"Zulu Giant"

A Stapelia gigantea in flower

     Native to South Africa, Stapelia is a large genus of of branching fleshy stemmed succulents in the family Asclepiadaceae. They are known as "Carrion Flowers" for the rotting meat scent of their flowers, and also called "Starfish Plants" for their 5 lobes. The four angled stems typically bear tiny vestigial leaves on the new growth and branch readily. They make excellent hanging plants, and soon grow large patches if planted in the ground.
     Stapelia flowers are the largest of the family. Stapelia gigantea, as seen above, can produce flowers 12 inches across tip to tip. The flowers are typically hairy and come in colors from yellow or tan speckled with purple to deep maroon. The plants are typically pollinated by flies and have evolved a foul scent perfect for attracting them.
     Stapelias are easy to grow in any quick draining cacti and succulent mix. They appreciate a fair amount of water in the hot months but should be kept somewhat warm and dry when it's cold. They're prone to rot. They can be propagated from seed or stem cuttings. Cuttings being the easiest.

I have grown several species of Stapelia, but have only built pages for two of them so far.
Click on a thumbnail below.

Stapelia gigantea

Stapelia grandiflora

All images and text are copyright 2005 to present, D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.