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Posts Tagged ‘Stapeliad’

The two areas of intrest that have held my attention the longest are exotic (house)plants and fantastic literature. I have been into plants since I was about 12 years old, and at that time I was already an avid reader. A long-standing favourite book that combines these interests, a book I have previously mentioned on this blog, is Hothouse, by Brian Aldiss. His Saliva tree is also a classic in its own right. Of course, there are plenty of others. In my botany-related to-read pile is Phytosphere by Scott Mackay and Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. Maybe a future area of collecting, botanical SF and Fantasy? I haven’t even gotten into green/macro biopunk yet. Just wait til I get my lab up and running… Any book recommendations?

I am growing tiny black holes in my bedroom window...

Huernia keniensis. I am growing tiny black holes in my bedroom window…

With an interest in the odd, grotesque and strangely beautiful, the more common houseplants did not do it for me, at least not for long. So I researched… Among the orchids there are many species that look beyond weird but I will start this series with another class of plants, the Stapeliads (tribus stapeliae). To add even more epicness, almost all the generas have names that really trigger the imagination: Huernia, Carraluma, Stapelia, Quaqua and Tromotriche. The genus Hoodia that has been featured in the weight-loss press, is also a stapeliad.

Stapelia grandiflora

Stapelia grandiflora

Probably Stapelia lepida

Probably Stapelia lepida

I wouldn’t go so far as to say reality is more fantastic than mine (and your) imagination. But I would say they are equal, if you know where to look.

These plants are E A S Y to cultivate, cheap to buy cuttings of (but you’ll have to wait a while for them to flower if you buy smaller cuttings) and generally awesome. They do like to dry up between waterings and a sunny, but not burning hot, spot in a bright window. Fortunately, as opposed to several orchid genera, they tend to look nice (Well, barbed-tentacle-nice) even when not flowering. The only disadvantage might be the stink. Yep, most of them are pollinated by flies, not by butterflies or moths. Ergo: “scent” of rotting meat or days-old cadaver. Some species are worse than others. When growing them in a small apartment I either open the window a bit or (really!) cut the flowers off and throw them away after a couple of days.

Upcoming: at least several posts on different orchid species, various pretty-leaf plants and probably more stapeliads, since the ones I bought a couple of years ago now are flowering size. Also, maybe a drollery or to inspired by my plant collection? Moving into my new and plant-wise very optimal apartment next week. Can’t wait!

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