The flowering season for most Stapelia species is summer
and early autumn, and the plants are by this time entering a period of
winter torpor. Back when the weather was warmer, though, I had some nice
blooms from these African desert relatives of the roadside wildflower
Stapelia grandiflora has impressive flowers, the size of
teacups, that are both colored and scented to attract pollinators such
as carrion flies. In the greenhouse, I usually realize that the flowers
have opened by the smell alone, and only after checking under the
benches and not finding any actual dead squirrels.
flavopurpurea, on the other hand, has small but very cheerful-looking
flowers for a stapeliad. The flower colors of different individuals of
S. flavopurpurea are remarkably diverse and can include various
combinations of violet, red, white, orange and chartreuse. It must be
pollinated by something other than the usual carrion insects, because
its fragrance is pleasant and sweet.