Working Groups

Succulenta East Africa

Succulenta East Africa

Did you know that there is only one true cactus indigenous to Kenya – Rhipsalis baccifera – and it has no spines and doesn’t even look like a cactus! Did you know that there are three species of exceedingly poisonous aloes in Kenya – and that not all aloes are the benign Aloe vera, which is not indigenous?

Succulenta East Africa is a division of Nature Kenya devoted to growing and learning about succulent plants. These are plants that store water in their tissues to survive periods of drought. Swollen stems or leaves for water storage give many bizarre shapes, and features such as spines and waxy surfaces add to their attraction. A garden planted with showy succulents does not need regular watering.

Succulenta East Africa group activities include interesting talks and discussions, garden meetings and other social events, giving an opportunity to share succulent plant interests with other enthusiasts. Recent exciting field trips to see how these waterwise plants grow in their natural habitat have included visits to the Marich Pass, Turkwell Gorge, Kasigau and Sabuk in Laikipia. Forthcoming events include a trip to Suyian Soul in Laikipia guided by Anne Powys.

A quarterly newsletter (digital) and occasional booklets are sent to all paid-up members. Join/renew your Nature Kenya membership and you can renew your membership to Succulenta East Africa at the same time – just ask! But be warned! You might be so inspired by Succulenta enthusiasts that you may become obsessed by Succulents – it has happened!

Succulenta East Africa Committee

  1. Chairman - Robert Entwistle
  2. Hon. Secretary - Andrena Low
  3. Hon. Treasurer - Jacqueline Resley
  4. Events - Gail Paul, Sarah Grant, Julia Glen, Andrena Low (organiser)
  5. Scientific advisors - Emily Wabuyele, Len Newton
  6. Newsletter - Lizzie Lawrence
  7. Nature Kenya liaison - Heather Elkins


  • Aloes in the Garden - An Identity Parade
  • Conservation of Kenyan Succulent Plants available from Nature Shop from Ksh 1,050/-
  • Publications by Succulenta East Africa available from Nature Shop from Ksh 200/-
  • The Pollination of East African Succulent Plants Leonard E. Newton
  • The History of Succulent Plants in Kenya Leonard E. Newton
  • A Check-list of Kenyan Succulent Plants Leonard E. Newton
  • Taxonomy Without (too many) Tears Leonard E. Newton
  • An ABC for Succulent Plant Enthusiasts Leonard E. Newton
  • Uses of Succulent Plants in East Africa Leonard E. Newton
  • Ballya – a few old issues still in stock


1. Aloes in the Garden - An Identity Parade - cover page

Aloes in the Garden – An Identity Parade (a guide to identifying the fifty aloes most commonly seen in Kenya gardens, including twenty-five Kenyan aloe species often seen in the wild)


Euphorbia kalisana by Dee Roberts


Ceropegia ballyana by Dee Roberts