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Tridentea gemmiflora (Black Carrion Flower)


Scientific Name

Tridentea gemmiflora (Masson) Haw.

Common Names

Black Carrion Flower


Stapelia gemmiflora (basionym)

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Tridentea


Tridentea gemmiflora is a clump-forming succulent with four-angled stems that grow up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) tall. There are long, soft, conical teeth on the ridges of the grey to greenish stems tipped with tiny leaves. The purple-black, flat-faced flowers are sometimes barred and mottled with creamy yellow, sometimes mottled a paler purple. The flowers grow in one inflorescence per stem.


USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Stapeliads are relatively easy to grow. They should be treated as an outdoor plant as they will easily rot indoors and cannot flower without exposure to outdoor temperature fluctuations. They should be grown under cover so that watering can be controlled. They require a reasonable amount of sunlight to promote flowering and maintain a well-shaped plant. Very shady positions will produce very poor flowering. Stapeliads come from climates where they survive extremely high temperatures in the summer months, so most growth is in spring and autumn, with flowering in autumn when the weather starts to cool down. In the growing season, water in moderation when needed, making sure soil is fairly dried out between waterings. Do not water between November 1 and March 1.

The easiest and best way to propagate Stapeliads is from stem cuttings, which can be taken virtually throughout the year. Using seeds is also a method of propagation. See more at How to Grow and Care for Stapeliads.


It is endemic to South Africa and is common in the Little Karoo and Western Cape Province.


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