Adenium (Desert Rose)
Adenium is a genus of flowering plants in dogbane family, Apocynaceae, first described as a genus in 1819. It is native to Africa and to the Arabian Peninsula. Adenium also known as desert rose is slow growing but long-lived succulent plant. The attractive flowers of adeniums and their interesting bottle-shaped trunk make them desirable for the garden.
A highly variable species with a vast range of plant, leaf and flower forms. Generally self-sterile, though some clones do set seed when alone. Leaves can be small or large, smooth or tomentose; growth compact and bushy or tall and lanky; caudex short and fat or tall and narrow and flower colour ranging from pure white through the typical pink to deep, almost blackish red.
A lanky, tall growing species with large, glossy leaves tinged red. It flowers in winter and spring after a cool dry rest period and will not flower if kept warm and moist. Spectacular display of white flowers bordered with crimson, all the way from the terminal buds down to the small branches from the caudex.
Light lilac to almost magenta flowers, it is supposed to be the hardiest Adenium. It’s liked because of its unusual flower colours and floriferous nature as well as compact growth pattern. One of the harder types to grow from seed. Hybrids with A.Obesum as the pod parent are possible and amongst the most floriferous hybrids.
Distinguished most by its outstanding caudex formation and relatively thick fleshy leaves, this is the most succulent and "desert like" species. Seeds are particularly large and give seedlings which rapidly form a nice hard caudex. The form of the plant varies and we are trying to select for superior trunk and branch formations.
Adenium somalense var.somalense
A robust, tall and fast growing species. Makes big plants quickly and should be a good landscape item in frost free areas. Even more than A. multiflorum this species is mixed in almost all Adenium selections worldwide. One common trait that it leaves is its progeny are the strong red lines going down the throat.
Adenium somalense var. crispum
A subspecies discovered relatively recently, it is very different from the one above. It’s very distinctive, narrow marbled foliage and the heavily marked flowers. The petals are twisted and curled in all the clones (hence the specific name) it’s dominant in its hybrids.
A peculiar species, with flowers similar to A. swazicum but very broad leaves, long periods of dormancy and poor flowering characteristics.
It is the smallest species in the genus. The caudex is subterranean, and the stems are scarcely succulent and rarely reach a foot tall. The small flowers are usually pale pink, with a yellow throat and prominent red nectar guides. The anther appendages are just shorter than the tube, or may be slightly exerted.
Adenium Cultivars and Hybrids
The explosion in interest in Adeniums is primarily due to the selection of superior cultivars and the breeding work undertaken to give us hundreds of hybrids.
One must understand, however, that all Adeniums grown from seed are “hybrids” in that the plant rarely self-pollinates and that each seedling is distinct in its own right.