March 7, 2019, Thursday, 7 pm
Atascadero Kiwanis Hall
Mixer and Browse Sales Table 7 pm, Program 7:30 pm
The native cacti of California are wonderful, but they are new-comers …
Cacti originated in South America and evolved there for millions of years before any cactus was able to migrate to North America. In South America, there are still cacti that are ordinary leafy trees, cacti adapted to jungles, others that are at home next to snow banks high in the Andes. Argentina has giant columnar cacti that look like California’s saguaros, and nearby grow dwarf cacti that are smaller than your little finger when mature and flowering. Many cacti have spines that are modified into glands that secrete nectar: the cacti have a bargain with ants, trading a bit of sugar water for protection against mites.
James Mauseth is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, and a world-famous plant anatomist and cactus expert. An award-winning teacher, he has been invited to teach Plant Anatomy at Cal Poly this quarter. Jim’s specialty is plant anatomy, studying the cells and tissues of cacti and comparing them to the equivalent parts of plants that have more ordinary structures typical of non-succulent plants. He has traveled extensively in South America, and is a Fellow of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America. He will present a talk entitled The Evolution and Diversity of Cacti.