This stunning flower is borne from a decumbent succulent stem; the stem is often eaten as a vegetable in Ethiopia and Somalia. Native to northeastern Africa, it is also found in very localized areas of Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen. Edithcolea grandis is the only representative of its genus. Its natural distribution is becoming more restricted and it should be considered a candidate for protection wherever it grows naturally. As Scott notes, it emits an odor that is described as “carrion” or “fetid” — meant to mimic rotting meat in order to attract pollinating flies.
Commonly called Persian carpet flower for its colour and pattern, it is occasionally cultivated as an ornamental in desert gardens worldwide. However, it has gained a reputation as a particularly difficult plant to keep because of its very specific growing needs and will often succumb to rot before producing one of its tantalizing blooms.