Real World Gardener Stinky Starfish Cactus is Plant of the Week

May 10th, 2017



Starfish Plant

Orbea variegata 


Are you a plant collector of something?

Perhaps you collect Bromeliads, Frangipanis, or maybe succulents?

Not all succulents are garden friendly and this one today, you need to be wary of for more than one reason.



But first, let’s find out about this plant.

I'm talking with the plant panel :Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.


Originally from South Africa this succulent is often collected by enthusiasts,

Orbeas are leafless, succulent perennials that form compact clumps. 

They branch from the base and grow out from rhizomatous rootstocks. 

The four-angled stems are usually sharp-toothed, with a soft tip. 

If you're growing this plant in a pot, place it in a sandy well drained mix.  

Plants can survive long periods without water, but water them before they shrink too much and will not be able to recover. 
The flower of Starfish plant, really does look like a starfish, but it’s also called giant toad plants’, ‘carrion plants’, ‘carrion flowers’, ‘giant zulus, and ‘starfish cacti’. 


From SA’s Biosecurity website, the following information about this plant.
The outer sheath of the fruit peels back to expose a mass of seeds, each with a tuft of hair that will be dispersed by the wind.
Carrion flower can also spread vegetatively via stem fragments moved by people,
machinery, animals or water.

So there it’s a threat to arid landscape in South Australia.

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