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Dorstenia foetida (Grendelion)


Scientific Name

Dorstenia foetida Schweinf.

Common Names

Grendelion, Shield Flower


Cosaria forskahlii, Dorstenia arabica, Dorstenia crispa, Dorstenia obovata, Dorstenia phillipsiae, Dorstenia radiata, Korsaria forskahlei, Kosaria foetida, Kosaria obovata

Scientific Classification

Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Dorstenieae
Genus: Dorstenia


Dorstenia foetida is a small caudex-forming succulent that grows up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall. It is an evergreen perennial with thick, dark green to mahogany-colored stems and light green lanceolate leaves. Flowers are small, grayish or green and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) across.

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How to Grow and Care

Dorstenias are warm-loving plants, and they need a bit more water than regular succulents. They need a well-drained soil mix, and their water needs vary depending on the season of the year. Water regularly to abundant form spring to autumn. Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering, but make sure that they never dry out completely. During the winter months, they tend to go at least partially dormant. During this period, water very little. Giving plants a warm, sunny position can result in beautiful compact growing plants. Fertilizing plants once in a while during their growing period with a high potash and phosphorus fertilizer is recommended.

They are usually propagated by seed. Many species are self-fertile. Their seeds are expelled explosively from the mature seed heads and liable to populate pots several feet away. They can also be propagated by cuttings. The spring weather, with a high temperature swing between the day and night hours, and pretty frequent rains, can favor the development of fungus diseases, which should be treated preemptively with a systemic fungicide. See more at How to Grow and Care for Dorstenia.


Endemic to Arabia and Ethiopia.


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