Adenium obesum subsp. socotranum
Adenium obesum subsp. somalense
Adenium somalense var. caudatipetalum
Adenium somalense var. crispum
This species is present in East Africa, Namibia, South Africa, where it lives in semi-arid regions.
Adenium obesum is the most famous plant in the genus “Adenium”, being so unusual and beautiful with its colorful, white-purple flowers, and its bulbous, big basal stem, that looks like a big brown tuber. It is actually the method adopted by this plant to store water, being it native from regions with a semi-arid climate. Another name for this plant is also “desert rose”. Flowering occurs in spring. The flowers are tiny, tubular, with 5 petals. Adenium obesum is an evergreen or a drought-decidous plant: which means that it can loose the leaves to prevent loss of water through transpiration from the little holes in the leaves. Leaves are arranged in a spiral, grouped in the apical part of the branches. They are green, leathery, elliptic, with the central vein colored in yellow.
Put it under direct light or partial shade, in a sandy, neutral (nor acid, neither basic), well draining soil, better if filled with organic matter. Its ideal situation is to haIt doesn’t bear temperatures below 10ºC or backwater. Water it every 7-8 days in summer, only when you see that the substrate is dry, and don’t water at all in winter (just if you see that the soil is too dry). Plants maintain a small size, so it’s not necessary to repot them.
Propagation is possible from cuttings and seeds.
This species has been depicted on postage stamps issued by various countries. Its milk is poisonous. A. obesum is also a popular bonsai. Common names of this species refers all to its beautiful flowers and include Sabi star, Kudu, Mock azalea, Impala lily and Desert rose.