The Stunning Stapelia Succulent Flower

Asclepiadaceae, cactus, Stapelia, succulent, succulents, flower, flowers, garden, unique flower, smelly flower, carrion flower, starfish flower, African flower, plants, gardening, nature, Stapelia cactus flower, Stapelia grandiflora, Stapelia gigantea, Stapelia scitula, Stapelia paniculata, Stapelia leendertziae, Stapelia hirsuta

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 knoif 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.