Stapelias (in Juliana’s own words)

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It’s no secret we’re massive Juliana Crow fans and this passage is just too good to not copy here.

“Stapelias are often recommended as house plants.  They are curious rather than beautiful, like velvety cactus without spines.  All have flowers precisely resembling blood speckled fawn starfish and with an odour suggesting that the starfish had died a long time ago.  In the house the smell is intolerable and it is only slightly less appalling out of doors.  It will not fail to collect a flock of blowflies and delude them into laying eggs in the flowers.  These curl up before the eggs hatch, but, unless they are removed immediately, the plant will later be covered with maggots searching for the putrescence which their mother thought she had provided for them.  If you can stand the smell of the charnel house and wish to breed carrion flies by all means grow Stapelias.  Some have flowers five or six inches across with a proportionately monstrous stink, and all are easy.  If, on the other hand, you dislike nasty smells, avoid also Hoodia, Duvalia, Huernia and – in spite of its enchanting name – Quaqua.  They all reek abominably.”

At times we have to remind ourselves that she isn’t just writing for us and that her words are over 60 years old.  So good.

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