The clump of Hoodia gordonii stems growing in the Karoo has green tips from recent rain. The duller colour normally seen is unchanged on the lower stem parts.
Stem size is quite uneven in this plant, short and thin cylinders present among the older bulky ones. New stems have not been added on the inside or outside of the clump, but are randomly interspersed among old ones.
The small bulging stem tubercles have thin spines at their tips. The arrangement of the tubercles deviates from straight lines, like the parade troops of an inept drill-sergeant (White and Sloane, 1937; Le Roux, et al, 2005).