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Hoodia gordonii


Scientific Name

Hoodia gordonii (Masson) Sweet ex Decne

Common Names



Stapelia gordonii (basionym), Hoodia barklyi, Hoodia burkei, Hoodia longispina, Ceropegia gordonii

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Stapeliae
Genus: Hoodia


Hoodia gordonii is a leafless, spiny succulent similar to a cactus. In the early stages, only one stem is produced, but at a later stage, the plant produces clusters of green upright stems. They are grayish-green to pale brown, cylindrical, up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. The flowers are saucer-shaped, 5-lobed, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter, pale straw, pale purple to dark maroon, and usually borne in early spring.

Hoodia gordonii

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Stapeliads are relatively easy to grow. They should be treated as an outdoor plant as they will easily rot indoors and cannot flower without exposure to outdoor temperature fluctuations. They should be grown under cover so that watering can be controlled. Stapeliads require a reasonable amount of sunlight to promote flowering and maintain a well-shaped plant. Very shady positions will produce very poor flowering.

These plants come from climates where they survive extremely high temperatures in the summer months, so most growth is in spring and fall, with flowering in fall when the weather starts to cool down. In the growing season, water in moderation when needed, making sure soil is fairly dried out between waterings. Do not water between late fall and early spring.

The easiest and best way to propagate Stapeliads is from stem cuttings, which can be taken virtually throughout the year. Using the seed is also a method of propagation Stapeliads.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapeliads.


Hoodia gordonii grows naturally in an extensive area of the Kalahari desert in South Africa and Namibia. It is also found in the deserts of Botswana and Angola.


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