Huernia hislopii

A big thank you to Ton Rulkens (aka tonrulkens@Flickr for this image of Huernia hislopii. Huernia hislopii (commonly known as dragon flower) is a member of the Apocynaceae (a family that now includes the former Asclepiadaceae; Huernia is in the subfamily Asclepiadoideae, which consists of 200 genera). Comprised of roughly 64 species, Huernia spp. are native to eastern and southern Africa. They are generally low-growing succulent perennials with thorn-like leaves, five-angled stems, and 5-merous flowers (flowers usually have a smaller lobe in between each of the larger five lobes or points). In general, the flowers emit a distinct odour of decaying flesh that varies in strength between species. Carrion flies are major pollinators of this group as they are attracted to the strong aroma of the flowers.

For gardeners interested in cultivating this species or other of its genus (e.g., Huernia pendula via PlantZAfrica), Huernia species do not tolerate cold and wet weather. They may be overwintered at a minimum of 10 degrees Celsius if kept dry. In colder climates, they may be kept inside and do well in clay pots with coarse well-drained mix of organic matter and sand/gravel. However, when summer comes and the flower buds appear, it is a good idea to move the plant outside to avoid the stench! Stem cuttings will propagate well when laid on moist sandy soil.

Huernia hislopii

3 responses to “Huernia hislopii”

  1. Lindsay Alexander

    Wow! What an amazing looking plant! Excellent photograph too. I just love getting my mini botany lesson in my email. Thanks for all your hard work. It is appreciated.

  2. Iris

    At first I thought it was an under the sea series coming up!
    I sense another coveted plant for my collection.
    Your photos never cease to amaze me.
    Thank you.

  3. Randa

    Wow. That is incredible. Thank you for sharing photos and descriptions that I would otherwise not have known about. It is fabulous being exposed to so many different plants and flowers from around the world.

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