Caralluma adscendens (a succulent belonging to the family Asclepiadaceae) is an erect shrubby perennial herb, 20-30 cm tall, with xerophytic features and cactus-like appearance. The stems are fleshy, almost leafless, green, often striped reddish. The star-shaped, fleshy flowers are some of the worst smelling of the succulent plants. The foul-smelling blossoms are dropping, less than 2.5 cm across, usually green, finely dotted with purple, sometimes horizontally striped with purple or chestnut-brown with brownish lobes. In the wild, these blossoms are pollinated by flies, which are greatly attracted to the plant. Caralluma adscendens is highly variable with a geographically wide distribution and forms a controversial complex of related species and/or varieties. Six varieties are recognized, the nominate form, var. attenuata (Wight) Gravely & Mayur., var. carinata Gravely & Mayur., var. fimbriata (Wall.) Gravely & Mayur., var. geniculata Gravely & Mayur., and var. gracilis.