STARFISH FLOWER, CARRION FLOWER

FAMILY: Asclepiadaceae | GENUS: STAPELIA

TYPE
  • Perennials
  • Succulents
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Moderate Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

From Africa. Plants resemble cacti, with clumps of four-sided, spineless stems. Summer flowers are large, fleshy, shaped like five-pointed stars; they usually have an elaborate, circular, fleshy disk in the center. Blossoms of most smell like carrion to attract insect pollinators, but odor is not usually pervasive enough to be offensive. They need a cool, dry rest period in winter. Best managed in pots; allow to dry somewhat between soakings. Tolerate extreme heat.

S. gigantea. Grow this plant as a remarkable novelty. Stems grow about 9 in. tall, bearing wrinkled, fringy-edged, brown-purple flowers marked in creamy white or yellow; each bloom reaches 1016 in. wide. Protect plants where frosts can occur.

S. scitula. Resembles S. gigantea, but grows just 3 in. tall, with dark red blooms up to 1 in. across. Perfect size for a windowsill plant.

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