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PlantFiles: Queen of the Namib, African Hats, Milkweed
Hoodia gordonii

Family: Asclepiadaceae (ass-kle-pee-ad-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hoodia (HOOD-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: gordonii (gor-DOH-nee-eye) (Info)

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By palmbob
Thumbnail #1 of Hoodia gordonii by palmbob

By palmbob
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By PanamonCreel
Thumbnail #3 of Hoodia gordonii by PanamonCreel

By hoodialove
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By MaryEv
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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #7 of Hoodia gordonii by Xenomorf

There are a total of 21 photos.
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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Kell On Feb 7, 2015, Kell from Northern California, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Per Jan Emming owner of the Destination:Forever Ranch and Gardens, a 40 acre desert botanical garden and sustainable living homestead in the Arizona desert with a nursery:

Hoodia gordonii is one of the many succulent Asclepiads, which are milkweed relatives, found in Southern Arica. Hoodia went through a surge of popularity in the mid and late 2000s when it was proven that a chemical in the stems of the plants was capable of acting like an appetite suppressant. This led to a fad in the diet industry and the establishment of farms of Hoodia gordonii, but I am not sure of whether this new-found popularity has been sustained over time. The San People (often referred to as Bushmen, which is now considered to be a bit of a pejorative reference to the San) knew about the appetite-reducing properties of Hoodia long ago. They used the plants for that precise purpose to endure long treks at food-poor times of year while hunting, specifically to keep hunger pangs at bay.

Positive hoodialove On Mar 13, 2005, hoodialove from Tucson, AZ wrote:

Best results after numerous germination experiments: Use a medium of 1 part coarse sand and 1 part good sterile potting mulch containing peat, leaf mold, or similar. Use a large container with clear top (bread pan works well) gravel in bottom for drainage. Make sure medium is uniformly moist and place seeds on top of medium but in good contact. Also good luck if seeds are half buried. Moisten daily with sprayer. Adequate light is needed. Will germinate in 3-7 days. Germinating on paper towel will work but transplant is tricky and damage is frequent. Also, DO NOT LET THEM DRY OUT for the first 4 weeks or they will become very spindly. Here is how you can accelerate growth: Grow light them 24/7. Keep container covered to allow light in but retain moisture. Warm the container with a heating pad or put on top of refrigerator.about 80F is great. I use an old waterbed heater on my germinating shelf. Most seeds germinate in 2-4 days this way. Occasional dryout is OK but mostly keep them damp for the first 6-9 months. Please post your experience good/bad so we can all learn.

Positive palmbob On Apr 27, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Interesting looking S African clumping, succulent with not-so-sharp spines all over the columns. Produces a large disc-shaped flower that smells bad (to attract flies, the pollinator for this genus). Does not like full sun. Becoming a very popular plant in that it has medicinal uses- used now as an appetite suppresant and supposedly a very effective and safe one (can't comment if that's really true or not).


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Capistrano Beach, California
Irvine, California

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