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Orbea caudata


Scientific Name

Orbea caudata (N.E.Br.) Bruyns


Caralluma caudata (basionym), Orbea caudata subsp. caudata

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Ceropegieae
Subtribe: Stapeliinae
Genus: Orbea


Orbea caudata is a low-growing succulent with dark olive-green or grey-green stems that spread over the ground forming lax mats. The stems are more or less mottled with brownish or purple, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) across excluding teeth. The teeth are long-tapering, spine-like, more or less spaced, horizontally spreading or up-curved, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long. The five-pointed, star-shaped flowers are yellowish to dark-yellow and produced in late summer or fall.

Orbea caudata

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USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Several species are relatively easy to grow. Others, often those with slightly hairy stems and the more unusual flowers, are more challenging and require careful watering (with some fertilizer) during the growing season and complete withdrawal of water during the winter months. A minimum winter temperature of 10°C (50°F) is acceptable, providing that plants are kept dry. A heated growing bench or incubator may help delicate plants to get through the colder months. However, many species live under shrubs in habitat and prefer light shade rather than full sun.

A gritty compost is essential, and clay pots are advisable for the more delicate species. Some growers prefer a mineral-only compost to minimize the chance of a fungal attack on the roots. A layer of grit on the surface of the compost prevents moisture from accumulating around the base of stems.

Keeping Stapelias and their roots free of pests such as mealybugs is the real key to success as fungal attack often occurs as a result of damage to stems by insects. See more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia


Native to Malawi, Tanzania, ZambiaMozambique, Zimbabwe, Southeast Angola, Northeast Namibia, and Botswana.



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