Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stapelia gigantea pallida, Giant Toad Plant

Stapelia gigantea pallida in flower and about to be polinated by a blowfly

Photo showing balloon like flower buds of this Stapelia

Stapelia are from arid tropical regions of Africa and this one from Malawi is called the "Giant Toad Plant" or Carrion flower, a reference to the smell of the flower being similar to rotting meat and the flies which are attracted to it.The flowers are a bile yellow colour covered in a hairy purple fuzz. Sounds delightful .....but it is quite unique in the plant world and a real talking point when in flower. Because it likes it on the dry side it makes a good container or hanging basket plant and will happily grow indoors on a sunny window sill. I have grown it in the garden but stems rot easily during humid weather and it can turn to mush overnight.
Roots form readily on the square stems so propagation is easy and growth during the warm months is rapid.
2017 update: I usually have plants available for sale.

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