Huernia hystrix was in cultivation at Kew in 1869, when it was described (as Stapelia hystrix) in the Botanical Magazine. It is an interesting tufted species with erect stems being five-angled, purplish green that varies considerably in the size and the shape of the flowers. The flowers, which arise in succession at the base of the stems, are cup-shaped, with spiny petals, dull yellow in colour and banded with red, but variable. Huernia hystrix v. hystrix differs from its other varieties with its more vigorous stems and larger flowers. The inner surface of the flower is densely covered with prominent papillae, justifying the name 'porcupine Huernia".