Pachypodiums belong to the Apocynaceae family. There is twelve different species in the genus. The stems and branches may be spiny in some species or subterranean and caudiciform in other. The leaves are simple, they may be smooth or fine hairs may be present. Plants deciduous, excluding the tree-like species. Plants species vary in their rate of growth, some species will grow relatively quickly to 9m in height while other may take a quarter of a century to reach 13cm in height.
The flowers are trumpet-shaped and may be white, red or yellow, the flowers appear at the stem tips. After successful pollination twin seed pods develop, these pods resemble the "horns" of the family Asclepiadaceae.
Plants are found in Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Moçambique, Madagascar and South Africa.