What is Hoodia gordonii ?
As well documented on many websites, it is a cactus like plant that grows in semi desert conditions in Southern Africa and has been eaten by the Bushmen partly to curb hunger and thirst during long hunting expeditions.
Is Hoodia gordonii a cactus ?
No, not even close. It is an interesting example of how plants that are botanically unrelated, can obtain a similar appearance to withstant similar weather conditions. Here are some examples of plants that have a similar appearance to cacti, but belong to totally different plant families:
A young plant of Hoodia gordonii in flower. Hoodia gordonii is native to Southern Africa.
An example of a true cactus. Trichocereus spachianus. This plant is native to Argentina
Euphorbia horrida from South Africa. Euphorbias belong to the spurge family. Many species and forms, including trees and shrubs belong to this family. Euphorbias are wide spread in many parts of the world.