Carrion flower (Orbea variegata)

Also known as: star flower, starfish cactus, toad cactus

Carrion flower is a succulent perennial herb with fleshy upright stems and star-shaped, putrid smelling flowers.


How does this weed affect you?

Carrion flower is a horticultural oddity that is native to South Africa. In Australia, it has naturalised in semi-arid regions where it out-competes native grasses and herbs. It is spread by seed and fragments, and is known to spread from old garbage tips and refuse areas. 

What does it look like?

Carrion flower has cream to yellow star-shaped flowers with brown or purple markings. The flowers emit a putrid odour which attracts flies that act as pollinators. 


Biosecurity South Australia (2015). Draft fact sheet Declared Plant Carrion flower Orbea variegata. Government of South Australia.

Perkins, J. (n.d.) Orbea variegata in PlantNET, The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia. 

Queensland Government (2016). Orbea variegata in Weeds of Australia, Biosecurity, Queensland Edition.

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Herbicide options

Contact your local council weeds officer for control advice for Carrion flower (Orbea variegata).

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Central West Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfill the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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Reviewed 2017