Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania
Orbea semota is a distinct stapeliad known for the foul smelling flowers that are designed by nature to attract flies for pollination. The fairly large flowers (to 50 mm across) vary from chocolate brown with a light pattern to pure yellow (var.lutea). The fine hairs flickering in the faintest breeze that cover the surface of the flowers, further enhance the resemblance to carrion, perhaps as an attraction to pollinators. Orbea semota is a much-branched, mat forming succulent to 10 cm tall, the stems decurved and rooting freely in contact with the soil.
Stems are erect or procumbent, 10-18 mm across excluding teeth. Teeth stout, conical, ascending or spreading, to 12 mm long.
Orbea plants prefer early morning or late afternoon sun. They 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.