Orbea ciliata (Thunb.) L. C. Leach
Starfish Stapelia, Near-white Starfish, Double Crown, Double Cup
Stapelia ciliata, Diplocyatha ciliata, Stisseria ciliata
Orbea ciliata is a mat-forming succulent with green decumbent or ascending stems beautifully marked with purple-brown to nearly entirely purple-brown if grown in a sunny spot. They are stout, often nearly cylindrical, with prominent conical tubercles that taper into a fine acute tip, up to 4.8 inches (12 cm) long and up to one inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, excluding teeth. Flowers are star-shaped, up to 4.4 inches (11 cm) across, with white vibratile cilia along the margins of the lobes. The inside of the flower, including the annulus, is cream to pale greenish-yellow and covered with a fairly dense patchwork of irregular short ridges usually tipped with purple-red. The outside is smooth, pale green dotted and streaked with reddish-purple, usually with five slightly raised darker veins along lobes.
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 water withdrawal 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 their 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 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 due to damage to stems by insects.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.
This species is native to South Africa (Cape Province).
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