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 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.

Presenter: Scott McMahon

Scott holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Plant Protection from the College of Agriculture, University of Arizona, 1977.

He worked for 5 years in the ag chemical business and held Pest Control Advisor licenses in both Arizona and California.

He has more than 40 years’ experience in landscaping and maintenance in the Phoenix area.

He has been twice past president of the Central AZ Cactus and Succulent Society, and is an honorary lifetime member.

He has been collecting cacti and succulents for over 40 years.

Because of his knowledge of Spanish, he has participated in three workshops on desert plants in Mexico.

He is a second generation native Arizonan.

He was a certified arborist for 15 years and managed the cactus collection at the Desert Botanical Garden from 2006 to 2020.

He has taught classes on various subjects for the Desert Landscaper School, as well as other classes at the DBG and off-site on cacti, succulents, and other subjects pertaining to desert plants.

Retired in 2020, he has been enjoying working on his own collection of cacti, succulents, and desert landscape plants.

Program: The Cochimi

The Cochimí were the native inhabitants of central Baja California from El Rosario in the north to San Javier in the south.  They were simple hunter-gatherers with no knowledge of agriculture or metallurgy.  They may have learned the technique of pottery-making before the arrival of the Spanish, but their culture was simple, conforming to their arid environment and nomadic lifestyle.  They relied on fishing in the coastal areas and gathering fruits including cactus and seeds for survival in other areas.

Colonization of the Baja Peninsula began in the early 17th Century with arrival of Sebastián Vizcaíno, exploring the present-day site of Cabo San Lucas, where he faced a force of 800 native warriors.  Vizcaíno did manage to build a fort at La Paz, but after a skirmish with the local natives the post had to be abandoned.  Other attempts to establish settlements at La Paz and at San Bruno, north of Loreto failed due to lack of resources and unreliable supplies from the mainland.  In 1697, Jesuit missionaries began establishing missions, eventually building 16 throughout the length of the Baja Peninsula.  To make the missions successful, the natives had to be concentrated in rancherías located near the missions.  This made the aboriginal groups susceptible to smallpox, typhus, measles, and other infectious Old World diseases.  By 1767, with the expulsion of the Jesuits and the subsequent occupation by the Dominicans, the indigenous populations had declined past the point of recovery.

The vast majority of Baja Indians have disappeared, and those that have survived in the north are represented by as few as a dozen individuals or as many as a few hundred.  By the time of the 1900 census, people speaking indigenous languages had dropped to 1,111.  Those tribes speaking the language of the Yuman Linguistic family, including the Cochimí, whose ancestors had migrated to the Baja Peninsula thousands of years ago had almost disappeared by the 2000 census.  Most of the Cochimí speakers live in Ensenada, Mexicali, and Tecate, having lost their culture over a hundred years ago.

In the central mountains of the Baja Peninsula lies the Great Mural region, containing the Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco, a UNESCO World Heritage site. These pictographs and petroglyphs lie within the historic territory of the Cochimí, and the late prehistoric Comondú Complex, being dated as long ago as 7500 years.  It is not known if the ancestors of the Cochimí were responsible for the paintings, because they denied it to eighteenth-century Jesuit missionaries.  The French naturalist Leon Diguet made the first studies of the area between 1889 and 1913.

The Viscaíno Biosphere Reserve, created in 1988, is the largest wildlife refuge in Mexico and covers over 9625 square miles.  The preserve is named after Sebastián Viscaíno, and was one of the areas inhabited by the Cochimí.  The Mammillaria subgenus Cochemiea is named after these ancient people.  Ferocactus diguetii is named after Leon Diguet.