Dorstenia foetida is a sub-shrub, stem succulent which may be branched or not. This is a very variable species especially in shape and size of leaves, length of petioles and stipules. Since the various forms are connected by intermediates it is impossible to recognize infraspecific taxa.
A very variable species especially in shape and size of leaves, and length of petioles and stipules. It is a perennial, evergreen or caducous sub-shrub. Stem succulent may be branched or not. Stem a thick, dark green- to the mahogany-colored conical trunk, up to 15 centimeters in diameter and 30-40 centimeters in height, older parts often with peeling bark. The stem bears conspicuous and prominent round scars of petioles, inflorescences and stipules in a spiral pattern. Branches nearly as thick as the stem, up to 1–1.5 cm thick and up to 15 cm tall, with pronounced markings of leaf-, inflorescence- and stipule-scars. Leaves alternate, crowded at the top of stems and branches; stipules subulate from a broad base, 1–2 mm long, mostly long persistent; petiole 1–3.6 cm long, puberulous; blade lanceolate to ovate, obovate or elliptic, 1.8–18 x 1–2.5 cm, cuneate to rounded at the base, rounded, obtuse or acuminate at the apex, with entire, crenulate, crisp or denticulate margins, scabridulous above, sparsely puberulous below. Flower structures grayish or green (or orange/pinkish). Receptacles 1–3 together in the leaf axils, on peduncles 1–6 cm long, circular in outline, 0.6–1.5 cm in diam. (excl. appendages), appendages 7–10, linear, up to 1.5 cm long. Male flowers numerous, tepals 2, stamens 2, rudimentary ovary inconspicuous. Female flowers numerous, scattered on the upper surface of the receptacle, stigma unbranched. Fruit with elongated, minutely tuberculate, pale brown endocarp, 1–1.4 mm long. The seed pods sunk in the receptacles open explosively when ripe and send the seed flying a considerable distance
Dorstenia foetida needs bright light or partial to full shade, with warm temperatures and a well-drained soil mix that must not remain soggy for too long. During the growing season, the plants appreciate a fair amount of water but allow the soil to dry slightly between watering, making sure that they never dry out completely. They have to be kept in rather high air humidity. They are fertilized once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. During the winter months, they tend to go at least partially dormant and will exhibit some leaf loss. During this period, they should be given very little water. Propagation:Dorstenia foetida are usually propagated by seed. Seed germinate readily at 21° C.