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Orbea semota

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Scientific Name

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

Synonyms

Orbea semota subsp. semota, Stapelia semota

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Orbea semota is a mat-forming succulent up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall. The stems are fleshy, erect or procumbent, strongly-toothed and up to 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) across. The 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.

Hardiness

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 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 mealybugs is the real key to success as fungal attack often occurs as a result of damage to stems by insect.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.

Origin

Orbea semota is native to South AfricaKenya and Namibia.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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