Stapelia schinzii var. angolensis

Synonyms:

Ceropegia schinzii var. angolensis
Gonostemon schinzii var. angolensis

Habitat:

Stapelia schinzii is native to South Africa: Angola, Namibia. The plant grows in groups in the shade of shrubs in arid regions.

Description:

S. schinzii is a succulent belonging to the Apocynaceae botanical family. The plant grows in clumps that can reach 50 cm in size. The succulent has a quadrangular, creeping, pale green stem, 8 cm tall, made up of vertical hooks, arranged in ribs, without leaves so as not to lose water. At the base of the plant, younger shoots bear very particular flowers. Flowers are large, reddish-brown star fish-shaped, usually solitary. The corolla is wrinkled and the lobes along the outer edge have clavate, dark red or black hairs. These hairs form a fringe and with breeze start to tremble, possibly attracting insects. The corolla will soon curl backwards giving the flowers a very unusual form. Fruits are follicles: a dry fruit with many woolly hairs that help the plant to spread the seed.

Cultivation:

S. schinzii can withstand a minimum temperature of 5°C if the plant is kept dry, so in the winter it can be placed indoors or in a greenhouse. It is advisable a light shade sun-exposure as the plant is used to growing in nature. Soil should be a mixture of loam and pumice or perlite to be well-drained. Stapelia requires moderately watering through the growing season but not in hot weather, during this time she likes a lot of water and some fertilizer, this helps them to flower luxuriantly. Flowers are intermittently produced throughout the late summer and autumn. The plant is easy to grow but it is also prone to the root rot, so you can stop watering in the winter and use perforating pot to drain excess water. Repotting is recommended every 2 years in a pot 2 cm wider than the previous one.

Propagation:

Propagation can be done by seed or cutting. By seed is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with high level of humidity. By cutting you can use the offsets that grow at the base of the plant. Cut the offset as close as possible to the base of the stem and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. With Euphorbias is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. To encourage the production of the offsets you can make a cut at the base of the branches.

Curiosity:

Stapelia owes its name to Dutch Botanist J. B. van Stapel, who lived in 1600.

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