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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)


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


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Capistrano Beach, California

Garden Grove, California

Irvine, California

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 31, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- Despite having success with many various Stapeliads, I cannot seem to get Hoodia gordonii to survive in my garden. It always succumbs to rot in mid-summer, although only getting water variously from every other week to once a month. Here in the center of Phoenix the heat is high and nights stay warmer than surrounding areas. We are in a flood irrigation area and there are lots of large trees, so that humidity is relatively high for Phoenix. That combination of higher heat and humidity seem to be deadly to many succulents.


On Jun 21, 2015, Mark_B from Garden Grove, CA wrote:

In Orange County, California, this plant does quite well underneath some shade netting of at least 20%. Note that if you buy this plant from a nursery that grew the plant in full direct sunlight, then no shade netting is necessary, as it would have gotten acclimated to full sun. It does well in our mild winters that never quite get as low as 30F. Do, however, provide protection from long periods of rain.


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-... read more


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 hea... read more


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).