En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - A cactus-like plant with stinky flowers

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - July 22, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: A cactus-like plant with stinky flowers
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Because of the green parts looking like certain cacti, a friend insists that this plant she saw in Mexico is one. Its blossom doesn't have the rose-like structure that cacti have, but resembles the infamous Rafflesia, as well as stinking like it. How can I disabuse her of the error?

ANSWER:

I don't know of a native plant that fits that description, and I am not really up on non-natives of the U.S.  However, I am willing to bet that your friend saw a species of Stapelia.  There are about 40 species, many of which have foliage resembling cactus pads, although they are not closely related to the cacti.  They are native to South Africa.  Some of the more spectacular species are pictured in the following web site. Remembering the one I had some years ago, I can vouch for the carrion smell of the gaudy flowers.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native bi-color iris from Spring Branch TX
August 18, 2011 - Bi colored iris. I have four plants planted around our water feature last fall. Up until recently they all looked very healthy, yet not blooming. Several weeks ago I noticed that two of the plants ...
view the full question and answer

Grafting stone fruit
April 02, 2009 - Do you know of anyone grafting the new low chill stone fruit trees to the Mexican plum to minimize cotton rot? Or would it even work?
view the full question and answer

Identity of the mass fields of yellow flowers in North Texas
March 23, 2012 - Are the mass fields of yellow flowers we are seeing in north Texas now likely to be Indian Mustard (brassica juncea) or Charlock (brassica kaber or sinapis arvensis)? We are teaching a wildflower ide...
view the full question and answer

Non-native mint invading flower beds in Kendallville IN
April 26, 2011 - A few years back we were given two sprouts of something referred to as peppermint tea. We planted in our flower bed and now it has taken over. It seems to start slow in the spring but doesn't take lo...
view the full question and answer

Non-native lavendar to repel scorpions in Austin
August 02, 2010 - We are having a problem with scorpions in our home. A lot of them. I have heard that lavender around the doorways and windowsills will keep them out. Is this true? If so..what form? Certain species, l...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center