Succulent Society of South Africa
Telephone and Fax :+27 12 993 3588 Email address:

Succulents may be described as plants which are adapted to store water in their leaves, branches or stem bases in order to be able to survive long periods without water. These fleshy storage organs led to their descriptive name in Afrikaans: vetplant (fat plant). As can be expected, most succulents are found in arid parts of the world, although some are also adapted to grow in areas with a high rainfall.

Southern Africa is one of the most succulent rich areas in the world. Of the world's approximately 10,000 succulent species, more than one third (approximately 3,700 species) originate from Southern Africa. The fact that the recent definitive set of postage stamps in the R.S.A. depicts a number of the vast variety of succulents in the country, acknowledges the importance of succulents in the flora of the area.

There are a number of reasons for the interest succulents enjoy among plant- and nature lovers, gardeners and botanists. The ability to survive in the most hostile environment, the fascinating growth forms and lovely flowers which occur amongst these plants, the fact that the plants can be transplanted fairly easily and can in the most instances grow happily for weeks and even months without any care, all lead to the special interest succulents enjoy.

From the viewpoint of conservation there is also enough reason to devote special attention to succulents. A delicate balance exists in the habitat of most of these plants. A slight disturbance in this balance may endanger their survival seriously. Many succulents are also endangered by the fact that they are much sought after collectors' items, which leads to the illegal removal of plants from the veld.

The South African Aloe and Succulent Society was founded in 1963 when a few succulent enthusiasts realised that Southern Africa's richness in succulents and the wide interest in the plants necessitated a society which has as its aims the conservation of these plants and the making available of both information on succulents and the plants themselves. In 1988 the name was shortened to the Succulent Society of South Africa.

The Society publishes a quarterly journal with the name ALOE. Articles in the journal range from popular information on the cultivation of the succulents to scientific descriptions of new succulent species. A number of colour photos of plants in habitat are included in each issue. These illustrations are very helpful in the identification of plants, both in collections and in the veld. In the journal emphasis is placed on plants from Southern Africa, although succulents from the rest of the world (like the well known cacti which occur mainly in the Americas) also feature regularly. The journal has already attained international status and is highly esteemed among succulent enthusiasts the world over. As the journal is distributed internationally, it is published almost entirely in English. Sample pages and contents of Volume 35:2 (1998) are on-line

In future the journal contents list will be published on a www page:

Vol 35, No 3&4
Vol 36, No 1
Vol 36, No 2&3
Vol 36, No 4

Information is also distributed amongst members by way of the regular newsletter called KAMBROO (a vernacular name of a number of succulents like Fockea and Raphionacme). In this newsletter activities of the Society and its branches as well as other matters which are of interest to members are made known. Members have, for instance, the opportunity to swop plants and seed.

A library, specialising in publications on succulents and related plants and named in honor of Dr. G W Reynolds, who did pioneering work on Aloes, is being established to give members the opportunity to enlarge their knowledge and to obtain needed information.

To give members an opportunity to build up plant collections without endangering plants in nature, pure seed, is made available to members. Expeditions are also undertaken to areas where plants are being destroyed due to development. These plants are then re-established in gardens or other suitable areas.

A number of branches in various cities and towns in South Africa take care of the interests of local members and attend locally to matters such as conservation. A list of branches appears on the application form. Members may also join one of the clubs or interest groups which concentrate their attention on a specific family or group of succulents. Regular slide shows, plant exhibitions, visits to members' gardens and collections, outings to the veld and other meetings are organized by the branches, clubs and interest groups. Information and advice on cultivation of succulents plays an important role at meetings which there is also ample opportunity to socialize and make friends.

The SSSA is planning a conference (Succulenta 2000) with associated field trips for August/September 2000. Full details of Succulenta 2000, including on-line booking are now available.

. Membership thus allows a member the following privileges:

How does one become a member of the Society?

Membership is available on application to the above email address
Membership fees are payable in advance and membership is for a calendar year. Members joining during the year receive all issues of the journal ALOE and tbe newsletter KAMBROO published during the year.

The council of the Succulent Society invites you to become a member of the Society. You can now subscribe on-line.

Objects of the Society

The objects of the society are to promote knowledge, the cultivation and conservation of succulents and to make a contribution to the protection and conservation of all indigenous flora and their habitat by:
  1. Co-operating with authorities and other bodies.
  2. Supporting research on succulents financially and otherwise.
  3. Providing information and issuing publications.
  4. Establishing a reference library.
  5. Establishing and developing a botanical garden.
  6. Re-establishing flora in its natural habitat.
  7. Making available cultivated seed and plant material.
  8. Donating indigenous flora for cultivation in public gardens, parks and spaces.
  9. Organising excursions, exhibitions and lectures.
  10. In general, performing any function or activity on a discerning and organised basis towards observing and promoting the objects of the Society.


The Secretary, Succulent Society of South Africa, Private Bag X10, 0011 Brooklyn, Pretoria, South Africa

Or request a membership application form to be sent to you: