Kenya Natural History Guide >>> Plants >>> Asclepiadaceae >>> Caralluma acutangula

Succulent Milkweed

Caralluma (Desmidorchis) acutangula

Caralluma inflorescence photo © by Michael Plagens

Possibly Caralluma acutangula. Adjacent to the Nakuru-Sigor Road at Lake Baringo, Rift Valley Province, Kenya. 9 October 2010. Several plants in area all about 1 meter tall.

Many species of succulent milkweed can be found in the semiarid and desert areas of Africa, and Kenya is no exception. In many ways they resemble cactus that are native to the New World, or the succulent spurges native to Africa, but are unrelated. Text books often give this as an example of convergent evolution. Besides thorns, many milkweeds are defended from herbivores by highly toxic compounds and irritating latex resin. a succulent asclepiadaceae, photo © Michael Plagens Notice the unusual flower color, like the color of drying carrion or flesh. Indeed the mass of flowers smell of rotting meat and attract flies - flies that are the agents of pollination.

Asclepiadaceae -- Milkweed Family
(now included in the Apocynaceae -- Dogbane Family)

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succulent milkweed from Baringo region photo © by Michael Plagens

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 2 December 2010,
updated 20 April 2013