I have become a fan of stapeliads and bought one I don’t have the other day at the Living Desert in Spicewood. It was not identified, which is not uncommon because there are so many very similar varieties. As luck would have it, i was blessed with blooms right after I brought it home.
The blooms have the telltale hairy filaments, the star-shaped flower, and a very light carrion smell typical of stapeliads. Based on my research, It is in the family apocynaceae and I think this is of the genus stapeliad caralluma fimbriata, a plant now touted as an appetite suppressant.
The plant is native to India, Sri Lanka, and the Arabian peninsula to North Africa where it is eaten as a vegetable with spices as a portable food and to curb thirst. I found it confusing when there was more information on the Internet about its medical notoriety than descriptions about the plant itself. Some entries praised its weight loss efficacy followed by a number of warnings about the inconsistencies in its ingredients and its safely. I am only listing works cited that talk about the plant; if you want to investigate the medical claims, you are on your own. All I wanted was a new stapeliad!
The body of the plant is a lighter green than my others and a slightly different form. And the flowers have an interesting design in the center. So I consider it a good addition to my collection. But I’m not planning on using it for appetite control, although I could always use some help in that area!
If you see it advertised for weight loss, I would give it some thought before spending good money on it. If you want a nice succulent to add to your collection, go for it.