These notes are based on an introductory booklet distributed by the IAS to new members.
The society is for anyone who is interested in plants belonging to the Asclepiadaceae (the Asclepiads), and aims to increases the available knowledge about all aspects of cultivation, the plants in the wild and correct naming. Following recent changes in nomenclature, the family name, Asclepiadaceae, has been subsumed under the older group of Apocynaceae which dates back to 1810. The IAS therefore now covers Apocynaceae, especially Adeniums and Pachypodiums.
The Society was formed in 1976 in the U.K., but now enjoys international membership. Around a third of the present membership (ca. 350 individuals and libraries) live in the U.K., the rest being spread over about thirty different countries. There is a very active group in the Netherlands and Belgium, for example. The committee members include the National Representatives, who act as points of contact and may organise local activities. This strong international membership greatly enhances the exchange of ideas and information.
The social aspect of the society is also important, providing members with opportunities to meet and/or correspond, so enabling the free exchange of experience and information. The Society aims to increase the number of species in cultivation - many asclepiads are not normally available from commercial sources.
All members of the Society receive the Journal, Asklepios, which is published three times a year, covering a range of topics related to Asclepiadaceae. The aim is to publish material which may be inaccessible to the collector. Though most articles are original, some may be reprinted from obscure sources, with comments and observations from members. Articles have tended to concentrate on the succulent stapeliads and semi-succulent Ceropegiads, but other members of the family are also included.
Original articles are always welcome, and serious botanical articles will be refereed. Although it is expected that serious botanical articles need
to be referenced, letters and descriptions of personal experiences are also very welcome. Some members may just enjoy growing the plants, while others have the opportunity to see them in the wild. We aim to publish as many pictures as possible, as line drawings, black and white or coloured photographs, all of a high quality, enabling plant identification to be carried out. Pictorial contributions are always of interest, whether or not they accompany an article. Back numbers of Asklepios are available from the Secretary, and collectively they form a significant compendium of Asclepiad information.
The Society has both a Slide Bank and a Library, which are concerned mainly with Stapeliads and Ceropegiads. Duplicate copies can be obtained at cost price from both libraries. For reasons of copyright these services are available to members only for the purposes of their personal research. With around two thousand slides, and an even larger number of publications, the Society possesses an enormous fund of information.
In 1987, the Society published a 185 page Checklist and literature list covering most genera and species of the Stapelieae, also including Brachystelma, Ceropegia and Riocreuxia. A supplement was published in 1990 to update the checklist. Together they form the most complete list of accepted names of the Stapeliads and Ceropegiads currently available. As there have been quite a number of name changes in recent years, the Checklist and Supplement are of great assistance in the correct naming of plants. They are essential to anyone who wishes to study the plants seriously, as they provide access to the literature.
The Society produces a number of Seed Lists annually available to Members Only, on request to the IAS Seed Bank Secretary. These are probably the worlds finest source of Asclepiad seed. For this we are grateful to members who collect seed from plants in the wild and in cultivation. Should you have any surplus Asclepiad seed, please do let the Seed Bank Secretary know - it may be just what someone else is looking for.
Email: IAS Seed Bank Secretary