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Weird & Wonderful: Stapelias

Published on February 25th 2019

by CandideUK. All rights reserved

A close up of a flower
Stapelias are some of the most unusual and interesting succulents - they can even get non-gardeners to turn their heads ... and noses.
From a distance, it's easy to understand why they are globally known as African starfish flowers, but you'll have to come a little closer to discover why it is locally known as "Carrion flower".
Stapelia leanderitzii posted by fellow gardener @mariconstantia
Species within this weird and wonderful group are usually characterised by their flowers that mimic decaying animal matter to target specific pollinators, mainly flies. The flowers emit a putrid odour of rotten carrion and some flowers have a surface that is often wrinkled and hairy in appearance to deceive flies and other insects into visitation and pollination.
Glabrous flower surface of Stapelia divaricata posted by @lane_scape (right); Tufted flower surface of Stapelia grandiflora posted by @roslindp (left)
Stapelias are a firm favourite among succulent collectors due to their interesting appearance and ecology. Stapelias are drought-resistant and are perfect for rockeries and water-wise gardens. They are also suited for growing in containers and if you want to raise some eyebrows, the indoors as well.
Stapelia flavopurpurea posted by fellow succulent enthusiast @clintcloete
Check out these Stapelia posts by fellow gardeners:


Stapelia - do not know which one. Beautiful, but I planted way down in the garden because of smell!


Stapelia flavopurpurea This crawling and decumbent cactus - like plant with long, green stems that acquire a purple color when exposed to full sun. Flowers are little star shaped and range from a bright yellow to greenish color, with maroon overtones and centers. They have a light sweet smell like beeswax, unusual in the stapelia group. This beautiful plant is now in flower at Babylonstoren succulent house.


**Stapelias** Very waterwise and requires minimal to no care. #succulents #Asclepiads


Got this piece of a stapelia grandifloria from a friend of mines mom which we traded plants. I traded her donkey tails plant for this stapelia grandifloria to add it to my cactus garden of one of a kind unique feature. So excited. I let this cutting dry for two and a half days and dipped it in rooting hormone, potted it into soil. Now it's the time to wait for those roots to grow😁😁


Satpelia hirsuta/(starfish flower) This specimen is best known for their foul smelling flowers. The flowers range from 5cm up to 15cm wide. Stapelia hirsuta is a very variable species with many hybrids, both in the wild and in cultivation. Found this lovely flower in our Karoo-Namib section at babylonstoren.


Stapelia gigantea in flower Lovely flower smell not so great. Its part of the Apocynaceae family and is native to east africa also known as the Zulu giant.


This weird but beautiful flower appeared this morning. Please help identify