Next Meeting:

Gasteria: South Africa's Big Smile

By Brian Kemble
Tuesday, April 21, 7:00 pm

Location: Auditorium in the San Francisco County Fair Building, 9th Ave and Lincoln Way, San Francisco MAP

Why have I called my program on Gasteria: 'South Africa's Big Smile"? It's not because they look amusing, with their plump flowers and tongue-like leaves, but because the distribution of the genus is shaped like a big smile, starting near the Namibia-South Africa border in the northwest, extending down along the west coast and all the way across the southern part of the country, and then up the east coast to the Transvaal in the country's northeast. There are 24 recognized species, along with a number of subspecies and varieties, and all of them occur in South Africa, with a little spill-over into neighboring countries at either end of the "smile". The talk will include lots of habitat photos as well as pictures of plants in cultivation.

SFSCS Vice-President Brian Kemble has given numerous presentations for the club in past years, but this is the first time he has done a program on Gasteria. He has been growing these wonderful plants since the 70's, and has sought them out in his travels in South Africa. Though related to Aloe and Haworthia, the genus Gasteria has a charm all its own, with its dangling, pot-bellied flowers and the great range of textures and markings found in its leaves.

The Featured Grower for April will be our own society. Marilyn Mangle will bring an assortment of the club's plants which she has been looking after at her home in Rodeo.

What to bring:

For the Show & Tell table, we will feature Gasteria on the succulent side, and Echinopsis (including Lobivia, Trichocereus and Soehrensia) on the cactus side. As always, feel free to bring in anything at all that you would like to share. Please bring baked goodies, fruit, snack food or a beverage if your last name begins with the letters H to M, and any other members who would like to contribute this month.

A generous offer from

Anyone, club member or not, who makes a purchase from can earn credit for the San Francisco Succulent & Cactus Society. The credit amounts to 10% of your purchases, which in turn, the club would use to purchase books for our library. is an online bookseller with nearly 200 titles on succulents alone and has many other categories of plant books as well. If you are interested, please access their store using this promotional web link: