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Hoodia gordonii is a spiny succulent. In the early stages only one stem is produced but at a later stage the plant starts branching. 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. Flowers are borne on or near the terminal apex (top part of the plant). The flowers are large and have a carrion-like smell (smell similar to rotten meat). In some ways the Hoodia flowers resemble a petunia flower. Flowers vary in colour from pale straw to dark maroon. Flowers are normally borne in August or September. Flowers can reach a diameter of 75 mm. Seed is produced in October and November. The seed capsules resemble small antelope or goat horns hence the Afrikaans common name of bokhorings.
Found on a hillside of the arid semi dessert area of the Tankwa National Park.
Several species of Hoodia are eaten raw. Obviously the spines must first be removed. 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.
Lat: -32.35, Long: 20.16
Spotted on May 11, 2013
Submitted on Jun 15, 2013