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Orbea lutea (Yellow Carrion Flower)


Scientific Name

Orbea lutea (N. E. Br.) Bruyns

Common Names

Yellow Carrion Flower


Caralluma lutea (basionym), Orbeopsis lutea, Orbea lutea subsp. lutea

Scientific Classification

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


Orbea lutea is a succulent perennial, up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall, with usually erect, 4-angled stems with acute teeth. When growing in shade the stems may become sprawling. They are green mottled with shades of maroon to purple in full sun. Flowers are pale yellow to golden yellow, produced in clusters of inflorescences consisting of 6 to 24 flowers, usually borne at the base of the stems. The fruit is a single or paired, spindle-shaped follicle, about 3.6 inches (9 cm) long.


USDA hardiness zone 9b to 10b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °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 a 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 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 South Africa (Cape Province, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Transvaal), Botswana, Angola, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.



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