H. gordonii is native to Cape Provinces, Free State, Namibia. It grows in many different conditions; it can survive temperatures from -8°C to 50°C.
H. gordonii is a succulent plant that initially grows solitary and then develops many stems. Stems are greenish and bear tubercles arranged in 11-17 rows; each tubercle bears a light brown spine 1 cm long. Older plants can form up to 50 stems and can weigh up to 30 kg. The plant reaches maturity at the 5th year and then it can bloom. The blooming season is August and September and small flat lilac flowers are borne in groups at the apex of the stems; this arrangement is called inflorescence. Unlike what is expected of pretty flowers, the smell is very unpleasant, the smell resembles putrid flash and this is useful for the plant to attract its natural pollinators: flies. Seeds are brown and flat and have a tuft of hair called pappus. The pappus allow the seeds to use the wind to spread away from the mother plant.
H. gordonii is easy to grow and does not require special care. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the succulent is prone to it indeed. Light exposure can be full sun or light shadow, so it can be placed outside. Watering can be done normally during the growing season, but you can interrupt it in the winter. Mild temperatures (10°C) promote the over-wintering, but temperatures below 0 °C can only be reached by the plant if the soil is dry
Propagation can be done by seed or by cutting. Seed are produced in March and April and you have to wait for thorns to divide, before you can harvest the seeds. Cutting is also possible, but remember to treat the wound with fungicide and allow it to dry before you plant it.
The genus name “Hoodia” comes from Van Hood an experienced succulent grower; Gordoni is due to the discoverer of this species: R.F. Gordon. Nowadays Hoodia species are used medicinally for the preparation of diets.
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