1972 Biennial – Mexico City, Mexico

Map Unavailable

Date(s) - 06/22/1972 - 06/27/1972
All Day


Report of the Biennial Meeting
The ninth Biennial Meeting of The Palm Society convened at the Hotel Alameda, Mexico City, Mexico, at 9:30 a.m. on June 22nd, 1972.  Fifty four members and guests were present.

Dr. Jerome Keuper, outgoing president, welcomed the group and asked each one to stand and introduce himself or herself.

The treasurer’s and secretary’s reports were read and approved.

The president asked the chairman of the nominating committee, Mr. Otto Martens, to read the slate of officers for the coming biennium.  Nominated were:
For President: Mr. Kenneth Foster
For Vice-President: Dr. U.A. Young
For Secretary: Mrs. Lucita Wait
For Treasurer: Mr. Wallace E. Manis

The slate was unanimously elected.  Mr. Martens then nominated the following directors for 1972-1976:
Mr. David Barry, Jr.  California
Mr. Myron Kimnach  California
Mr. Billings McArthur  Florida
Mr. Dent Smith  Florida
Dr. U.A. Young  Florida
Mr. Morgan Evans  Florida
Mr. Otto Martens  California

Dr. Stewart Mathews moved that the directors be unanimously elected.  The motion was seconded and passed.

There being no further business, Dr. Keuper introduced the first speaker, Ingeniero Alfredo Perez J., Of the Instituto de Biologia, Universidad Nacional de Mexico, and head of the Biological Station of Chamela, Jalisco.  Sr. Perez spoke on the difference in two types of terrain adjacent to each other, one of which sustained a palm forest of Sabal yucatanica palms, the other containing almost 100% Dialium guianense, a leguminous forest tree.  The conclusion was that the Sabal grows on poorly drained clayey soils.

Dr. H.E. Moore, Jr., of the L.H. Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. was introduced.  He spoke on the ecology of palms: the environment which they require in their native lands, whether hot and dry, or swampy, whether high on a mountain-top or at the ocean’s-edge, or in the deep shady forests.  He described the various pollinating media, such as wind, insects, or small animals, and the destructive elements which are influencing their decline and possible disappearance.  His talk was illustrated by color slides taken in the palm’s native habitats.

Dr. U.A. Young, of Tampa, Fla., newly elected vice-president, told about a recent trip to South America made by himself, his wife and two sons.  Starting at Belem, Brasil, at the mouth of the Amazon, they proceeded upriver, stopping at Manaos, Brasil, Iquitos, Peru and Leticia, Colombia.  They collected seeds and took pictures of many palms as yet almost unknown to North Americans.

Mr. Otto Martens, of Goleta, California, spoke on his recent visit to Lord Howe Island, source of the commercially valuable Howeas (Kentias), so popular in the florist trade.  Seeds of these palms no longer meet the demand of commercial growers.  Mr. Martens made a special trip to the islands to find out the cause of the diminished supply.  He found that many of the palms have been destroyed in favor of other crops, others have grown old and have not been replaced, and the islanders seem to have lost interest in harvesting the seeds.  He wrote a strong letter to the Lord Howe Island Board of Control (see Principes, January, 1972), recommending methods for the increase of production, and said that he has received assurances that something will be done.

Following the four speakers there wa a panel discussion, led by Mr. Kenneth Foster, newly elected president.  The panelists were: Mr. Martin Witthold, Dr. H.E. Moore, Jr., Mr. Dent Smith, Mrs. Lucita Wait, Dr. U.A. Young, and Mr. Otto Martens.

Mr. Witthold spoke briefly about commercial palm growing in northwestern Florida.  Dr. Moore spoke on palm classification, Mr. Smith on cold hardiness, Mrs. Wait on the organization and operation of the Society, Dr. Young on introduction and growing of seeds and plants, Mr. Martens on commercial palm growing in California.  After these brief remarks the meeting was thrown open to questions from the audience, and an animated question and answer period followed.  The meeting was then adjourned.

The banquet was held that evening at the same location.  Sixty three persons attended.  During the social hour we were entertained by a mariachi band, courtesy of Mr. Dent Smith, founderand first president of the Society.  Mr. Foster, the new president, presided at the banquet.  He expressed the warm thanks of the Society to Dr. Keuper for his two-term as president.  He also thanked Dr. Keuper and Mr. Smith for their efforts in making the arrangements for the meeting in Mexico City.  Dr. Keuper presented a plaque to Mrs. Wait, in appreciation of her work as esecutive secretary for fifteen years.  Mr. Foster presented her with a gold pin in the shape of a palm tree, crowned with a pearl “seed”, gift of the California members.

The crowning event of the evening was Mr. Smith’s amusing reminiscences of his years in Mexico as a young and impecunious adventurer.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday was given over to sight-seeing in and around Mexico City, with trips to Chapultepec Castle, the Anthropological Museum, the Pyramids, the Ballet Folklorico, as well as an all-day expedition to Cuernavaca and Taxco.

On Sunday we flew to Guatemala City, Guatemala, and the following day to Tikal, to visit the famous Maya ruins and to search the jungle for palm seeds.  The ruins are impressive, but the seeds were few.  On returning to Guatemala City, the group separated, four members going on to Costa Rica for more seed collecting, others to visit the famous sights of Guatemala or to return home.

Lucita H. Wait