Orbea melanantha is a distinct stapeliad characterized by stout stems 80-100 mm tall, the denticles on the stem teeth being very prominent on young sterns, but as the stems thicken the denticles are reduced to scars. Orbea melanantha is distinguished from all other species of Orbea, except Orbea lutea, by its dense clusters of more or less simultaneously opening, uniformly coloured, dark red to almost black, and fairly large flowers (50 mm across).
Orbea melanantha produces clusters of salmon-red five-stellate flowers. Despite its beautiful flowers, this plant has a strong, fetid odor that attracts large numbers of carrion flies, which are sometimes even deceived into depositing their eggs on the flowers.
Orbea will require much water and soaking the pots. They will tolerate very hot weather outdoors as long as they are kept in filtered light and this will encourage them to flower in the Autumn. They also enjoy some fertilizer.
As soon as they are flowered be sure to take extra precautions to keep them dry, because damp cool conditions when the plants are resting is an invitation to fungal infections
Since roots are quite shallow, use a cactus mix or add extra perlite or pumice to regular soil potting soil. A gritty, very free-draining compost is suitable, and clay pots help the plants to dry out between watering. Re-pot every 1 year.
Makes an attractive landscape plant and grasslands or pampas, on plains and walls It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small.