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Orbea semota


Scientific Name

Orbea semota (N.E. Br.) L.C. Leach


Orbea semota subsp. semota, Stapelia semota

Scientific Classification

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


Orbea semota is a mat-forming succulent that grows up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall. Stems are fleshy, erect or procumbent, strongly-toothed, and up to 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) across. Flowers are borne singly or several together, from any part of the stem. They are star-shaped, up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, and dark maroon or dark brown with yellow marks at tips or throughout lobes.


USDA hardiness zones 11a to 11b: from 40 °F (+4.4 °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 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 stems.

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 an insect.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.


Orbea semota is native to South AfricaKenya, and Namibia.

Subspecies and Varieties


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