Hoodia gordonii is an increasingly popular appetite suppressant and has received lots of media attention. Hoodia plants, hoodia products and even hoodia seeds are being sold on e-bay and all over the internet. If you are considering buying hoodia cactus seeds, there are some things that you should know.
Hoodia is a group of succulent plants that grows throughout southern Africa. Hoodia gordonii is just one species in that group. All together, there are at least fifteen different species of hoodia. If you are buying hoodia seeds because you want an interesting plant to add to your collection, then go ahead. If you are an experienced horticulturist then you may have success. They are difficult to grow.
Collecting hoodia cactus seeds from wild hoodia plants in Africa is illegal in most countries. Botswana, South Africa and Namibia requested that all species be protected by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. These countries were concerned that the popularity of hoodia gordonii as an appetite suppressant could threaten the hoodia population. Growing hoodia, trading hoodia and selling hoodia seeds or plants requires special permits. But, if you really want to try to grow your own plant, consider these facts.
It is necessary to grow hoodia gordonii from seeds, cuttings almost never take root. Hoodia cactus seeds must be germinated in a seed tray and it takes about a year before they can be transferred to a small pot. In three or four years your hoodia seeds will bloom. The blooms smell like rotten meat. Francis Masson, a botanist who sailed to southern Africa with James Cook called them "carrion flowers", because of this smell. The smell is probably enough to suppress anyone’s appetite. Probably the reason for this smell is that hoodia is one of the few plants in the world that is pollinated by flies. The sweet smell of most flowers attracts bees, the rotting meat smell would (one would assume) attract flies. In a couple of months, your plant will form seed pods that resemble miniature antelope horns which earned it the Afrikaans name of bokhorrings. So, if you have a good greenhouse (hoodia gordonii plants thrive at very high temperatures), and you buy some hoodia cactus seeds now, then in about four years, you can sell hoodia seeds on e-bay.
For more information about hoodia seeds or general information about hoodia gordonii, visit the Hoodia Info Blog.