The Carrion Flower ‘Stapelia Gigantea’

Stapelia Gigantea Image

Among the myriad of plant species that grace our world, some defy expectations and challenge traditional botanical beauty. The Carrion Flower, scientifically known as Stapelia Gigantea, exemplifies this unique category. Its mesmerizing appearance juxtaposed with a malodorous scent commands attention and intrigue. Let’s embark on a comprehensive journey through the enchanting and sometimes unsettling realm of the Carrion Flower.

Historical Roots and Natural Habitat

Originating from the sun-baked terrains of South Africa, the Carrion Flower’s evolution has been a masterclass in adaptability. This landscape, marked by sporadic rainfalls and harsh sunlight, forced the Carrion Flower to develop strategies to effectively survive and reproduce in such challenging conditions.

A Study in Contrasts: The Plant’s Morphology

Stapelia Gigantea, at first glance, offers an eerie beauty. The plant does not showcase the typical green foliage many associate with succulents. Instead, its thick, angular stems, jutting vertically from the ground, can be deep green to reddish-brown. This peculiar growth pattern contributes to its otherworldly charm.

Yet, the actual spectacle is in its bloom. These flowers, which can be as large as a foot in diameter, are a velvety, mottled red or deep maroon, often bordered by a delicate, hair-like fringe. The star-shaped blossoms present a visual feast, drawing attention and admiration.

Nature’s Deception: The Carrion Ruse

The name “Carrion Flower” isn’t merely for poetic effect. When blooming, the flower emits a scent strongly reminiscent of decaying meat. While this might seem repulsive to humans, it’s a clever evolutionary strategy. The smell lures flies, tricking them into believing they’ve found a spot to lay their eggs. As they scramble across the flower’s surface in this mistaken quest, they inadvertently assist in the plant’s pollination. This brilliant deception underscores nature’s endless capacity for innovation.

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Cultivating the Carrion: Tips for Gardeners and Enthusiasts

While its native land is South Africa, Stapelia Gigantea has captivated plant enthusiasts across the globe. If you’re considering adding this charming beauty to your collection, here’s an extended care guide:

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect sunlight. While it loves light, the direct and scorching sun can lead to unsightly sunburns on the stems.
  • Soil: Prioritize well-draining soil. A mix designed for succulents, possibly augmented with sand or perlite, ensures the roots remain healthy and rot-free.
  • Watering: Being drought-resistant, it needs minimal water. Over-watering can be detrimental, so wait until the soil is utterly dry before the next watering session.
  • Temperature: A lover of warmth, the Carrion Flower thrives in hot climates. However, indoor sheltering or a greenhouse environment is recommended in regions where temperatures plummet in winter.
  • Propagation: This plant can reproduce through stem cuttings. After cutting, allow the stem to dry for a few days, forming a callous, before planting in soil.
  • Potential Pests: Like many succulents, it occasionally falls prey to mealybugs or aphids. Regular inspection and prompt treatment can keep these pests at bay.

DO YOU KNOW? Caring (propagating, pruning/trimming, beheading, watering, …) is a set of skills that is widely applicable to succulents. Read the in-depth guide here >>

Richard Miller – Succulent City

Conclusion: Celebrating Botanical Wonders

The Carrion Flower is a vivid reminder that beauty in nature often comes intertwined with function. Its spellbinding blooms and scent-driven deception are a testament to evolution’s artistry. Embracing and nurturing such a plant enriches our gardens and expands our appreciation for the diverse wonders the botanical world holds.

If you want to know more about Stapelia, click here:

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

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Posted in Succulents