Back in 2008, when I visited Austin, Texas for the first garden bloggers’ get together, Annie in Austin gave me a start of her Stapelia, which she had gotten from her Aunt Phyl.
I’m excited to announce that after two years of growing in my sunroom, my blogalong passalong Stapelia from Annie now has six flower buds on it. This Stapelia, which Annie thinks might be Stapelia gigantea, is sometimes called starfish flower because the blooms are shaped like a starfish.
I’m scared to announce that after two years of growing in my sunroom, my blogalong passalong Stapelia from Annie now has six flower buds on it. The other common name for this plant is carrion flower. It gets this name because the flowers try to mimic dead meat in both color and scent to attract carrion flies which help to pollinate it.
The sensible thing to do would be to take this plant outside right now and let it bloom there. However, it is not hardy and the shock of the cool nights might be too much for it. I’d hate to lose it to some freakish early frost, which after the season we’ve had, I sort of expect.
Earlier today, I started reading through a review copy of the new book Bizarre Botanicals by Larry Mellichamp and Paula Gross (Timberpress, $24.95) and was delighted to see that they included Stapelia as a bizarre plant. Must be because it tries to imitate dead meat. Apparently the authors know at least one person who was so disgusted by the scent that he took his blooming Stapelia out to the garden and buried it.
I hope the scent isn’t that bad. I’m both excited and scared to find out. Since it is my sunroom, I can always close the door to that room and seal it off from the rest of the house. If necessary, I’ll do that. Or I’ll take a quick picture when it blooms then cut the flower off and throw it outside.
The authors of Bizarre Botanicals, to be published in October, also noted that this is an easy passalong plant, so maybe it is time for me to take a few cuttings from mine to root and pass along to someone else?
Be excited and scared, I might just offer you one!