November 2012

BAJA BOTANICAL JOURNEY: November 10-14, 2013
Come discover the Cape region of Baja California! Enjoy traveling with experienced plant experts, from the Sarcocaule desert, sacred cardon cactus forests and tropical coasts to the subtropical dry forests and oak/pine mountains of the Southeastern region of the Baja Peninsula. Here is a land where white granite takes on sensuous forms, where towering cardon cactus, aromatic copal trees, crystalline pools and feral hotsprings dream extinct dreams. Amazing diverse ecosystems home to myriad rare medicinal and edible cacti, succulents and other fascinating plants, as many as 88 endemic species. Visit Buena Fortuna Botanical Garden created by renowned botanist Gabriel Howearth. Enjoy deserted beaches, wildflower displays, exotic native fruits and voluminous nights brimming with stars. Learn about local plant uses and contribute to conservation efforts. Immerse in the calming medicine of the land. Join us for this incomparable adventure!
For itinerary see?
$750 dollars per person. Space is limited! Register Now!

Extension Trip: Journey to the Mountain Top of Sierra la Laguna: November 14-17
With local guide and mules make the pilgrimage on foot from the subtropical dry forest canyons up through diverse changing habitats of cardon cactus, endemic oak and torote (copal oro) trees to the unique oak/pine ecosystem at the 5,600′ mountain summit where we make camp. Marvel at the expansive views of the peninsula, learn about the unusual confluence of plant species found only in this rarely visited one-of-a-kind ecosystem. Extension Trip $350 per person.

Prices include all in country transport, lodging, food, guides and nature reserve fees. It does not include gratuities, airfare or travel insurance.
Ben Kamm Ethnobotanical researcher, conservation horticulturalist, and student of the herbalist traditions of the world. Ben is dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of traditional and contemporary plant knowledge as well as the plants themselves.
Dennis SharmahdEdible Landscaper, Herbalist, Mycologist. Dennis has been exploring Baja since he was a child. Cultivates rare and edible cactus fruits on his farm in Escondido, CA. He has been teaching about wild edible & medicinal plants for almost 30 years.
Gabriela Flores– Conservationist, Baja guide and trip coordinator.

For registration and other inquiries contact Gabriela at –


August 21, 2012
I’ll be giving a presentation on Andean Peperomia to the SF Cactus & Succulent Society.
Anyone can come. A little taste of the Andes through the lens of Peperomia.
I’ll be offering plants for sale 7 to 7:30 pm pre-presentation. The actual talk is at 8pm, County Fair building, Golden Gate Park, 9th and Lincoln, San Francisco.

Peperomia of the Andes
Many of us have lived our lives with a few humble Peperomia as common houseplants, yet most species and their beneficial nature are unknown outside their native habitats. Peperomia is a huge pan-tropical and subtropical genus of well over 1000 species. Close kin to such notables as black pepper and kava-kava, and rich in aromatic essential oils. Typically small plants, many of which are succulent, with a shocking and joyous diversity of morphological expression, from colorful gem-like leaves to caudex forming geophytes. We will view slides of the species met during my explorations in Andean Peru and Bolivia. You’ll see their diverse habitats, from the endangered Andean forests to exposed 14,000′ slopes. I’ll discuss their ecology, their vital role in traditional Andean medicine, their etherial aromas and flavors, and biochemistry. I will also share my horticultural experiences meeting the sometimes challenging needs of certain species including propagating the plants from seed.