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Hoodia pilifera is a leafless succulent, up to 32 inches (80 cm) tall, with fleshy, ribbed and thorny stems. They are cylindrical, up to…
Hoodia pilifera - garden
Origin and Habitat: South Africa, Eastern Cape (Great Karoo from Aberdeen and Graaff-Reinet southwards to Rietbron and eastwards to Willowmore, Klipplaat and Steytlerville)
Habitat and Ecology: Hoodia pilifera subsp. annulata occurs on areas between low hills on slightly gravelly ground, rarely on hill slopes, usually as widely scattered individuals, there are often several hundred meters between plants, occasional substantial colonies do exist. Ihis species is potentially threatened by harvesting as it may be misidentified as Hoodia gordonii, however there is no substantive evidence of current decline to the population.
Description: Hoodia pilifera subsp. annulata, formerly know as Trichocaulon annulatum is, a leafless fat-stemmed succulent plant branching at the base 15-45 cm high and up to 2 metres in diameter. The stems are erect, columnar, studded with tubercles, in twenty to thirty rows.
Distinguishing features: This subspecies is distinguished by the very prominent raised annulus at the centre of its dark purplish brown, foul-smelling flowers.
Stems: Light glaucous-green or grey-green, 3-5 cm thick, cylindrical in shape , carried erectly, branched and rebranched mainly mainly from the base of the stems, with 20–30 vertical series of conical tubercles tipped with stiff light-brown (darker when young) bristles 3-6 mm long.
Flowers: The flowers are solitary or in small inflorescences with up to 3 flowers, densely arranged along the upper parts of the stems, subsessile, or with a short pedicel less than 1 mm long, in the grooves between the tubercles sepals 2-3 mm long, basally 1.5 mm, subulate-acuminate from a broadly ovate base, glabrous. Corolla reddish-purple to dark purplish brown, turning to greenish towards the flowers bottom, 15-30 mm in diameter, rotate, lobed to less than half-way down, with a very prominent raised annulus forming a cup enclosing the corona on the disk, otherwise without a distinct tube, smooth and glabrous on the back, densely covered with conical papillae all over the very dark purple-brown inner surface, except at the bottom of the cup around the corona, most of them with a minute hair directed at a right angle from their apex lobes 5 mm long, 8-9 mm broad, very spreading, very broadly deltoid-ovate, shortly cuspidate-acute, appressed to the stem, with recurved margins outer corona large, nearly 4 mm high, rising almost to the level of the rim of the cup, glabrous, very dark purple-brown, cup-like at the base, with 5 rather broad lobes, divided above their erect concave basal part into two sublanceolate diverging and obliquely recurved-spreading teeth 1.5 mm long and 1.5 mm broad inner corona-lobes about 1 mm long, linear or deltoid-linear, obtuse, dark-purple brown, closely incumbent on the backs of the anthers and equalling or slightly exceeding and incurved over their tips.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Hoodia pilifera group
- Hoodia pilifera" href='/Encyclopedia/SUCCULENTS/Family/Asclepiadaceae/18887/Hoodia_pilifera'> Hoodia pilifera (L.f.) Plowes : (subsp. pilifera) flowers purple-brown almost black and without a ring (annulus), up to 20 mm in diameter. Distribution: Eastern Cape, Western Cape.
- Hoodia pilifera subs. annulata (N.E.Br.) Bruyns : flowers dark purple to black, 20-30 mm in diameter, with spreading lobes.
- Hoodia pilifera subs. pillansii (N.E.Br.) Bruyns : flowers yellow to pinkish, without the raised rim (annulus) as in the other subspecies.
Notes: It is easy to confuse Hoodia pilifera subsp. annulata with a species of cactus when it is observed for the first time. The plants grow as large clumps not unlike those formed by the cactus Echinopsis spachiana, which is naturalised in parts of the habitat of Hoodia pilifera subsp. annulata.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) N. E. Brown “Flora Capensis”, Vol 4, page 518, (1909)
2) Focke Albers, Ulrich Meve “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Asclepiadaceae” Volume 4 Springer, 2002
3) Victor, J.E. & Nicholas, A. 2009. Hoodia pilifera (L.f.) Plowes subsp. annulata (N.E.Br.) Bruyns. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2015.1. Accessed on 2015/11/24
4) Bruyns, P.V. “A revision of Hoodia and Lavrania (Asclepiadaceae-stapelieae).” Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik 115(2):145-270.1993.
