Stapelia leendertziae N.E. Br.
Black Bells, Maroon Cup Starfish, Rugose Cup Starfish, Star Flower, Carrion Flower
Ceropegia leendertziae, Gonostemon leendertziae, Stapelia wilmaniae
The specific epithet "leendertziae (leen-DERTZ-ee-ay)" honors Reino Leendertz, later Mrs. Pott (1869–1965), a Dutch botanist and the first official botanist employed at the Transvaal Museum who first discovered the species at Heidelberg.
Stapelia leendertziae is an attractive succulent that forms large clumps of green, shortly pubescent stems with small tubercles on the angles and purple mottling towards the tips. The stems are quadrangular, decumbent with a short ascending base, and can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick.
The plant is most conspicuous in bloom due to its unique large flowers arising near the base of stems on short, stout peduncles. The flowers are purple-brown to dark purple, bell-shaped to urn-shaped, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long, nearly equal in diameter, and appear in late summer.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °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 water withdrawal during the winter months. A minimum winter temperature of 50 °F (10 °C) is acceptable, providing 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 their 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 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 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 insects.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.
Forms and Cultivars
- Back to genus Stapelia
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Click on a photo to see a larger version.