Meeting Programs:   2021 Winter/Spring Schedule

Virtual meetings will be held via Zoom on the third Friday of the month at 7 p.m. Free and open to the public. Chapter members will receive a Zoom link by email; any others interested may request a link from All are welcome.

Friday, February 19, 2021, 7 pm – Virtual Meeting.  “Plant Root + Fungal Interactions = Mycorrhizae” – presenter Keller Suberkropp

Mycorrhiza literally means fungus-root. A variety of fungi colonize plant roots to form mycorrhizae and, in natural environments, most vascular plants are mycorrhizal. For the February meeting, Keller Suberkropp will introduce the major types of mycorrhizae and discuss the interactions between plant and fungus. Most interactions are mutualistic in which both the plant and the fungus benefit although in some cases the plant may parasitize the fungus or vice versa. Overall, the mycorrhizal association appears to be important in natural plant communities.

Before his retirement, Suberkropp taught intro biology, mycology, and microbial ecology at New Mexico State University and University of Alabama. His research examined the role and production of fungi decomposing leaves in freshwater streams. Since retirement, he has participated in teaching about fungi at Western New Mexico University.


Friday, March 19, 2021, 7 pm – Virtual Meeting. “Management of New Mexico Rare Plants” – presenter James McGrath

Scrophularia macrantha

Botanist Jim McGrath will discuss the evolution of the New Mexico Rare Plant list into the New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy rare plant list. Numerous sensitive plant lists maintained by different government agencies and the New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council (NMRPTC), have now been merged into a single list of rare plants on the New Mexico Rare Plant website (, authored by NMRPTC. The database for the website is maintained by Natural Heritage New Mexico. A New Mexico Rare Plant Conservation Strategy website is currently under development.

Jim McGrath has been a contract botanist for 16 years (2000-2016) performing threatened and endangered plant surveys on various proposed construction projects, the majority of which were proposed well pads and pipelines in the oil and gas fields of northwestern New Mexico. He has also performed botanical inventories and wetland delineations, specializing in wetland plants during his 25+ years as a botanist. Jim has an M.S. degree in Zoology (Ecology) from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Mostly as a volunteer, Jim collaborated for six years (2014-2020) with three other botanists in re-writing plant descriptions and keys to the genus Carex for the new edition of Flora Neomexicana III: An Illustrated Identification Manual, Part 1, 2nd Ed. (Allred, Jercinovic and Ivey 2020).


Friday, April 16, 7 pm – Virtual Meeting, “Ecology of a desert night-blooming cactus, Peniocereus greggii, in New Mexico” – presenter Beth Leuck

Peniocereus greggii

Peniocereus greggii is a state-endangered cactus found in four southwestern New Mexico counties.  It is cryptically hidden among the desert vegetation in areas where it occurs, making it difficult to find most of the year.  However, on one to three nights in late spring individuals of a given population flower synchronously, revealing the location of many of the plants.  Because so little is known about details of this plant’s life history beyond its unique flowering event, we began studying a population of these plants south of Rodeo, NM, in 2012.  Ecological characteristics of this species that will be discussed include its habitat, plant associations, flowering, and its ability to apparently die and resurrect itself.

Beth Leuck received her PhD in zoology from the University of Oklahoma and taught for over 30 years in the biology department at Centenary College of Louisiana.  Most of her research has been on the ecology and behavior of animals ranging from dung flies to endangered Piping Plovers, but she has participated in several research projects on plant ecology, including this long-term study of Peniocereus greggii.  She taught ecology for many years at the Central Michigan University Biological Station on Beaver Island, Michigan, and continues to participate in several ongoing research projects on the island during the summer months.  Her husband Ed presented two talks to the Gila Native Plant Society on cacti last summer.


Past Meetings:

Friday, April 17, 2020 Meeting via Zoom. “Lichens for Beginners”, Presenter Russ Kleinman

Caloplaca approximata

One of our favorite researchers, Russ Kleinman, gave  a basic introduction to lichens – what they are, how they have been used, their biology and some of the most common lichens in our area.

The presentation was much appreciated, and the Zoom experiment was a success.

View “Lichens for Beginners” presentation on YouTube:  



In May and June. Dr. Edwin Leuck gave us a two-part presentation on cacti: 

May 15, 2020 – Virtual Meeting. “The Cactaceae. Diversity of Form, Function, and Habitat”

In his presentation in May, Ed Leuck presented the characteristics that make a cactus a cactus. These include bits of internal anatomy, external morphology, and some  physiology. He discussed the major groups of cacti and the diversity contained within, and the economic importance of some members of the family. To view the May 15th presentation in pdf form (no sound), click on the image:  

June 19, 2020 – Virtual Meeting. “The Cacti of New Mexico”

His June presentation included most of the native cacti present in New Mexico, their distributions, habitat specificities, salient (hopefully diagnostic) characteristics, and lots of photos.



Zoom Meeting, October 16, 2020, 7:00 pm – “Reflections on a Plant Inventory of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (2013-2020),” presenters William (Bill) Norris, Kelly Kindscher, Russ Kleinman, Richard Felger and Patrice Mutchnick

The presenters reported findings from their long-term and ongoing study of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument flora, including the discovery of 500 vascular plant and 100+ moss and liverwort species. They also discussed a mystery: 90 vascular plant species documented previously at the Gila Cliff Dwellings have eluded the presenters to date despite eight years of intense field work. Finally, Bill, Kelly, Russ, Richard and Patrice described their plans to complete this floristic inventory in 2021 and how the results of this study have and will be used by educators, conservationists and biologists.

Click on the image to start the presentation —>      


Zoom Meeting, November 20, 2020, 7:00 pm – “Ferns of the Gila,” presenter Russ Kleinman

For the November meeting of the GNPS, Russ Kleinman discussed unique characteristics of ferns and what it takes to survive as a fern in the Gila. He showed us many of the 37 species of ferns known from the Gila and how to tell them apart.

Click on the image to start the presentation:   




Zoom Meeting,  January 15, 2021 “What in the World Was I Thinking?  Or, The Making of Flora Neomexicana”,  Presenter: Kelly Allred 

Flora Neomexicana, the definitive guide to the vascular plants of New Mexico by Kelly Allred and Eugene Jercinovic, with illustrations by Robert DeWitt Ivey, is now out in revised editions of four and a half volumes. Kelly will explain how he got caught up in such a monumental task.

Kelly Allred, former professor of botany at New Mexico State University and emeritus curator of the herbarium.

Click on the image to view the presentation –>