Stapelia gigantea flower: A week of stanky good times!

I received cuttings of this Stapelia gigantea over 2 years ago and finally got my first flower from it! The bud took nearly 2 weeks to fully mature and open although it looked ready to pop after 1 week.

It gets bright filtered east facing light (outdoors) and water about 2x a month. The flowers are stinky since they’re goal is to attract pollinators like flies which lay their eggs around the stamen. It’s the perfect combination of beauty and grotesque which makes these flowers so fascinating! Stapeliads aren’t self-fertile so I won’t get seeds unless some flies found a neighbor around here that also has a Stapelia in bloom…

You can watch the video I made of doing a ‘smell test’ and measuring the flower here. The first day it really stank then the next it had faded. But I checked again on its 5th day open and it was back to stinking again!

October 20, 2019 – A green Anole patiently awaits the bloom. Me – not so patient!
October 21, 2019
October 22, 2019
October 23, 2019 – starting to show its colors
October 26, 2019 – I thought this would be the day…
October 29, 2019 – I had to move it into my garage since we had a cold front come through
October 30, 2019- It finally opened!!
October 30, 2019- It is almost 14″ / 35cm!!
October 31, 2019 – The petals have folded backwards. The hairs resemble fur to attract pollinators who feed on carrion (dead critters).
October 31, 2019 – A macro shot of the petal details
November 4, 2019 – Day 6 of being open. I noticed something inside… warning – the next pictures get up close and grody!
November 4, 2019 – A fly has laid eggs all around the stamen
November 4, 2019 – The fleshy texture and odor of the Stapelia flower tricks flies into thinking they’re laying eggs on something the larvae will be able to feed on
November 4, 2019 – These only took one day to hatch!
November 5, 2019 – A macro shot of the larvae
November 5, 2019 – The petals are beginning to close as if they know they’re job is done
November 5, 2019 – Such a thrilling flower to experience!
I didn’t expect it to stay open for a week!

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