Hoodia gordonii seeds
Hoodia gordonii belongs to the family of the Apocynaceae. H. gordonii is native to South Africa. There it occurs even in the Kalahari dessert. The succulent plant is also known as carrion flower. H. gordonii looks like a cactus, but it is not a member of the family of the Cactaceae, like one could suggest. It belongs to the as well succulent Apocynaceae. H. gordonii reaches a height of about 60 cm. The leaves are transformed into thorns to avoid transpiration. The thick and green shoot is able to do photosynthesis instead of the leaves. The flowers of the carrion flower are reddish in color and smell like rotten meat. This mimicry is necessary to attract the pollinator. The pollinators are flies that want to lay their eggs on the putative meat. Doing so, they pollinate the flower. The flower reaches 8 cm in diameter. The fruit is a capsule that contains the silky and pubescent seeds. The plant is used as an appétit suppressant. Already the natives knew that the plant is able to suppress hunger and thirst. They used it when they had to go on long journeys through the dessert. It was easier for them if they did not feel hunger or thirst. Also the soldiers that were based in the dessert took Hoodia gordonii. Beside the use as appétit suppressant, H. gordonii was also used against cough. The use of H. gordonii as an appétit suppressant is disputed. Until today one does not really know how the substances that H. gordonii contains work. One does also not know which side effect may occur. One suggests that the substances pretend that the blood sugar level is high and the body has no need for food. There were some studies done with rats but further research is necessary. Research concerning H. gordonii is difficult because there are only few and small populations of H. gordonii left in South Africa. In South Africa the plant is already under protection. The populations were dramatically reduced by people that wanted to become thin with H. gordonii. One should abandon taking products containing Hoodia gordonii. In addition it is not allowed in Germany.
Growing Hoodia from seeds
The seeds of Hoodia gordonii need no pretreatment. One should only press the seeds slightly into the substrate. At a temperature of about 25°C and constantly moist substrate germination occurs after just 1 week. Hoodia gordonii does not need much water and should not be over watered. The succulent trunk stores water. H. gordonii grows very slow. The plant is not winter hardy; the temperature during winter should be around 15°C inside the house.
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