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Orbea dummeri (Stapelia dummeri)

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Scientific Name

Orbea dummeri (N. E. Br.) Bruyns

Synonyms

Stapelia dummeri, Caralluma dummeri, Pachycymbium dummeri, Angolluma dummeri

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Orbea dummeri, formerly known as Stapelia dummeri, is an unusual succulent with roundish, erect, spreading, or decumbent stems. It grows up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall, spreading to form mats up to 12 inches (30 cm) wide. Stems are pale grey-green to almost white with reddish-purple dots, splotches and lines, and long, pointed tubercles. The hairy flowers are olive-green, borne on short stalks, and appear in summer.

Orbea dummeri (Stapelia dummeri)

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °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. A layer of grit on the compost's surface prevents moisture from accumulating around the base of the 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.

Origin

Native to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi.

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