Hoodia Gordonii

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Hoodia gordonii

Family: Apocynaceae

Common names

  • Bobbejaanghaap
  • Bergghaap
  • Bitterghaap
  • Bokhorings
  • Khobab 

 
Description

Hoodia gordonii is one of the most sought after succulents due to its medicinal properties.
Mature plants can have as many as 50 individual branches and weigh as much as 30 kg. Plants under ideal conditions can attain a height of 1 m.

The flowers are large and have a rotten meat like smell. In some ways the Hoodia flowers resemble a petunia flower. Flowers vary in colour from pale straw to dark maroon.

Distribution

Hoodia gordonii has a very wide distribution. It occurs in the north eastern part of the Western Cape, the north and north western regions of the Northern Cape and southern Namibia . It is used to extreme heat (above 40°C), but it can survive in relatively low temperatures (-3°C).

Cultural value

Hoodia has been known for many years as an appetite suppressant. These appetite suppressant properties have now been developed and Hoodia derivative products are now marketed in many western countries where obesity is becoming a problem.

Hoodia rose to fame when Pfizer began using it as an appetite suppressant in their SlimFast product. A major rise in demand between 2004 and 2006 led to a shortage in supply, which resulted in the infiltration of fake hoodia into the market. This subsequently collapsed the industry, which is only now starting to reintroduce it into their weight loss products.

Growing Hoodia gordonii

Propagation is done mainly from seed. The seed horns must be semi-dry and starting to split down the middle before seed can be collected. Sow the seeds in March or April.

Do not over-water, too much water at a time when the seeds are germinating will rot them. Only water four times a week under warm conditions, 28°C or above. During the winter months only water once every two weeks.