Once a month I spend several hours attending the Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society meetings. The meetings are informative and I've learned a lot, but the fun part is the silent auction! Members bring in cacti and succulents that they offer up for auction for the benefit of the club. Attendees bid on the specimens and at the end of the meeting, you pay and gather up your winners. It's a good way for me to add to my collection without paying nursery prices, and sometimes to acquire rare specimens. And, it helps the club, so I sometimes bid in increments larger than necessary.
Today, I acquired two new cacti. The Stenocactus palmillas is on the left and the other is three Crow's Claw Cactus (Ferocactus latispinus) seedlings. The Stenocactus was marked Echinofossulocactus palmillas, its previous genus, which has since become part of the Stenocactus genus. Every time I acquire a new plant, I do research, just for curiosity’s sake. Unfortunately, I can find nothing on the this Stenocactus species, palmillas. It's frustrating, but eventually I may run into someone who can provide further information.
Another activity that our local Cactus and Succulent Society is involved in is rescuing cacti in the way of development. Arizona has some tough laws regarding safeguarding native cacti, so it is in the developer's best interest to find a way to rescue plants, so they frequently call upon the Society to help with the rescue effort. Members can, for the $5 cost of a required cactus tag, dig up the cacti. A member can buy as many tags as they wish and then keep the specimens for personal use. The club also purchases a number of tags, rescues the cacti, and then sells them at local cacti and succulent sales, which provides a major portion of the club's annual budget.
The downside of all this cheap access to numerous cacti? I don't know when to stop!