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any of about 75 species of succulent plants of the genus Stapelia of the milkweed family (Apocynaceae), native to tropical areas of southern Africa. They are named for the unpleasant odour of their large flowers. The carrion odour attracts flies, which pollinate the plants and lay their eggs there. Carrion flowers have thick, four-sided, grooved stems, often coloured or covered with outgrowths. The plants lack true leaves but have scales or spines. The flowers have purple, red, or yellow bars and markings. A few species are cultivated as ornamentals.