5) Bruyns, P.V. “Stapeliads of southern Africa and Madagascar.” (Vol. 1, pp. 1-330). Umdaus Press, Pretoria. 2005.
6) Gideon Smith, Ben-Erik Van Wyk “The Garden Succulents Primer” Timber Press, 2008
7) Thomas H. Everett “The New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture”, Volume 10 Taylor & Francis, 1982
Cultivation and Propagation: This is one of easiest species to grow but prone to root rot due to overwaterings and lack of fresh air. Water normally in the growing season, sparsely in the winter. It is usually recommended to over-winter them in warm conditions (at 10° C), but despite their African origins they seem to grow well and flower without the extra heat which one might have thought necessary, and occasional temperatures near 0°C (or less). are tolerated, if kept dry.
Spring: In the spring leaving them out in the rain may provide them with the water they need.
Summer: In the summer months they will grow well in full sun or partial shade and tolerate heavy rain, but will be just as happy if the season is dry.
Potting medium: Since roots are quite shallow, a gritty, very free-draining compost with extra perlite or pumiceis suitable, and clay pots help the plants to dry out between watering. Indoors only in brightest position,
Uses: In its native country of South Africa it is referred to by the indigenous people Khoi-San herders as “ghaap”, “guaap”, “or ngaap” were they use it as a convenient emergency food and moisture source in harsh arid environments. Hoodia pilifera has an insipid, yet cool and watery taste. The plant is edible in its raw state or preserved in sugar. The young pod are liked for their sweetnees.
Similarly to Hoodia gordoni and several other succulents known as carrion flowers or stapeliads this species can be used as an appetite and thirst suppressant. A small piece of the stem is peeled to remove the thorns and is eaten fresh. The optimal dose is not yet known.
Propagation: Propagation is done mainly from seed. Cuttings are not really an option, as the severed ends very rarely form a callus from where roots will eventually form. Seeds are produced in March and April of each year (Europe). The seed horns must be semi-dry and starting to split down the middle before seed can be collected. If you try to take a cutting allows it to dry several days before planting.
The group was first described as a genus in 1844.  
Hoodia are stem succulents, described as "cactiform" because of their remarkable similarity to the unrelated cactus family. They have a branching, shrub-like form, and the largest species (Hoodia parviflora) can grow to the size of a tree — over 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in height.
The flowers are extremely variable in size — from less than 1 cm, to almost 20 cm in diameter, depending on the species. Flowers appear in large numbers, always near the tops of the stems. Those of larger-flowered species (such as Hoodia gordonii) are often a papery pink-tan colour, plate-shaped, with an unpleasant smell to attract their fly pollinators. The smaller, darker flowers of some species have a far stronger and more unpleasant smell than the larger flowers.
The genus Hoodia is restricted to the arid regions in the western part of southern Africa, ranging from western South Africa to central Namibia and as far north as southern Angola. It is especially common in the Namib desert and in the Orange River valley. Typical habitat is rocky slopes and open stone plains. Plants usually germinate in the shelter of bushes or rocks, but survive in the open as adult plants.
- Hoodia albispina - South Africa
- Hoodia alstonii - South Africa
- Hoodia bainii - South Africa
- Hoodia barklyi - South Africa
- Hoodia burkei - South Africa
- Hoodia currorii - tropical Africa
- Hoodia dregei - South Africa
- Hoodia flava - South Africa
- Hoodia gibbosa - Namibia
- Hoodia gordonii - Namibia
- Hoodia husabensis - Namibia
- Hoodia juttae - Namibia
- Hoodia langii - Botswana, Namibia, Cape Province
- Hoodia lugardii - tropical Africa
- Hoodia macrantha - Namibia
- Hoodia montana - Brandberg in Namibia
- Hoodia mossamedensis - Angola
- Hoodia officinalis - Namibia, Cape Province
- Hoodia parviflora - South Africa
- Hoodia pedicellata - Namibia
- Hoodia pilifera - South Africa
- Hoodia rosea - Cape Province
- Hoodia ruschii - Great Namaqualand in Namibia
- Hoodia rustica - Cape Province
- Hoodia triebneri - Namibia
Several of the small-flowered species of Hoodia were formerly in a separate genus, Trichocaulon ("ghaap"), but have been moved into the genus Hoodia, and the two groups are now synonymous. Phylogenetic studies have shown the genus Hoodia to be monophyletic, and most closely related to the stapeliad genus Lavrania. Marginally more distantly related is a sister branch of related genera including Larryleachia, Richtersveldia and Notechidnopsis. 
