Found in Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania, Edithcolea is a monotypic stapeliad with wonderfully colored spiky stems and magnificent flowers. Edithcolea grandis is the only member of the genus, named after Edith Cole who discovered it in Somalia in the late 1800's. The stems vary in color from mottled green to purplish brown and bear hard pale yellow or tan teeth that are convincingly menacing. Though harmless when fresh, they dry out and become quite lethal as the stems age. The five lobed flowers are patterned in reddish brown and tan reminiscent of an oriental rug, hence the common name, "Persian Carpet Plant".
     Edithcolea are very rot prone and should be grown in a well draining mix and watered carefully. They can be propagated by seeds and stem cuttings. Cuttings should only be taken when temperatures are consistently above 80 degrees.
     This is my fourth shot at Edithcolea. The first was a bare rooted cutting from Shoal Creek. I lost it to rot within a couple weeks. The others followed suit eventually. I hope to have better luck with this one. It's a mature plant with wounds where it has already flowered. It seems healthy, lets hope it stays that way. I'm anxiously awaiting a flower pic of my own, I've never seen one in person.

Click below for pictures taken by Trent Tan, a fellow Daves Garden member from Henderson, Nevada. Trent has graciously given me permission to use these marvelous pictures. Thanks Trent!

A side view
of spiky stems


A gorgeous
mature specimen


All images and text are copyright 2006 to present D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.
Flower pictures are Copyright 2006 Trent Tan