To the Collector in the Field

Before collecting anything:

  • DO acquaint yourself with CITES and national and state controls, and find out which species are protected.
  • DO obtain all necessary permits, both for collecting and for export and import to other countries.
  • DO notify interested local organizations of your intentions.


  • DO strictly observe restrictions on what may be collected (which species, how many specimens, what kind of material). -Where possible, collect seed, offsets or cuttings, not the whole plant.
  • DO leave mature plants for seed production. They are needed to perpetuate the wild population, and are unlikely to transplant successfully.
  • DO collect discreetly; Don't lead local people to believe the plants are valuable, or encourage or pay them (or their children) to collect for you.
  • DO make careful field-notes, including precise locality, altitude, type of vegetation and soil, date of collection and your own field number. Try to assess the number of individuals and extent of the population, the amount of seed-setting and the frequency of seedlings.
  • DO note possible threats to the habitat, e.g. through grazing, drainage or cultivation, urban spread or road-widening.
  • DO take photographs and/or preserve representative herbarium material. Submit this material, with a copy of your notes, to an appropriate institution or organization.
  • DON'T underrate the value of your field observations: carefully recorded they will be a useful contribution to science and to conservation.
  • IF... you plan to collect in commercial quantities, don't.
  • IF... you plan to sell any of the plants you collect to defray the cost of your trip, don't
  • IF... you plan to collect for research or study obtain the agreement (and preferably the collaboration) of competent scientific authorities, such as a government agency or university department, in the host country.
  • IF... you think "two or three plants won't be missed", remember someone else may be thinking the same tomorrow, and the next day, and the next...

To the Importer, Private or Commercial

  • Don't import wild plants, even if legally permitted, except as a nucleus for propagation and seed-production. And then:
  • Do check the credentials of suppliers offering wild plants and satisfy yourself they are "legal".
  • Do observe international and national export/import regulations.

To the Nurseryman

  • Do sell nursery-raised or propagated material only; don't advertise or sell un-propagated wild plants under any circumstances, even when legally permitted to do so.
  • Do try to propagate all rare or documented material and distribute it to recognized IOS Reference Collections.
  • Do keep more than one clone of rare species, even self-fertile ones, for seed production.
  • Do keep careful records of the origin of all stock, especially any with collectors' numbers or locality data, and pass on the information to interested purchasers.

To the Grower/Collector at Home

  • Do make successful cultivation your prime objective, not the size of your collection or rarity of the plants.
  • Don't buy any plant unless you are sure it was nursery-grown; remember that your choice will influence the seller's market.
  • Don't buy wild-collected plants even if with the aim of saving the "individual". We want to save the species, not the specimen. Only when importers see their wild-collected plants rotting because nobody buys them they will stop the import of wild-collected plants.
  • Do enjoy the satisfaction of raising from seed. Some of the rare or "difficult" species will test your skill and patience, but reward your success accordingly!
  • Do record when and from whom you got your plant/seeds, and ask your source for any data: collector's numbers, locality, and so on: all just as vital, to the serious enthusiast, as the name on the label.
  • Do try to propagate rare and documented material and distribute it to other enthusiasts. It's the old proverb: To keep- a plant, give it away!
  • Do notify the IOS secretary if you suspect a supplier is infringing legal controls.

To the Society and Club

  • DO endorse the precepts of this Code of Conduct, as a guide for responsible and conscientious behaviour.
  • DON'T permit wild plants to be advertised for sale in your publications, either openly or by hints.
  • DO publicize national and international regulations on the export, import and sale of wild plants.
  • DO sponsor or support national and international measures to protect the habitats of rare and threatened species.
  • DO inform the competent authorities of any suspect sale of collected plants. If you know of people travelling to countries where succulents grow wild, with the intention to collecting, inform the competent authorities; the best way to stop habitat exploitation by collectors is to catch them at the port of entry with the plants in hand.

To the Show Committee and Judges

  • DO include in the schedule some classes for plants raised from seed by the exhibitor.
  • DON'T permit species protected by CITES Appendix I to be shown in competitive classes, except as seedlings or other propagations raised artificially.
  • DO make a policy of giving preference to well-grown seedlings over field-collected plants. Check that obvious or suspected "imports" are properly rooted and established.

Code of Conduct open pdf-file

Logo IOS


Pachypodium namaquanum

Pachypodium namaquanum RSA, Umdaus
© JoŽl Lodť

Trichocereus pseudocandicans

Trichocereus pseudocandicans
Argentina, Chilecito
© JoŽl Lodť

Cleistocactus hyalacanthus

Cleistocactus hyalacanthus
Bolivia, Tarija
© Ingrid & Rainer Mecklenburg

Echinopsis tacaquirensis

Echinopsis tacaquirensis
Tarija, Impora, Bolivia
© Ingrid & Rainer Mecklenburg