Succulenta was established in 1993 as a forum for succulent plant enthusiasts, a “working group” affiliated to Nature Kenya (the EA Natural History Society, a non-profit organisation established in 1909 to promote the understanding and conservation of nature).
We hold meetings, arrange field excursions to wild succulent plant habitats and other interesting places and issue various publications. Our quarterly Newsletter contains illustrated articles on succulent plants, including new discoveries, recent excursions, gardening with succulents and the like, together with book reviews and correspondence.
Whether your interests lie in botany or horticulture, as a member of Succulenta East Africa you can meet like-minded people and learn all about these fascinating plants. Come and join us!
Our aims and objectives are to support the cultivation, conservation, study and popularisation of succulent plants.. Members are encouraged to work for the preservation and conservation of all indigenous flora, including succulents, in natural habitats. Where destruction or degradation threaten such habitats and plant species are at risk of extinction, we aim to support botanical gardens and other protected areas which may preserve them.
We also advise members to keep threatened species in their gardens and to share them with others.
We promote field work and research by members and the production of publications and articles on succulent plant species and their natural habitats, so as to expand knowledge in these fields.
In all our endeavours we are mindful of the good offices of Nature Kenya and their work to influence Government policy and decision making.
Finally, we wish to cooperate and exchange information with any society or other body having similar objectives.
Succulent plants mostly come from arid or semi-arid environments and have evolved to store water in their leaves, stems or roots to enable them to survive and even grow during extended periods without rain.
There are many botanical groups of succulent plants: adeniums, aloes, cacti, crassulas, euphorbias, kalanchoes, kleinias and many more. Coming in all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes and sizes, from delicate creepers to architectural show-stoppers, from pot-size to tree size, they are often spectacular and always fascinating.
Nature’s design of succulents makes them perfect subjects for water-wise gardens, whether complementing mixed plantings or in special features such as rockeries. Their needs are few - just well-drained soil, sunlight and occasional feeding. An important feature, as water becomes ever more scarce, is that once established in a garden they will usually thrive on rain water alone.
Myths, rights and wrongs Many people describe all aloes as “Aloe vera” – which is wrong. In fact there are over 60 different species of aloes in Kenya alone and the total among Africa, Arabia and Madagascar exceeds 500 species. Aloe vera is not Kenyan and probably originated in Arabia, its fame deriving from widespread cultivation for its medicinal properties for over 2,000 years. All aloes are protected by law, but the clearing of land for agriculture and development purposes has led to local extinction of aloes and other succulent plants in some places.
Other threats include over-grazing and unsustainable harvesting for commercial uses and the dawa trade.That plants of many types have medicinal, culinary or other attributes is widely known; some, including many common garden plants, are poisonous, for example oleanders, frangipanis, thevetias and cycads. So it is with succulents.
Some aloes have medicinal properties, but the juices of three Kenyan aloes (A. ballyi, A. elata and A. ruspoliana), adeniums and the sap of euphorbias are highly toxic. Many succulents are also rather prickly. This should not discourage gardeners, however: it just means that some succulents need handling with a bit of care.
New members are very welcome.
The 2019/2020 subscription is KSh1,000/- per person.
Membership application forms can be downloaded or obtained via the Succulenta email address below.
Members of Succulenta must also be members of Nature Kenya. For ease of reference the Succulenta membership application form includes Nature Kenya’s membership rates for individuals, while their website shows rates for other forms of membership.
Subscriptions for both Succulenta and Nature Kenya should be paid to Nature Kenya using one of the options below. Please be sure to inform Nature Kenya how to allocate the amount upon payment.
- M-pesa; >Lipa na M-PESA >Pay bill >Business number: enter 100300 >Account: Put your name (or Nature Kenya membership number if already a member) >Amount;
Cash; at Nature Kenya offices located at the Nairobi National Museum;
Cheque; payable to Nature Kenya and post to P. O Box 44486-00100 Nairobi.
Succulenta publications are available in print as individual booklets as listed below. Two DVDs are also available: one includes the full set of the bulletin “Ballya” and the second the full set of Professor Leonard Newton’s booklets. All these may be bought from the Nature Kenya membership office at the National Museum or may be sent by post after payment for the items ordered plus packaging and postage costs (see payment options above).
1. Five volumes of “Ballya”, with 3 issues per annum from 1993 to 1998, in all 17 booklets including the index to their collective contents. “Ballya” contains detailed and technical botanical articles and others of more general interest: all are fascinating and the collection is a mine of information. Each booklet costs KShs50/-. Stocks of some are very low.
2. Booklets written by Professor Len Newton, an authority on succulent plants and a co-author of “Aloes, the Definitive Guide”. The cost is KShs200/- per booklet listed below:
A check-list of Kenyan Succulent Plants
• Taxonomy Without (too many) Tears
• The History of Succulent Plants in Kenya
• The Pollination of East African Succulent Plants
• An ABC for Succulent Plant Enthusiasts
• Uses of Succulent Plants in East Africa.
The most recent booklet “Conservation of Kenyan Succulent Plants” published in 2018 costs Ksh800/- per copy.
The “Ballya” DVD costs KSh600/- and the “Booklets” DVD KSh1,500/-.
A printed booklet “Peter Bally and his Succulent Plant Legacy”, also by Professor Len Newton, may be obtained direct from Succulenta EA or at Succulenta meetings for KSh200/-.
3. Newsletters are issued quarterly and recent issues may be downloaded free.
Payment for items ordered online may be made to Nature Kenya as described above.
Plant sales are arranged periodically by members in conjunction with KHS, the Kenya Horticultural Society. Dates and locations will be posted on the website and in Newsletters prior to the events.
Succulent plants may also be bought at good plant nurseries and at some roadside sellers.