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It’s easy to see why people love succulents. Not only are they an interesting-looking and diverse species, they withstand drought and heat (something we all have to get more accustomed to); protect themselves with dangerous spikes; and have beautiful, Abstract art–like shapes. But one of the most incredible features they have is their flowers. Their otherworldly appearance stops me dead in my tracks every time I get a glimpse. One I’m loving right now: the Stapelia variety. 

Stapelia are hardy and low-maintenance—they just need sun and very little water—and can be grown from seeds or propagated from cuttings. They bloom often, and a few of the most common and easy-to-grow varieties are Stapelia gigantea (naturally, sporting the biggest flower), Stapelia grandiflora, and Stapelia hirsuta. 

Courtesy of Verdant Lyfe

But when I first saw a bloom on my pretty traditional, cacti-esque succulent, there was something slightly eerie about it. For all you Stranger Things fans out there: It looked a little too much like the Demogorgon. Is this where the Duffer brothers got the inspiration for their terrifying predator? I can’t say for sure, but I think we can all agree that these hairy guys are definitely from another dimension. 

This plant is full of surprises, too. The voluptuous flowers only last a few days but, much like the Demogorgon, they keep coming back season after season. They range in color and size depending on the species (some are dark berry, others more green, and still others boast a speckled pattern), but they all have that familiar five-pointed head, which is why they are sometimes dubbed a starfish flower. Get really close and you might detect a foul odor, which attracts pollinators in its natural habitat of Africa (no honeybees, alas). Don’t worry, it doesn’t waft about. 

If you’re like me—a Stranger Things fan and a plant nerd—this conversation piece is one to add to your indoor jungle.