Get to Know Jeff Chemnick

Jeff Chemnick is an authority on Mexican cycads having published numerous articles and described several species new to science. In addition to his field research on the cycads of Mexico, he leads botanical and ornithological ecotours throughout the Mexico with focus on the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. Currently Jeff is co-authoring a book on the cycads of Mexico which is due to be published in 2018. He is a member of the IUCN’s Cycad Specialist Group which determines the status of endangered cycads worldwide.

Jeff has considerable horticultural experience as owner and operator of Aloes-in-Wonderland, a specialty nursery in Santa Barbara where he has lived since 1981. Jeff’s garden and nursery occupies nearly 4.5 acres at his residence in the upper Sycamore Canyon area of Santa Barbara. Though he lost his home in the Tea Fire in 2008, the drought-tolerant garden he planted years ago, consisting chiefly of cycads, aloes, cactus, and agaves, made a remarkable comeback.

A past president of the Santa Barbara Horticulture Society and former chair of the Horticultural Society Annual Plant Sale, Jeff has been involved for years within the botanical/horticultural community of Santa Barbara. He is a research associate at the Ganna Walska Lotusland botanical garden in Santa Barbara, serves on several committees at Lotusland, and is the chair (and auctioneer) of the Exceptional Plants Auction, Sale, and Plant Party. Jeff has given numerous presentations on his botanical travels worldwide and teaches the Lotusland docent training course on cycads.

In March of 2013, Jeff organized an Aloe Summit which took place in Santa Barbara. A weekend-long event, the Aloe Summit featured a day of presentations at Lotusland, a day of garden tours, a plant sale and auction, and several wonderful dinners, parties, and social gatherings. Similarly, Jeff organized a Cycad Summit the following year. A Bromeliad Summit is scheduled for 2019.

Jeff’s passions include traveling, birding, surfing, word games, and music.

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