Past Webinar: Tristian Davis – Once upon a time in Oaxaca

Back in 2017, while tromping around in the backcountry canyons of southern Mexico, a very strange cactus was discovered. Tristian Davis will take you on this journey of discovery, and along the way, you will see some of the sights and other plants in these little-studied remote canyons.

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Date: February 17th, 2024
Time: 10AM Pacific Time (California)

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Once upon a time in Oaxaca:  The Story of Thelocactus tepelmemensis

Back in 2017, while tromping around in the backcountry canyons of southern Mexico in search of data for an Agave project, a very strange cactus was encountered.  The cactus didn’t fit any known cactus and caused a flurry of guesses from all in-the-know.  In record time, we were able to return to the location to secure specimens for further study and conclude it was a unique undescribed species.  This presentation will take you on the journey as it happened for us – from its initial discovery and confusion to its final crowning with a name.  Along the way, you’ll get to see some of the sights and plants we encountered during the project in these little-studied remote canyons.  And, perhaps in the end, you’ll be able to forgive us for giving it such a tongue-twister of a name.

About our Speaker

Born into a very “outdoorsy” family, Tristan was introduced to the natural World at a very young age.  His initial interest was specific to South American birds, and subsequent education at Louisiana State University and the University of Kansas allowed him to accompany scientific expeditions to most South American countries, as well as China, the Philippines, Liberia, and Equatorial Guinea.  It was obvious early on in his travels that Tristan much preferred those locations with less humidity (western Peru, the pampas of Argentina, etc.), and this was a significant reason he moved to Arizona in 2001. 

Once arriving in Arizona, Tristan readily transitioned his scientific passions to cacti and succulents, and although Tristan has authored numerous scientific publications related to ornithology, he published his first paper on desert succulents in 2011 in the Cactus & Succulent Journal. 

 He currently grows a significant cactus and agave collection and concentrates on growing from seed rare and unusual species of South American cacti, especially Brazilian species.

Tristan’s current research and scientific travels include Mexican agaves and relatives (with Greg Starr), the genus Fouquieria, Peruvian Puya, and South American Cleistocactus, as well as neotropical birds. And whatever else piques his interest along the way. Tristan currently resides in Chandler, AZ and is an Adjunct Researcher with the Biodiversity Institute (University of Kansas) and a member of the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society (TCSS) and Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society (CACSS).  He served on the Board of Directors for the CACSS, and currently administers the Propagation Education Group (PEG) and Seed Depot for the society.  Tristan also volunteers at the Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix). 

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Photo Credits: Tristian Davis