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Orbea ciliata (Starfish Stapelia)


Scientific Name

Orbea ciliata  (Thunb.) L. C. Leach

Common Names

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


Stapelia ciliata (basionym), Diplocyatha ciliata, Stisseria ciliata

Scientific Classification

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


Orbea ciliata is a prostrate-growing succulent up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall. The stems are short, 4-angled, sharp-toothed, grayish-green (dark purple-brown in full sun) mottled with purple, branching from the base, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and 0.7 (18 mm) thick. The starfish-like flowers are sub-solitary, pale yellowish to creamy-white in color, dotted with red and up to 4 inches (10 cm) across.


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 absolutely 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 fungal attack on the roots. A layer of grit on the surface of the compost prevents moisture from accumulating around the base of the stems.

Keeping Stapelias and their roots free of pests such as mealy bugs 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 South Africa (Cape Province).


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