Club Foot, Elephant's Trunk, Half-Man's, Halfmen

Pachypodium namaquanum

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pachypodium (pak-uh-PO-dee-um) (Info)
Species: namaquanum (na-MAWK-wan-um) (Info)


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring


Grown for foliage


Other details:

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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

Phoenix, Arizona

Simi Valley, California

Spring Valley, California

Vista, California

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 9, 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:

The nation of South Africa has somewhere near 40% of all succulent plant species on earth, which is an extraordinarily large proportion for a relatively limited geographical land area, globally speaking. Diversity of this group of plants, plus numerous others, is rather remarkable for this country as well as those that adjoin it such as Mozambique and Namibia. I was fortunate to be able to travel there in September 2009 and witness a small selection of the overall biological wealth in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces.

One of my absolutely favorite days in South Africa in 2009 was the... read more


On Oct 24, 2011, cyrd from wanganui,
New Zealand wrote:

Wow! I wonder if this interesting genus is available in N.Z? Might tempt me away from frilly echeverias. My Doublette is currently stunning but I should try something different. May be rather too cool here however.


On Mar 17, 2011, boomboer from Cape Town,
South Africa wrote:

Pachypodium namaquanum is called "Halfmens" in Afrikaans which means Half-man. The name stems from the folklore of an African tribe called the Nama. Some of the tribe once occupied better land in what is now Southern Namibia. A bloody conflict drove them into the Richtersveld which is a rocky desert wasteland. They kept looking northwards, towards their homeland and the gods took pity on them, turning them into plants with heads forever turned to the north.
It only grows in the Richtersveld region in South Africa and Southern Namibia in an arid, rocky environment with little to no rainfall and some cool Atlantic fogs providing moisture. This is why the frilly head of leaves is handy in trapping moisture from the fog - which runs down the smooth trunk into the soil. The bark is brill... read more


On Aug 9, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

A staple now at C&S shows. Mine has been through it all. Left outside in a pot a couple of winters.It survived.Over watered a spring or two, and the roots rotted.It survived. Grown outside for a few summers it didn't grow very much.
Now,I have it on the windowsill of a large southwestern facing window. This is where it is now putting on some size. In contrast to watering in our cool summers outdoors,in the blazing heat next to the window it enjoys much summer water and a little amount of fertilizer. A plant with little more than leaves in the late 90's,it's now has a trunk of 8". Even with the best care i doubt it would much more than 14" in 8 or 9 years time.Keeping it alive is easy,getting to grow large takes exacting conditions!
2015: Its now 12" in a pot and has flowered ... read more


On Dec 16, 2005, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

Plant grows in full sun on south-facing white wall in coastal San Diego. CA.

Inconsistent with typical information available on greenhouse grown p. namaquanum our experience has seen this survive winters with up to 35 inches of rain. It grows out in well drained mound. It flowers most years.
It is about 15"tall , 25 years old and has survived night temperatures for short periods at 26 degrees F.

A remarkable plant species. It is dormant from mid-June thru mid-September.

It really began to grow after putting it out into the soil from a greenhouse environment where it grew for 10 years.


On Aug 23, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

THis plant will grow well in zone 10a in southern California, but my zone 9b was a bit too marginal for it... survived a few winters, but one particularly cold, rainy one rotted it. Have a friend with one in zone 9b though in a particularly nice draining soil and has survived 4 years so far (slow grower!). Loses leaves every fall and comes back in spring. So far no flowers, though.


On Oct 1, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

In its native South Africa Pachypodium namaquanum is known as Halfmens or Half a Man because of the apparent nodding of the head as if in conversation.

The species curves toward the sun (North in S. Africa) during winter when it has leaves in order to increase photosynthesis. It remains dormant during the heat of the South African summer. This accounts for the characteristic curvature of the stem.

Blooms infrequently with yellow tubular flowers beginning at approximately 6 years old and 12 tall given all the right conditions. The example I have in my collection is of unknown age and 8 tall.


On May 26, 2003, lynxx wrote:

Indigenous to an extremely limited portion of South Africa this specialized succulent is known also known as Ghost-man. If moderatately watered in winter and little or no water is given in summer the plant will grow relatively fast, addition of diluted organic liquid fertilizer and/or hoof-and-horn meal to the plant at the beginning of the growing season (winter months, may start early and end in late spring if high humidity is experienced, not recomended though!) the stem can experience an annual growth rate of 4+ cm's. Commencement of the growing season is heralded by the shooting of new leaves. Plants like a light misting of the leaves in the evenings 2 or 3 times a week and a good deep water about once every 2 weeks in the growing season if the air is very dry, less so if humid, carefu... read more