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Orbea ciliata (Starfish Stapelia)

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Scientific Name

Orbea ciliata  (Thunb.) L. C. Leach

Common Names

Starfish Stapelia, Near-white Starfish, Double Crown, Double Cup

Synonyms

Stapelia ciliata (basionym), Diplocyatha ciliata, Stisseria ciliata

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Orbea ciliata is a much-branched succulent perennial, up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall, with decumbent or ascending stems and attractive star-shaped flowers. Stems are 4-angled, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long, sharp-toothed, and grayish-green to dark purple-brown in full sun. Flowers are up to 4 inches (10 cm) across, pale yellow to creamy-white, and dotted with red.

Orbea ciliata

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Several species are fairly 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.

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

Origin

Native to South Africa (Cape Province).

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