Up until a few days ago, I would have told you Stapelias are my favorite cactus. However, during my research for this post I learned something surprising: Stapelia is NOT a cactus! I repeat, the Stapelia plant is not a cactus. After all these years of having this plant and raving about it to people, just imagine the sound of tires screeching as my brain came to a halt... Whaaat? Not a cactus?! No way. As you can imagine I quickly stumbled into an internet rabithole of information in search of the truth.
Now that I've cleared that up, let me just say that there is a great deal of misunderstanding and misinformation out there on the world wide web, the internets is a free-for-all where everyone and their grandma can write whatever they want about anything. For the most part, wherever you see "Stapelia" you see "cactus." It's for this reason that I am trying to be as accurate as possible when discussing my plants, so please don't hesitate to let me know if I ever get something wrong.
Apparently, Stapelias qualify as perennial succulent herbs. They're part of the Milkweed subfamily Asclepiadoideae, which is in the family of flowering plants known as Apocynaceae - commonly known as the Dogbane family. If you love succulents and cacti you must remember this: all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. This means that succulents are found in many plant families, not just the Cactus family Cactaceae, and the Stapelia is a perfect example.