Thursday, November 25, 2010

And what a stink there was ......

We have this succulent in the garden which is doing quite well in a pot, albeit not a tall-enough pot. It resembles a spineless, sprawling cacti.

The flower appeared as a long small bud at the end of one of the branches.

And it just got bigger and bigger or rather ballooned! 


Until it burst ....

.... and what a stink there was!


Indeed, this is the starfish flower (Stapelia gigantea) from South African and is one of the most notorious carrion flowers belonging to the Milkweed Family (Asclepiadaceae), a very diverse plant family characterized by milky-white sap. 

The starfish-shaped flower is a flesh-coloured, hairy blossom some 8 to 10 inches across (20-25 cm) and has a nauseating stench. Apparently, the fringes of soft white hairs on the flesh-coloured petals looks like mold growing on rotting matter through the compound eyes of carrion insects!

I did not have the proper camera to take closeup of the flies ... but they do swarmed in and around the flower.

It is easy to propagate - just cut off segments and plant them! Nice exotic plant for the garden but certainly not to have too many in bloom at the same time!!!

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