Asclepiadaceae is a plant family which differs from others by having a very complex sexual apparatus and a complicated pollination procedure. They are easyly recognisable by five-lobed flowers. The lobes are joined together at the base of flower (corolla). There
are about 2000 species of Asclepiadaceae split into some 300 genera, of which about half are succulent. Succulent plants are particularly interesting to me, especially the group named stapeliads. Their flowers are miraculous. I have read somewhere: "bizarre beauty of flowers";
"Orchids of the Succulent World" is the title of Jerry Barad's home page dedicated to stapeliads. The flowers of stapeliads have one flaw only. Most of them don't have a pleasant smell. They smell of
excrements and carrion. Perhaps somebody would say that they stink. I said that some years ago and my friend answered:
"Flowers don't stink, they smell unpleasantly, at most".
Asclepiads grow worldwide, from jungles of Indonesia to deserts and steppes of Africa while stapeliads grow only in the old world. There are some representatives in Europe, too, in southern Italy and Spain. Most of them are from dry regions of south, east and north Africa, Arabian peninsula and
some even from India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar
(Burma) and Nepal.