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Stapelia gigantea


Water Needs

low; water wise; drought hardy

Stapelia gigantea
Carrion Flower

20 cm x 1 m


Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade




creamy-yellow to light reddish purple; March – May; Autumn

Garden Situation

sun; semi-shade; sandy soil; rockery; poor soil; wall; slope bank; container; wildlife butterfly host insects - and so attract lizards and other creatures that feed on them.


Coastal Eastern Cape; Coastal KZN; bushveld; rocky places


thicket; Subtropical East Coast; bushveld savanna

Rain Season


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This member of the globally named African Starfish flowers has beautiful creamy-yellow flowers in the shape of a 5-pointed star that grab attention only to repel you as you lean in for a close inspection. The scent is foul, evolved to attract carrion flies that feed on decaying animals. Luckily, on a hot day, the smell repels from afar! Flowers are the largest of the genus. Erect, 4-angled stems (up to 20 cm high) have a velvety texture, mottled blue-green and maroon depending on the amount of sun exposure. Margins are edged with small, blunt teeth. Flowers: large, up to 40 cm in diameter, creamy-yellow to light reddish purple with many wavy, transverse maroon stripes and a rather wrinkled and hairy upper surface. Each flower is short-lived with new flowers opening daily for an extended flowering season. The Carrion Flower grows in the partial shade of bush clumps in arid environments in well-drained soils and rocky areas. Plants eventually form colonies that spread over a few square meters. Use them in rockeries, to cover a hot bank, or in containers as a curiosity plant, preferably away from the entertainment patio. Water wise, drought resistant. Plant in sun or light to partial shade. Plants are moderately frost hardy. It has received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Stapelia gigantea
Stapelia gigantea
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