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Orbea schweinfurthii


Scientific Name

Orbea schweinfurthii (A.Berger) Bruyns


Caralluma schweinfurthii, Pachycymbium schweinfurthii, Angolluma schweinfurthii, Ceropegia schweinfurthii, Caralluma piaranthoides

Scientific Classification

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


Orbea schweinfurthii is a mat-forming, succulent perennial with unusual, star-shaped flowers, yellow to brown in color, spotted with wine-red, beige or purple. The stems are 4- to 5-ribbed, mostly prostrate, basally slightly tapering and up to 4 inches (10 cm) long. The tubercles are spreading to slightly ascending and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long. The flowers appear in summer to fall.


USDA hardiness zones 10a 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  50 °F (10 °C) 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 an insect.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.


Orbea schweinfurthii is native to Zaire, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda.


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