Family: Asclepiadaceae (Apocynaceae according to some classifications)
Habitat: Southern Africa
Cultivation: It needs full sunshine, sandy and light soil to keep slightly damp (while being careful, however, at risk of rot), temperatures above 10 ° C.
Curiosity: Stapelia owes its name to Dutch botanist J. B. van Stapel, who lived in 1600.


Succulents of the genus Stapelia are asclepiadaceous from southern Africa. When they are not in bloom, the unknowing eye could recognize in them the cactaceae: they have fleshy, cylindrical stems, often crossed by ribs, along which small thorns are also fleshy, just like in cacti. The color is gray-violet or dark green. The bearing is erected in younger plants, as the plant grows branches increase and the plant begins to grow horizontally as well. They are about 20 cm high, with variations according to the species.

However they can not be confused in the flowering period. Between June and August they produce incredible five-pointed star flowers, large and fleshy. They have colors in the tones of brown, white and violet, mixed with each other. Like the flowers of his relative Hernia, however, they give off a strong and very unpleasant smell to attract pollinator insects. Flowering, curious and spectacular, only occurs in plants of at least 5-6 years of age.


The currently recognized varieties of Stapelia are about 60.

  • Stapelia acuminata
  • S. arenosa
  • S. arnotii
  • S. asterias
  • S. barklyi
  • S. baylisii
  • S. cedrimontana
  • S. clavicorona
  • S. concinna
  • S. congestiflora
  • S. deflexa
  • S. divaricata
  • S. divergens
  • S. engleriana
  • S. erectiflora
  • S. fasciculata
  • S. flavicomata
  • S. flavopurpurea
  • S. gariepensis
  • S. gettliffei
  • S. gigantea
  • S. glabricaulis
  • S. glanduliflora
  • S. grandiflora
  • S. hirsuta
  • S. immelmaniae
  • S. incomparabilis
  • S. kougabergensis
  • S. kwebensis
  • S. leendertziae
  • S. longipedicellata
  • S. maccabeana
  • S. miscella
  • S. mutabilis
  • S. nobilis
  • S. obducta
  • S. olivacea
  • S. paniculata
  • S. parvula
  • S. pearsonii
  • S. peglerae
  • S. ii
  • S. plantii
  • S. reflexa
  • S. remota
  • S. rubiginosa
  • S. rufa
  • S. schinzii
  • S. scitula
  • S. similis
  • S. surrecta
  • S. tsomoensis
  • S. uncinata
  • S. unicornis
  • S. vetula


  • EXPOSURE: Stapelia needs full sun to grow well.
  • TEMPERATURE: It is recommended that you never leave it below 10 ° C. Some species also tolerate temperatures up to 5 ° C but only for short periods.
  • WATERING: During spring and summer you can water 1-2 times a week regularly or even more, to keep the soil slightly damp (but not stagnant, so that it does not rot the roots). Decrease in autumn / winter but do not leave the soil completely dry to prevent that the stems wither.
  • SOIL: Use sandy, fine, very drained soil.
  • CONCIMATION: Dilute monthly a specific fertilizer for succulents in the watering water during spring and summer.
  • REPOT: The younger branches of the Stapelia tend to break very easily and for this reason it is advisable to repot it from one vessel to the other with great delicacy.
  • REPRODUCTION: It can be done either by sowing or by cutting or by dividing the bushes. For the cuttings, use little branches of about 5 cm in length and let the wound dry well before planting them in a sandy soil.

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