Dorstenia foetida is a native of Arabia and Ethiopia. It is an evergreen perennial with a thick dark green- to mahogany-colored stems and light green lanceolate leaves. They are strange looking plants that reach about 12 inches (30 cm) in height in containers.
Blooming Time: The tentacle-like bracts are termed a hypanthodium on which small flowers arise.
Culture: Dorstenia foetida need partial shade to full shade with warm temperatures and a well-drained soil mix. We use a soil mix with 2 parts sand to 1 part loam. During the growing season, the plants are watered and then allowed to dry slightly, making sure that they never dry completely out. They are fertilized once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. During the winter months, they will exhibit some leaf loss. During this period, they should be given very little water. Dorstenias are hardy in USDA zones 10-12.
Propagation: Dorstenia foetida are propagated by seed. The seed pods open explosively, ejecting seed up to 3-5 feet (1-2 meters) from the plant. If one wants to collect seed, it is best to bag the pods. Seed germinate readily at 70° F (21° C).
Dorstenia foetida was featured as Plant of the Week October 4-10, 2002.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.