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The genus Huernia (family Apocynaceae, subfamily Asclepiadoideae)[2] consists of perennial, stem succulents from Eastern and Southern Africa and Arabia, first described as a genus in 1810.[3][4]

Huernia macrocarpa var penzigii.jpg
Huernia macrocarpa var. penzigii
Scientific classification

Type species
Huernia campanulata
(Masson) R.Br. ex Haw.[1]

The flowers are five-lobed, usually somewhat more funnel- or bell-shaped than in the closely related genus Stapelia, and often striped vividly in contrasting colors or tones, some glossy, others matte and wrinkled depending on the species concerned. Frequently the flowers are colored a variation of red, yellow or brown.[5] To pollinate, the flowers attract flies by emitting a scent similar to that of carrion. The genus is considered close to the genera Stapelia and Hoodia. Phylogenetic studies have shown the genus to be monophyletic, and most closely related to the genus Tavaresia, and to a widespread branch of stapeliads comprising the genera Orbea, Piaranthus and Stapelia.[6]

The name of the plant is in honor of Justus van Heurne (1587–1653?) a Dutch missionary, botanist, and doctor, who is reputed to have been the first European to document and collect South African Cape plants.[3][5][7] His surname has variations (van Horne, Heurnius, van Heurnius),[7] however it was misspelled by the plant collector.[5]

Various species of Huernia are considered famine food by the inhabitants of Konso special woreda in southern Ethiopia. The local inhabitants, who call the native species of this genus baqibaqa indiscriminately, eat it with prepared balls of sorghum (kurkufa); they note that baqibaqa tastes relatively good and has no unpleasant side-effects when boiled and consumed.[8] As a result, local farmers encouraged it to grow on stone walls forming the terraces, where it does not compete with other crops.[8]


Sixty four species of Huernia are found in Africa (East Africa, South Africa and Ethiopia) and Arabia (Saudi Arabia, Yemen).[5][9]

  1. Huernia andreaeana - Kenya
  2. Huernia barbata - South Africa
  3. Huernia campanulata
  4. Huernia clavigera - South Africa
  5. Huernia confusa - Transvaal
  6. Huernia decemdentata - Cape Province
  7. Huernia distincta - Cape Province
  8. Huernia guttata
  9. Huernia hallii- Namibia
  10. Huernia humilis - South Africa
  11. Huernia insigniflora - Transvaal
  12. Huernia kennedyana - South Africa
  13. Huernia kirkii - Cape Province
  14. Huernia levyi - Zimbabwe
  15. Huernia loeseneriana - South Africa
  16. Huernia longii - Cape Province
  17. Huernia longituba - Cape Province
  18. Huernia lopanthera - Angola
  19. Huernia mccoyi - Yemen
  20. Huernia namaquensis - Little Namaqualand
  21. Huernia nouhuysii - Transvaal
  22. Huernia ocellata
  23. Huernia oculata - South Africa
  24. Huernia pendula - Cape Province
  25. Huernia penzigii
  26. Huernia piersii - Cape Province
  27. Huernia pillansii - South Africa
  28. Huernia praestans - Cape Province
  29. Huernia primulina - South Africa
  30. Huernia procumbens - Transvaal
  31. Huernia quinta - South Africa
  32. Huernia reticulata - South Africa
  33. Huernia similis - Angola
  34. Huernia simplex - South Africa
  35. Huernia stapelioides - South Africa
  36. Huernia tanganyikensis - Tanzania
  37. Huernia thudichumii - Cape Province
  38. Huernia thureti - South Africa
  39. Huernia transvaalensis - Transvaal
  40. Huernia tubata - South Africa
  41. Huernia urceolata - Angola, Namibia
  42. Huernia venusta
  43. Huernia volkartii - Angola
  44. Huernia whitesloaneana - Transvaal
  45. Huernia witzenbergensis - Cape Province
  46. Huernia zebrina- Cape Province
formerly included[9]

moved to Angolluma


  1. ^ lectotype designated by White et Sloane, Stapelieae ed. 2. 3: 819. 1937
  2. ^ Chaney, Cathryn. "Planting Guides for Lifesaver Cactuses". Hearst. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  3. ^ a b Brown, Robert. 1810. On the Asclepiadeae 11
  4. ^ "Name - Huernia R. Br". Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  5. ^ a b c d "Asclepiadaceae: Huernia". Retrieved 2019-08-13. Justus van Heurne
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b Gunn, Mary; Codd, L. E. W. (1981). Botanical Exploration Southern Africa, Introductory volume to the Flora of Southern Africa. CRC Press. p. 187. ISBN 9780869611296 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ a b Guinand, Yves; Lemessa, Dechassa (10 March 2000). "Wild-food Plants in Southern Ethiopia: Reflections on the role of 'famine-foods' at a time of drought - Ethiopia". ReliefWeb. UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  9. ^ a b The Plant List genus Huernia

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