Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Stapelia gigantea
N.E.Br., Apocynaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Evaluate, score: 3 (Go to the risk assessment).

Common name(s): [more details]

English: carrion flower, giant toad plant, starfish flower, Zulu giant

Habit:  succulent

Description:  "Succulent perennial herb branching at the base with purplish, finely pubescent, cylindrical, vertically four-ridged stems to 40 cm high, bearing soft spines on the margins, sap clear unlike most members of the milkweed family Asclepiadaceae.  Leaves absent.  Flowers anytime during the year; flowers solitary or paired, axillary.  Corolla fused petals, stellate, 16-40 cm in diameter, divided about halfway into five triangular, attenuate lobes, purple on the outside, yellow with crimson transverse lines and purple hairs, foul smelling.  Fruit a pair of follicles 10-20 cm long, containing numerous silky-tufted seeds"  (Whistler, 2000; pp. 428-429).

"Stems erect or decumbent, 10-20 cm long, softly pubescent.  Flowers 1-2 in clusters near the base or middle of young branches, pedicels ca. 2.5 cm long; corolla reddish brown to yellow with irregular reddish brown transverse lines, rotate, the lobes ovate, 10-16 cm long, pubescent with long purple hairs; corona purplish brown"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 241).

"A similar species, Stapelia nobilis, may also be sparingly naturalized in Hawai‘i.  It differs from S. gigantea primarily in the campanulate corolla with lobes 7-10.3 cm long and in being more pubescent with similar long purple hairs" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 241).

Habitat/ecology:  Dry areas.

Propagation:  Wind-dispersed seed.

Native range:  Tropical and southern Africa and Mozambique (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 241)

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Parker, James L./Parsons, Bobby (2012) (p. 57)
Voucher cited: J. parker & R. Parsons BIED84 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L./Meidell, J. Scott/Bartlett, R. T. (1999) (p. 7)
West Maui. Voucher cited: Oppenheimer 304 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank (2010) (p. 33)
East Maui. Voucher cited: Oppenheimer & D. Crow H60804 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wysong, Michael/Hughes, Guy/Wood, K. R. (2007) (pp. 2-3)
Voucher cited: Wysong 537 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 241)
Sparingly naturalized.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 20)
Vouchers cited: MacKee 23039, MacKee 29591
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie (2009) (p. 5)
Single potted plant seen in the Legislative Building at the Capitol, Melekeok.


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 30 DEC 2011.