Starfish Flower

Stapelia variegata by Ron KindigStapelia.variegata CU WEB

Stapelia variegata (Orbea variegata):
Commonly known as the starfish flower or the carrion flower, this is a member of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae). Native to South Africa, this succulent perennial herb can be seen in bed ‘R’ in the Preview Garden. It grows to about 3 inches high and 17 inches wide. It has striking star-shaped flowers in the winter that are 2.5 to 3 inches across, pale yellow, with dark brown blotches and star-shaped centers. Its succulent stems grow to 12 inches. It is used in miniature gardens or rock gardens and is fire resistive. It is deer resistant and should be planted in well drained soil. It tolerates a variety of soils from clay to sand. It requires light to moderate amounts of water and should be planted in full sun to light shade. Its flowers smell like dead meat and attract flies which pollinate the plant. It should only be used outdoors. Species variegata means ‘variety’ and there are many forms of this plant, some with their own names.

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