Hoodia gordonii is traditionally used by the San people (Bushmen) of the Namib desert as an appetite suppressant as part of their indigenous knowledge about survival in the harsh desert conditions. In 2006, the plant became internationally known, after a marketing campaign falsely claimed that its use as a dietary supplement was an appetite suppressant for weight loss.  As of 2018, there is no high-quality clinical research showing that hoodia has actions as an appetite suppressant or is effective for weight loss. 
In a case of biopiracy, bioprospectors from South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) realized that the plant was marketable and patented its use as an appetite suppressant without recognizing the Sans' traditional claims to the knowledge of the plant and its uses.   The patent was later sold to Unilever, which marketed hoodia products as diet supplements.    In 2003, the South African San Council entered into a benefit sharing agreement with CSIR in which they would receive from 6 to 8% of the revenue from the sale of Ho. gordonii products, money which would be deposited in a trust for all San peoples across Southern Africa. 
Several species are grown as garden plants, and one species, H. gordonii, is being investigated for use as an appetite suppressant.  However, in 2008, UK-based Unilever PLC, one of the largest packaged-food firms in the world, abandoned plans to use hoodia in a range of diet products. In a document on Unilever's website entitled "Sustainable Development 2008: An Overview", signed by Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever states: "During 2008, having invested 20 million [pounds] in R&D, Unilever abandoned plans to use the slimming extract hoodia in a range of diet products. We stopped the project because our clinical studies revealed that products using hoodia would not meet our strict standards of safety and efficacy."
Many Hoodia species are protected plants. Hoodia is currently listed in Appendix II to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which includes species not currently considered endangered but are at risk if trade is not controlled. 
- ^ Stevens PF (2001 onwards) (2007-06-03). "Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Gentianales". 8. Missouri Botanical Gardens . Retrieved 2008-03-21 .
- ^Decaisne, Joseph. 1844 in Candolle, Augustin Pyramus de (ed), Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis 8: 664 in Latin
- "Tropicos | Name - Hoodia Sweet ex Decne". www.tropicos.org . Retrieved September 24, 2019 .
- "Search results — The Plant List". www.theplantlist.org . Retrieved September 24, 2019 .
- ^ P. Bruyns, C. Klak, P. Hanacek: Evolution of the stapeliads (Apocynaceae-Asclepiadoideae) - repeated major radiation across Africa in an Old World group. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 2014. v. 77, no. 1, p. 251--263. ISSN 1055-7903.
- ^ Weight Loss Customers Are Being Hoodia-Winked, Harriet Hall, Science-Based Medicine, 11-8-2011, 
- "Hoodia". Drugs.com. 2018 . Retrieved 23 February 2018 .
- ^Maharaj, VJ, Senabe, JV, and Horak, RM. 2008. Hoodia, a case study at CSIR. Science real and relevant: 2nd CSIR Biennial Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre Pretoria, 17&18 November 2008, pp 4
- ^ Indigenous Peoples, Consent and Benefit Sharing: Lessons from the San-Hoodia Case (Rachel Wynberg, Doris Schroeder, Roger Chennells Springer, Dec 4, 2009
- ^ Saskia Vermeylen. 2007. Contextualizing ‘Fair’ and ‘Equitable’: The San's Reflections on the Hoodia Benefit-Sharing Agreement Local Environment Vol. 12, Iss. 4,
- "Hot air over Hoodia". www.grain.org . Retrieved September 24, 2019 .
- ^ Inventing Hoodia: Vulnerabilities and Epistemic Citizenship. 2011. CSW update APRIL
- "Archived copy" (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-04-30 . Retrieved 2013-11-04 . CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Wong, Cathy (2007-09-20). " " What You Need to Know About Hoodia Diet Pills" Website: About.com" . Retrieved 2008-08-02 .
- "CITES Appendices I, II and III". Archived from the original on 2007-02-03 . Retrieved 2008-03-21 .
Media related to Hoodia at Wikimedia Commons