A recently discovered species (2002) found in the Taita Hills, near Bura, Kenya
From Botswana and the Northern and North Western Provinces, this variable, slender stemmed, species is related to Orbea cooperi.
Found in Swaziland, KwaZulu - Natal, and Zimbabwe the slender stems of this species go a deep maroon in bright sunlight, matching their flower colour. The plant pictured on the left is from Swaziland whilst that on the right is PVB7471 without locality details.
The lectotype for the species Orbea, Orbea variegata is extremely variable. Over the years over 50 varieties have from time to time been claimed but all have now been taken back into the one species. Considering this variability it is surprising to find that the distribution is limited to the Western Cape province of South Africa.
Although there are visual similarities between the flowers of Orbea verrucosa, O. variegata and O. pulchella and the distribution areas all overlap, each have characteristics which justify them as separate species. The distribution for Orbea verrucosa is in the Western & Eastern Cape Provinces. Variety fucosa differs in having smaller stems with weaker tubercles and smaller flowers.
This small flowered species from the Toro district of SW Uganda has recently also been found in neighbouring Kenya. The plant shown is a Maria Dodds collection from Lake Kisima, S of Maralal, Kenya.
There are morphological differences between var. eremastrum and var. wissmannii and no intermediate forms are known, despite their sharing the same distribution area of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. For these reasons many believe that Orbea eremastrum should stand as a species in its own right.
Taking in as it does the former Caralluma meintjesiana, Orbea wissmannii v wissmannii is very variable in flower colour as can be seen by the four plants shown here. The plant labelled Hadda is from a village outside Sana'a, Yemen, and was grown from seed collected by Guiseppe Orlando [GO100702]
Found only in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa this species is closely related to Orbea semota.