Who are we?
We are Julia Etter (Swiss) and Martin Kristen (Austrian), both academically educated. Since 1997 we're on the road only with short breaks (please also see our private website www.globetrotters.ch!). We are traveling to find and photographically document the plants of the American Agavaceae (century plants and other related plants - this website) and the American Crassulaceae (stone crops - see our other data base website under www.crassulaceae.com!) families in nature.
Many things have happened since 1997. We have published articles in journals and our photos have appeared in many books. Even two species of Crassulaceae, Echeveria juliana and Sedum kristenii, were described in our honor in late 2012. Since 2008 we are also members of the scientific study group at the Instituto de Biología at the National University of Mexico (UNAM or Universidad Nacionál Autónoma de México). This allowed us to win over some valuable contributors for photos and more information.
2. Where does our idea come from to publish a plant data base on the Internet?
We found that it was difficult for laypersons to find useful publications in the scientific literature about the Agavaceae and Crassulaceae plant families. Especially the pictures left a great deal to be desired for since someone has to be satisfied with old, black and white photographs or a picture of a dried herbarium specimen. Since photography is one of our more serious hobbies we started to document plants in culture, but in the end this wasn't satisfying enough anymore - plants in culture often tend to look quite different from the ones growing in the wild.
It can be very difficult for a layperson to gain access to information like first descriptions and good color photographs That's when we decided to assemble the data we collect and a part of our pictures into an electronic data base and to publish it on the Internet, easily accessible to the public. We would like to emphasize that this website is private and that we don't pursue any commercial goals. The access is still free and open to everyone. Nevertheless we ask you not to abuse the data (or the pictures) for your own private or commercial projects (read the copyright section under "database - important usage hints"!)
3. What are our goals?
Our goal is to give an overview, as far as ever possible, over the plants of the American Agavaceae family in words and pictures. Step by step we want to continue our documentation and add new data as best we can. We ask for your patience and understanding that such a data base cannot be complete and correct from the beginning on. Names and classifications change and until we hear about this time goes by. Many pictures and descriptions in the data base are unfortunately still missing, others are not yet finished. Many times it's hard to be at the right spot at the right time. This is especially true with flowering plants. The goal of our efforts, however, is to complete this data base in the course of time.
Of course we're always happy to get every help other hobby-botanists can offer. Of course, academic scientists are not excluded from this but normally they don't have the time for such a project. If you're interested in helping, please have a look at the link "contributors"!
Have a good time now and enjoy browsing our website! We hope to hear from some of you, and we can probably win some new contributors too!
The editors and designers of this website