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Orbea variegata

   (Family: Asclepiadaceae)
English: Starfish Plant, Starfish Cactus, Carrion Cactus, Carrion Flower, Toad Cactus, Toad Plant  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 0.1m
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred position:
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
pH: alkaline
Biome: Fynbos
Flowering time EDIT
        x x            
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Flower scent EDIT
  Carrion,rotting meat smell. Unpleasant, although not overpowering.
  Flower info
  Starfish-like flower (has a light carrion smell), corolla 5 – 7 cm across, transversely ridged, pale greenish-yellow with dark purple-brown spots mostly in 6 – 7 rows or sometimes irregularly scattered, annulus pentagonal, 2.2 cm across, pale yellow with small dots, lobes of corona yellow, dusted or spotted purple.
  Leaf info EDIT
  The four-angled stems are usually prominently sharp-toothed, with a soft tip, grey green mottled purple in full sun. Each stem can reach over 25 cm.
Fruit colour
Fruit size Length: 120mm   
  Seed info EDIT
  Smooth, cylindrical fruits, blotched and dotted purple, up to 12 cm long. The seeds need to be contained when they ripen, because as soon as the fruit opens it liberate a cloud of flying seed provided with a white feathery cotton fluff.
Description EDIT
Orbea variegata is a leafless, glabrous, clump-forming succulent perennial. The four-angled stems are usually prominently sharp-toothed, with a soft tip, grey green mottled purple in full sun. Each stem can reach over 25 cm. Starfish-like flower with a light carrion smell,pale greenish-yellow with dark purple-brown spots.
Growing EDIT
Very easy to grow, it is the ideal plant for beginners, needs Light shade to full sun (but tolerate shadow), very resistant to heat will also tolerate quite cold temperatures and light frost too (in good condition), best in a ventilated environment. It is quite resistant to the “Balck spot” disease of Asclepiads, Water regularly during the growing season, keep dry in winter. Use a gritty, well-drained soil pH 7.5 to 8,5 (mildly alkaline). It is easily propagated by removing a cutting, sometimes with roots attached, in spring and summer, But seeds germinate readily if they are sown when fresh.
Distribution EDIT
South Africa (Cape Province)
History EDIT
Also known as Stapelia variegata.

The generic name "Orbea" derives from the Latin word “Orbis” meaning "circle, disc", referring to the thickened corolla part - the annulus -surrounding the flower centre. ( The genus name implies: "circle"). The specific name "variegata" derives from the Latin passive verb participle “variegatus” meaning “to make or be different colours, to variegate”
Ecology EDIT
Flowers mimic the scent of carrion, attracting fly pollinators that are deceived into laying eggs on them and accidentally pollinate the flowers as they do so.
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