This South African native sports some of the most unusual foliage, flowers and seed pods available to the home cacti enthusiast – although it should be noted that this plant is a succulent, not a true cactus. Stapelia grows in a bunching of upright, green stems, some with almost hairy spines, which will creep along the surface and spread to hang over the sides of the pot. Large showy star-shaped flowers appear in autumn followed by decorative seed pods. The flowers have the smell of rotting meat, hence the name “carrion plant.” In its natural environment, this odor attracts flies, one of the plant’s primary pollinators. Other common names include starfish flower, giant Zulu, starfish cactus and giant toad plant.
Interesting creeping foliage and unusual fruits and flowers make these plants suited to anchor a cacti-display. Perfect for all kinds of containers and a good choice for a desert-themed terrarium. Because some flowers may smell badly, do not display in dining areas or kitchen.