Meeting Location: DBG – Dorrance Hall
Meeting Time: 2:00 p.m.

The monthly meetings will include:

  • Announcements of upcoming meetings and events
  • Club news
  • a Silent Plant Auction
  • a monthly presentation

Members frequently bring in cuttings to share on the free plant table.

We meet at 2:00 pm the last Sunday of most months at the Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, Arizona. The general meeting begins at 2 pm but you can come early to socialize and peruse the Silent Auction plants. Here is a map of the Garden.

Our Board meets monthly to discuss CACSS business; all members are welcome to attend Board meetings.

This month’s presenter: Greg Starr

Agave ovatifolia


Greg Starr Bio

Greg was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, and has grown to love the desert and its flora and fauna. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, and after working in the landscape industry he went back to the University to study Botany and further his education in horticulture. Greg worked for Warren Jones (co-author of Plants for Dry Climates and Landscape Plants for Dry Regions) and Dr. Charles Mason at the University of Arizona herbarium. Greg made his first foray into the world of collecting in 1979 when he traveled with Warren and Bill Kinneson to Texas where he saw firsthand, in habitat, the many plants he had only experienced in the nursery or landscapes. He emerged from the University in 1985 with a Master of Science in Horticulture with a special emphasis on botany.

He opened Starr Nursery in the summer of 1985 and has specialized in low water use plants for landscaping in southern Arizona. Greg has traveled extensively in Mexico and the southwestern United States to study the plants for their potential landscape use in desert regions of the world. He has also traveled to South Africa and recently to Madagascar in search of juicy succulents.

Greg has written several horticultural articles for the journal Desert Plants. Topics have covered various groups of plants as well as botanizing in South Africa. He has also described four new species and a subspecies of Agave, three new species of Hesperaloe, and revised the genus Hesperaloe in a monograph published in the journal Madroño. The first Agave species Greg described was Agave ovatifolia. He worked with Dr. Jose Angel Villarreal in describing this amazing plant which has been dubbed Whale’s Tongue Agave, a reflection of the incredibly wide leaves that sometimes double as water harvesting vessels. He and Dr. Tom Van Devender described Agave parviflora subsp. densiflora a new find from the Sierra Madre Occidental in eastern Sonora. Since 2010, Greg has focused intensively on the Agaves of Baja California and he and Bob Webb described Agave azurea, a new species from the Picachos de Santa Clara, and submitted a revision for the genus on the Baja California peninsula to the journal Haseltonia which came out in January 2015. His two most recent new species are Agave cremnophila from southern Oaxaca with Julia Etter and Martin Kristen, and the long overdue Agave oteroi from Puebla/Oaxaca with Tristan Davis.

Greg’s first book, Cool Plants for Hot Gardens, was released at the end of April 2009 and is currently out of print. His second book, titled Agaves: Living Sculptures for Landscapes and Containers, was released in early May of 2012. He was a co-author for the recently released Field Guide to the Cacti and Other Succulents of Arizona. He has taught Plant Biology and Plant Materials classes at The Art Center Design College in Tucson for their program of Landscape Architecture

Greg spends most of his days tapping at the computer hoping another book will take shape, preparing PowerPoint presentations and tending to Starr Nursery, specializing in agaves and related plants as well as other succulents and new introductions of perennials, flowering shrubs, and small trees from arid and semi-arid regions around the world.


Presentation Title:  New or Reconsidered Agave species Post Gentry

In 1982, Howard Scott Gentry produced the most comprehensive monograph titled, Agaves of Continental North America. Gentry was an intrepid explorer and collector, spending over 30 years studying the genus in addition to his primary research on the genus Phaseolus for the USDA. Agaves have become quite popular both scientifically and with more exploration of Mexico and the southwestern U.S., there have been many new discoveries. In fact, in the 37 years since the publication of Agaves of Continental North America, there has been so much activity surrounding the genus that 52 species have either been newly discovered or reevaluated. For example, in the “group” Striatae, Gentry listed three species, Agave dasylirioides, Agave striata, and Agave stricta. That number currently stands at 11 species with potentially more on the horizon. Much of this is due to new roads opening areas that were previously nearly impossible to access. Sometimes, a species complex has been reevaluated and species names previously considered synonyms of another name are now considered valid. For example, Gentry considered Agave kerchovei to be a highly variable, polymorphic species and included five other names as synonyms. Further investigation has revealed that two of those names are distinct entities and have been elevated back to species status.

This brand-new presentation of Greg’s will delve into some of the newly described species and some of the reconsidered names. He will take the mystery out of some of these new species and address controversy surrounding others. If you like agaves, there are now even more to like, so come on out and find a new favorite.