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Stapelia spp.

Family: Asclepiadaceae (milkweed family)
Common Name: Carrion flower, starfish flower, carrion plant
Plant Type:
  • succulent and cactus
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
Bloom Description: The stems are not much to look at, but the flowers are remarkable. They are large 3-10 in (7. 6-25. 4 cm) across, usually flattened and shaped like five pointed stars with a conspicuous round disk in the center. The fleshy petals are often fringed with tiny hairs. Flowers are colored with reds, yellows, browns and purples, and many are spotted, barred or mottled. The flowers of many species smell like carrion, but most are not so strong smelling as to be offensive.
Propagation: Propagate carrion flowers from cuttings taken in spring or summer. Allow pieces of stem to dry for a week or so, then plant in almost dry soil.
Notes for Identification:  carrion flowers make interesting novelty plants in the subtropical succulent or rock garden, or on a sunny window sill in cooler climates.  the disagreeable smell of carrion flowers attracts flies which transfer pollen between flowers.
Located in: Succulents
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