There are approximately 100 species in the genus. Stapelias were given these names because of their star-shape and the flowers revolting odor. The angular stems are green to brown in color and bear vestigial leaves along the ribs for a short while. Flowers appear in summer and are yellow to maroon in color. The genus Stapelia was set up in 1737 by Linnaeus who derived the name from Johannes van Stapel, a 17th century physician and botanist.