Native to South Africa, Orbeas are leafless, glabrous, succulent perennials that form compact to diffuse clumps. They branch from the base and often arise from rhizomatous rootstocks. The stems are erect to prostrate and sometimes exhibit a creeping nature. The four-angled stems are usually prominently sharp-toothed, with a soft tip. They usually have well-developed, tooth-like projections (tubercules) on the flanks and are always mottled purplish maroon on a green background, especially distinct when exposed to the sun. The starfish shaped flowers are are borne in few- to many-flowered inflorescence, appearing together or in quick succession. One to five inflorescence usually develop at any place along a stem. The species grows under a variety of conditions but prefers well-drained, sandy medium consisting of equal parts of washed river sand, potting soil and topsoil. Zone 9 to 11 or as houseplant.