gardens because their winter-rainfall climate is so similar to our own. Besides the everpopular aeoniums, Russell was astonished to find many beautiful species of Monadenium, Greenovia, Euphorbia (like the large candelabraform E. canariensis), Ceropegia, and Kleinia (a stem-succulent daisy). We’ll see all these, plus a smattering of succulents from the Atlas Mountains outside of Marrakesh, and a few sedums and wildflowers of mainland Spain, plus a touch of the cultural heritage of this crossroads of Arabic and Latin culture.

Russell Wagner arrived in the Bay Area to study chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley after receiving his undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia in 1994. He obtained his PhD in physical chemistry, but he found his passion for plants as a member of the San Francisco Succulent and Cactus Society. He served for seven years as editor of Cactus and Succulent Journal, and he recently started his own publishing company, Little Sphaeroid Press. Their first book, authored by Steven Hammer and the first in a series on the collectable mesembs, was just published.

Russell has an extensive collection of (mostly seed-grown) succulents, with an emphasis on the Crassulaceae (Tylecodon and Adromischus are his favorites) and mesembs. He grows plants in the ground and in his homemade, 20 × 40’ greenhouse in his yard in Oakland. Russell travels extensively to see succulent plants in habits (having been to Mexico three times, South Africa three times, Peru,. Bolivia, Morocco, and the Canary Islands, as well as throughout the desert southwest, with a particularly memorable week-long visit to Big Bend National park in Texas). He takes any opportunity to speak to cactus clubs and meet other members of the succulent plant world.

Let’s give Russell a warm welcome back to our club!

Our members will be bringing plants for purchase.

Dinner: BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, 715 East Shaw Avenue, Fresno, (559) 570-1900, menu. For reservations, contact Rosanna by Wednesday, March 1st to make reservations at 559.999.0017 or Dinner begins promptly at 5:00 p.m. Reservations under Fresno Cactus Club. Members are invited to attend.