Friday, October 26, 2007

Carrion Flower

Stapelia, a blooming house plant

A friend gave me a small start of this succulent houseplant a few years ago. It wasn't until it bloomed two years ago that I realized it was a Stapelia, and not some euphorbiaceous thing. Stapelia is sometimes listed as a member of the milkweed family, Asclepiadaceae, and sometimes as Apocynaceae (dogbane and Indian hemp are North American species). Either way, its odd, fleshy flowers are in character. This species' flowers smell strongly of rotting meat (to the horror and dismay of my cat, Princess), and last time it bloomed, it was warm enough to place out in the yard, where it attracted blowflies. The blowflies actually oviposited on the flower, and in a few days, I had a brood of forlorn maggots looking in vain for something to eat. With any luck, it will stop raining, and I can take the plant back outside for its quirky, fruitless pollination.

Some links, including some amazing photographs of other Stapelia species:

Stapelia flower center


Brett said...

Forlorn maggots, huh? Did they turn to the bottle and start listening to tangos in dark rooms?

Reya Mellicker said...

Wow, that's so creepy. Perfect for Halloween!