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Loran M. Whitelock
Loran M. Whitelock is the proprietor of Cycad Gardens, in Los Angeles, which he started in 1972. In college he studied botany, zoology, and microbiology, earning a bachelor of science degree. He also began collecting cycads at this time. For many years he worked for the Los Angeles City and County Health Departments but his love of plants led him to change careers and become a landscape designer. He has since traveled to many places in the world to study cycads in their native habitats, including Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Africa, China, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Many of the photographs in The Cycads are the fruit of these adventures, depicting wild cycads juxtaposed against exotic backdrops.
Between his nursery and his studies in the wild, Loran is widely recognized as an authority on cycads. In fact, he was recently quoted in an article on cycad smuggling in the newspaper The Daily Breeze. All cycads in the wild are endangered. Cycad Gardens plays an important role in conservation by producing documented seeds for distribution to public gardens and private collectors, which helps reduce overcollection from the wild. James Folsom, past director of Huntington Botanical Gardens, has called Cycads Gardens "one of the finest collections of cycads" and noted its importance to conservation efforts.
When he is not traveling or working in his nursery, Loran and his wife, Eva, tend their 40 year-old garden (with a large collection of cycads, of course) in Eagle Rock, California, and plot to cover the earth with cycads.