Hoodia: Key Features
The plants of the Hoodia genus have a certain esternal similarity with cacti, although in reality it is a plant belonging to a totally different family (to Asclepiads, and in particular to the subfamily of Apocynacee).
While cacti are from American continent, the Hoodia come from dry southwestern deserts of Africa, from the Kalahari to the less extensive deserts. The habit of these extreme climates allows them to tolerate enormous thermal excursions (from + 50 ° C to -3 ° C) and in the presence of very little water.
It is a succulent with a suitable stem to store water and leaves transformed into thorns. It is very long-lived plant (about 15 years in the wild, even 25 in the greenhouse) and can reach considerable size. The height rarely exceeds one meter, but the plant can branch out to reach very respectable weights and widths.
It blooms from August to September after the plant has reached an age of at least five years; flowers, up to 7-8 cm wide, are aesthetically very interesting: wide, flat and formed by five petals joined together, in shades ranging from pink to orange to darker red . Generally arise on the top of each branch.
However, they have a bad smell, that reminds rotten meat and that serves to attract pollinators.