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CDRI Desert NewsFlash
February 2024
Photo of Thelocactus conothelos ssp. aurantiacus by Jim Fissel.
CDRI's Cactus & Succulent Sale
March 11 & 12
Please join us for CDRI's annual Cactus & Succulent Sale fundraiser beginning Monday, March 11. We've doubled our inventory for a two-day sale. Hours will be from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For those of you who wait all year for this sale, the following is a hint of what we'll have this year. 
Large Cacti
Echinocactus grusonii 3 gal. & 7 gal.
Astrophytum myriostigma  1 gal.
Ferocactus wislizeni  3 gal.
Opuntia macrocentra  3 gal.
Ferocactus pilosus  1 gal.
Mammillaria hahniana  1 gal.
Echinocereus coccineus  3 gal.
Opuntia bigelovii 3 gal.
Agaves (all 3 gal.)
A. Havardiana     A. Whale's Tongue      A. Parryi     
A. Scabra    A. Weberi 'blue'    A. Victoria reginae   
Mangave: Navajo Princess   10"
Sotol & Yucca
Dasylirion wheeleri  7 gal.
Yucca faxoniana "Excalibur"  3 gal.
Small Cacti (2" - 4" pots)
Astrophytum capricorne    Echinocereus bonkerae    E. nivosus     E. reichenbachii
Epilantha micromeris     Glandulocactus uncinatus     Mammillaria multicostatus
M. longimamma      M. sempervivi v. sempervivi      M. stella-de-tacubaya
M. tezontle     M. weingartiana      Stenocactus crispata     S. phyllacanthus
S. sp. nova Lau     Thelocactus bicolor ssp. flavidspinus     Thelocactus setispinus
Turbinicarpus saueri ssp. nieblae   T. saueri ssp. ysabelae      T. pseudomacrochele

We are adding to the inventory almost daily. A full list of cacti and succulents will be posted on the CDRI website and Facebook by the end of February.  
The Roger Conant Distinguished
Guest Lecturer Programs for 2024 
We're thrilled to announce CDRI's 2024 guest lecturers for the Roger Conant Distinguished Guest Lecturer program. The bar has always been set high for the lectures, and once again, we think you'll agree we've raised that bar even higher.
An audience of 4th Graders is enthralled with Chris RItzi's presentation at CDRI's Herp Day.
Dr. Chris Ritzi, Professor of Biology at Sul Ross State University (SRSU) will be CDRI's first distinguished guest lecturer for 2024. His presentation will be on April 11, with the lecture to be held at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, Texas.
Chris is a long-time friend of CDRI's. He and his students, members of the SRSU Biology Club, assist us each year with our Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! Day and Herp Day programs. Chris is also on CDRI's Board of Directors.
Chris is very involved in working with his students on thesis projects, and with his background in entomology, we know this will be an entertaining and informative program. In keeping with the theme of entomology, bugs will be on the menu.
Our second Conant Lecture is scheduled for October 17, with distinguished guest lecturer Dr. Mitchell Thomashow
Residing in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire, Mitchell’s career spanning more than 50 years, has focused on promoting awareness and support of the environment, sustainability, community, and place. He served as the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England for 30 years. Then, for the next five years that followed, he was President of Unity College in Maine. Mitchell also held the position of  Director of the Presidential Fellows Program at Second Nature and was the Sustainability Catalyst Fellow at Philanthropy Northwest.
Most recently, Mitchell authored To Know the World. When he and his wife were traveling last fall, they fell in love with CDRI, and from there, he agreed to return for the fall lecture.
The Conant Lectures have always delighted audiences, leaving them informed and wanting more. Both of the 2024 programs promise to delight, enlighten, and inform their audience. Be sure to block off space on your calendar for both lectures. We'll see you there!
Garden Notes
Horehound - Is it an old-fashioned hard candy, a soothing tea, a medicinal herb, or an aggressive invasive plant?
Answer: All of the above.
By Faith Hille Dishron

Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) is an invasive but quirky little plant belonging to the mint family (Lamiaceae). Native to Europe, north Africa, and southwestern and central Asia, horehound is an invasive plant widely distributed across North America. It can quickly become established in disturbed areas along roadsides, stock tanks, and construction sites.
Horehound is the plant with a weird name. It comes from the Old English words "har" and "hune," meaning downy or hairy plant.
Horehound grows well in most soil types, ranging in height from 8 - 20+ inches. It has wrinkly, serrated, pubescent green leaves with wooly white stems, which can be woody at the base. When leaves are crushed, they release an alluring fragrant oil common in the mint family. In spring, it produces small white flowers, which develop into a bur-like fruit (also called a nutlet) in the leaf axils.
Horehound has value to pollinator species such as the European honeybee but is a poor browse for ungulate species and livestock. It’s also poisonous to small pets, including rabbits.
Horehound is used to soothe sore throats, coughs, and other respiratory issues and regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. In Roman times, horehound was commonly used to flavor foods, much like sage. It has a bitter flavor similar to licorice. It is often made into a tea, or candied cough drops that one can easily find in a health food store.
Horehounds are very invasive, so we don’t recommend cultivating them. However, if you choose to grow them in your garden, be diligent in cutting flowers before they go to seed and keep the plant contained in a designated space. It can spread quickly like other mint plants. As an alternative to growing horehound, you can forage for it in the wild. Again, to curb it from spreading, collect it in the late spring and summer while it is flowering and before it goes to seed.
CDRI has a dry stock tank that is abundant with horehound. We are doing our best to manage it without the use of herbicides. Please contact us if you want to help us manage this invasive plant. While you’ll be helping us clear the site of an invasive species, you can collect some leaves for later when you’re ready to relax with a spot of tea.
* * * * *
A delightful recipe for horehound tea from Foraging Texas follows:
Chop or crumble the leaves (either fresh or dried), leaving the pieces large enough to strain.  Use either one cup of fresh leaves or ¼ cup dried, and boil the leaves in two cups of water for ten minutes. Strain the leaves.  Dilute the resulting liquid, mixing one part of your solution with two parts boiling water for hot tea or cooled to make iced tea.
Adopt-a-Highway Cleanup Thursday, February 8th
Please join us for our first highway cleanup of 2024 on Thursday, February 8, at 9:00 a.m. We'll work until 11:00 a.m.
We'll meet at the Powell Visitor Center, where you'll be able to pick up your trash bags, trash grabber, safety vest, water, and a snack. 
Several years ago (in 2017), CDRI adopted a two-mile stretch of Highway 118 with equal distance (one mile) in either direction from the front entrance gate. 
This is a great way to meet fun, like-minded folks and enjoy the outdoors while making a difference and earning volunteer hours with your school or organization. 
Please contact Ivory at events@cdri.org if you can come out and help on February 8. Many thanks!
Visiting Schools and Tour Groups
Led by CDRI volunteers Hoot and Linda Baez, high school students from Ascension Episcopal School in Lafayette, LA, explored the Modesta Canyon Trail.
Participants from the Water in the Desert conference extended their experience learning about conserving water in the Chihuahuan Desert by touring the Botanical Gardens, led by CDRI's Head Gardener, Faith Hille Dishron. From left are Rachel Finn, Karen Ford, Randy Nunn and wife, and Ira Yates. 
From the best rural nature center
& botanical gardens in Texas,
we wish you happy trails!

Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, P.O. Box 905, Fort Davis, TX 79734


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