Hoodia flava (N.E.Br.) Plowes
Ceropegia flavanthera, Trichocaulon flavum, Trichocaulon karasmontanum
The native range of this species is from the Great Karas Mountains in southern Namibia to Prince Albert in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It grows on flat, stony to loamy ground, under small karroid bushes.
Hoodia flava is a leafless succulent with erect, greyish to brownish green, cylindrical stems with tubercles fused below the middle into 18 to 31 acute angles, each tipped with a weak, pale to dark brown spine. The stems grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall and up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) in diameter, but they are usually much smaller, and all arise from the base. The spines are up to 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) long.
Flowers are five-lobed and appear 1 to 3 per cluster in the upper half of the stems in winter. The corolla is up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) across, finely papillate, inside greenish-yellow, sometimes with brown tips to lobes or wholly brown. The corona is up to 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) across, slightly translucent yellow, occasionally faintly brownish translucent, with spreading outer lobes bifid below the middle into linear lobules. Fruits are up to 7.2 inches (18 cm) long paired follicles with numerous seeds strongly compressed and with an apical coma.
The specific epithet "flava (FLA-vuh)" is the feminine form of the Latin adjective "flavus," meaning "yellow, golden," and refers to the color of the flowers.
How to Grow and Care for Hoodia flava
Light: H. flava grows best in full sun or partial shade. It will benefit from light shade during the hottest summer days. Indoors, place the plant near the brightest window in your home. It will stretch if it does not have enough sunlight. Avoid abruptly moving plants adapted to lower light levels to full sun to prevent sunburn.
Soil: Use commercial potting soil mix for succulents or prepare your own with 50 to 70 % mineral grit, such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite.
Temperature: This plant thrives in warm outdoor environments with low to moderate humidity. It does not like winter cold and should remain fairly dry and warm during its winter dormancy. H. flava can withstand temperatures as low as 35 °F (1.7 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10b to 11b, 35 to 50 °F (1.7 to 10 °C).
Watering: H. flava has typical watering needs for a succulent. During the growing season, from spring to fall, water your plant thoroughly and allow the soil to dry between waterings. Do not water in winter. The plant goes dormant in winter and needs almost no water, about once a month.
Fertilizing: If you want to keep your plant healthy and thriving, fertilization is a good idea. Feed with water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength only when the plant is actively growing.
Repotting: Repot your plant in spring just before the growing season. H. flava has shallow roots and does not require too much soil to grow. Pick a container with drainage holes.
Propagation: The best way to propagate this succulent is from stem cuttings. Take cuttings during the season to ensure good rooting. H. flava is also easy to grow from seeds. Sow the seeds in spring.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapeliads.
Toxicity of Hoodia flava
H. flava has no toxic effects reported. It is safe around pets and humans.
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