4/10/2008

Succulent of the Week - Stapelia

Stapelia - a group of stem succulents, mostly small, mostly South African. They consist of a clump of 4-sided stems, with or without little teeth along the edges. I have a little one in my window box in the office (you may remember that it smelled up the place when the flowers opened). Stapeliads are famous for their carrion flowers - big, star-shaped blooms that are pollinated by flies and therefore emit the odors which attract flies - I'll pause here to let you imagine some odors that attract flies...

This Stapelia does not have green stems! I bought this beauty at the Kirstenbosch garden store. It is quite a bit bigger than my other one and the stems are fuzzy like a peach. The colours are amazing, especially in my blue kitchen under the skylight on this sunny day:


After some googling I think it is probably Stapelia variegata v. rogosa but it will be easier to tell when it flowers. It's always possible too that the plant is drought stressed, although the stems are firm and it seems fine other than the colour. I have to say though - the Kbosch garden store does not seem to take very good care of their succulents. I made a couple of pity purchases that day as well.

In other Stapelia news, I had previously identified the little one in my office as Stapelia grandiflora because that's what the tag from the nursery said. Sucker! Now that I have seen S. grandiflora blooming in captivity I can assure you, that is a much bigger flower than the ones that keep on blooming and stinking up my office. The flowers are pretty hairy and purple with subtle tigery stripes perpendicular to the petals - I think it is S. hirsuta? It just keeps flowering. It seems to grow a new bud overnight the same day that the previous flower closes. Trying to photograph it with the macro setting on my new camera, I found this:

Fly maggots. In my office. The little Stapelia that just keeps on giving. Its frenzied flowering is the first sure sign of fall.

3 comments:

Trifarina said...

Oh hell no! Maggots in your office? Put that thing outside woman! I guess they're better than monkeys though.

theysaywordscanbleed said...

Those plants look painful to touch. and maggots?! that's way creepy.

Arlene,
West Bremerton florist

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