Sunday, 1 November 2015

Stapelia Seedpod

Stapelia variegata seeds emerging from their pod on my windowsill, 31 October 2015.
Stapelia variegata seeds emerging from their pod on my windowsill, 31 October 2015.
Stapelia variegata is a South African plant that I have been growing on and off as a houseplant for decades.  It lives outside in a sunny spot all summer, then comes indoors to avoid frosts.

Last year it flowered.

Stapelia variegata in flower on my balcony, 13 August 2014.
Stapelia variegata in flower on my balcony, 13 August 2014.
The flower smells of rotting meat and is pollinated by carrion flies, so however pretty it may be, that's a good reason to grow it outdoors.

The, this year, it developed a seed pod.  The pod just sat there until the end of October, when it suddenly opened wide over the course of a day.  That's a full 14 months between flowering and spreading its seed, which seems unusually long to me.

This is the pod just splitting open:

Stapelia variegata seeds emerging from their pod on my windowsill, 31 October 2015.
Stapelia variegata seeds emerging from their pod on my windowsill, 31 October 2015.
(There is a bit of another plant in there on the left.)  And here's a closer look at the seeds with their pappus.

Stapelia variegata seeds emerging from their pod on my windowsill, 31 October 2015.
Stapelia variegata seeds emerging from their pod on my windowsill, 31 October 2015.
With those thin seeds, these little packages are light enough to fly in the slightest draught, and they would be all over my bedroom by now if they were not emerging straight into a spider's web, which you can see some strands of at the top of the first photo.

This plant has recently been moved to another genus, and you may see it called Orbea variegata. 


1 comment:

  1. Congrats! I had never seen stapelia seeds although I get many kinds of flowers every year. Thank you very much for sharing your photos!

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