Barry Meyers-Rice (miacoden!
Thu Feb 17 12:43:55 1994

This is somewhat off topic and should be pursued on cactus_etc but since
it was raised...

The most common growth habit among stapelliads is the sprawling style
seen in stapellia gigantea. They grow upright and do branch upwards
until they flop over from their own weight. Since they are fleshy and
produce little woody supportive tissue the flopping happens sooner for
the larger varieties than the smaller.

This makes them better for tall pots and hanging baskets. In habitat,
each of the stems can reroot where it touches ground. This is apparently
the preferred form for the plant. A recent CSSA journal stated that both
growth rate and appearance suffer on stems which are too far from a root
point and recommends that stapellia never be transplanted to a pot over
6" in diameter. If the plant is so big that it needs a larger pot, then
it should be divided.

Stapelliads and their relatives evolved in an environment lacking the
common bee and instead were adapted to attract flies. Most flowers
resemble carrion in both appearance and aroma. One CSSA journal a few
years back described a flower form with structures resembling a female
fly. I wonder why no CP has been reported with that mimicry.

Bob Cruder -