Stapelia gigantea, or Carrion Flower

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I’ve had this plant a long time. I first got it in 1998 or so. I couldn’t bring it with me to Ireland, but I did take a cutting and brought it in sans soil. Lucky for me, it survived a month in the container in a jar of water and damp paper towel. Probably still illegal, but at least I didn’t bring any bugs or weird microbes in to the country. It’s a house plant, here, but is native to South Africa – as it seems a lot of my favourite plants are!

Oddly enough, after 11 years, this thing finally decided to bloom. Not that long ago, I gave it a good soaking, and a wash (the leaves are furry and collect a lot of cat hair), and I guess that finally sparked it into flowering. I won’t read anything into a corpse flower blooming the week my Spotty cat died.

First I noticed was that there was a huge balloon sticking out the side.


Stormtrooper mini-fig for size. We all know how big they are, right?

Then it opened.


Weird as hell, right? And it does, indeed, stink of death. Not that bad, really, unless you stick your face right in it. The scent and hairs are to mimic a dead animal, as this is a fly-pollinated plant. The texture of the bloom is very much like leather, too. This one started to shrivel today, so I cut it off. But there are several more coming, so I am taking better care of it than I usually do. It got another good soaking today.

If you want to learn more about this unique plant. 

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23 responses »

  1. We had one of these bloom in the National Botanical Garden earlier this summer and there were innumerable gag Tweets about bodies actually being concealed there. No pictures this good though.

  2. Because its a corpse flower, and it will attract flies… Have you considered trolling the flies and putting a couple of carnivorous plants nearby? B-)

    Not that I am evil or anything!

  3. Think of it more as flower blooming after Spot’s death vs. what type of flower it is.

    My first thought was of Vileplume πŸ™‚

Thoughts? Gardening tips? Cocktail recipes? Don't just like and leave, please - I can talk for Ireland and would love to prove it!

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