Orbea lutea (N.E. Br.) Bruyns
subsp. lutea

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Orbea lutea subsp. lutea

Photo: Dewald du Plessis
5 Palms Pan, Gweta

Orbea lutea subsp. lutea

Photo: Dewald du Plessis
5 Palms Pan, Gweta

Orbea lutea subsp. lutea

Photo: Dewald du Plessis
5 Palms Pan, Gweta

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Caralluma lutea N.E. Br.
Ceropegia lutea (N.E.Br.) Bruyns
Orbeopsis lutea (N.E. Br.) L.C. Leach
Common names:
Status: Native
Succulent herb, forming mats up to more than 1 m in diameter. Stems up to 12 cm high, grey-green mottled with red-brown; tubercular teeth flattened, triangular, 6-10 mm long. Inflorescences 1 or 2 in the lower half of the stems, 3-30 flowered, often opening more or less simultaneously. Sepals lanceolate-ovate, pointed, 5-8 mm long. Corolla 35-65 mm in diameter, spreading, star-shaped; smooth pale creamy-green to yellow; inside rough and papillate except in the tube, from yellow (in South Africa) to reddish-brown or maroon (Botswana and Zimbabwe), sometimes blotched with yellow; lobes narrowly lanceolate, spreading, 18-35 mm long. Corona with outer lobes wider than long, emarginate to toothed at the apex but more or less rectangular and almost touching as to form a cup, yellow, often with reddish ridges.
Notes: Despite the name flower colour is very variable. Only in South Africa are most specimens yellow and specimens from Zimbabwe are dark red to maroon.
Derivation of specific name: lutea: yellow (but see note)
Habitat: Open Acacia woodland on stony ground often on calcrete.
Altitude range: (metres) 500 - 1500 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa
Zimbabwe distribution: W
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status: Vulnerable
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Tuesday 17 March 2020

Bruyns, P.V. (2002). Monograph of Orbea and Ballyanthus (Apocynaceae-Asclepiadoideae-Ceropegieae) Systematic Botany Monographs 63 Pages 113 - 115.

Fabian, A. & Germishuizen, G. (1997). Wild Flowers of Northern South Africa. Fernwood Press, Vlaeburg. Pages 322 - 323. as Orbeopsis lutea subsp. lutea (Includes a picture).

Golding, J.S. (ed.) (2002). Zimbabwe Plant Red Data List. Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. SABONET 14 Page 162.

Goyder, D.J., Gilbert, M.G. & Venter, H.J.T. (2020). Apocynaceae (Part 2) Flora Zambesiaca 7(2) Pages 218 - 219. (Includes a picture).

Kirby, G. (2013). Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana Struik Nature, Cape Town South Africa Page 123. (Includes a picture).

Leach, L.C. (1978). A contribution towards a new classification of Stapelieae (Asclepiadaceae) with a preliminary review of Orbea Haw. and descriptions of three new genera Excelsa Taxonomic Series No. 1 Aloe, Cactus and Succulent Society of Zimbabwe Pages 64 - 65. As Orbeopsis lutea

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 21.

Pooley, E. (1998). A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust. Durban. Pages 302 - 303. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 28.

Van Wyk, B. & Malan, S. (1988). Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Witwatersrand and Pretoria Region Struik, Cape Town Pages 96 - 97. as Orbeopsis lutea subsp. lutea (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Orbea lutea subsp. lutea:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Orbea lutea subsp. lutea

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Orbea lutea
African Plant Database: Orbea lutea
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Orbea lutea
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Orbea lutea
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Orbea lutea
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Orbea lutea
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Orbea lutea
JSTOR Plant Science: Orbea lutea
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Orbea lutea
Plants of the World Online: Orbea lutea
Tropicos: Orbea lutea
Wikipedia: Orbea lutea

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Orbea lutea subsp. lutea.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=146690, retrieved 15 June 2024

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