Adenium obesum

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Adenium obesum
Maldives 01010.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Adenium
Species: A. obesum
Binomial name
Adenium obesum
(Forssk.) Roem. & Schult.

See text.


Adenium coetaneum Stapf
Adenium honghel A.DC.
Nerium obesum Forssk.[1]

Adenium obesum is a species of flowering plant in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae, that is native to the Sahel regions, south of the Sahara (from Mauritania and Senegal to Sudan), and tropical and subtropical eastern and southern Africa and Arabia. Common names include Sabi star, kudu, mock azalea, impala lily and desert rose.


"Adenium obesum" Also known by the names "Sabi Star, Kudu, Mock Azalea, Impala Lily & Desert-rose

It is an evergreen or drought-deciduous succulent shrub (which can also lose its leaves during cold spells, or according to the subspecies or cultivar). It can grow to 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) in height, with pachycaul stems and a stout, swollen basal caudex. The leaves are spirally arranged, clustered toward the tips of the shoots, simple entire, leathery in texture, 5–15 cm (2.0–5.9 in) long and 1–8 cm (0.39–3.15 in) broad. The flowers are tubular, 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) long, with the outer portion 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) diameter with five petals, resembling those of other related genera such as Plumeria and Nerium. The flowers tend to red and pink, often with a whitish blush outward of the throat.

Adenium obesum flower, Gurgaon,India
Adeniunm obesum flowers and leaves
Adenium obesum seeds

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Adenium obesum is a popular houseplant and bonsai[2] in temperate regions. It requires a sunny location and a minimum indoor temperature in winter of 10 °C (50 °F). It thrives on a xeric watering regime as required by cacti. A. obesum is typically propagated by seed or stem cuttings. The numerous hybrids are propagated mainly by grafting on to seedling rootstock. While plants grown from seed are more likely to have the swollen caudex at a young age, with time many cutting-grown plants cannot be distinguished from seedlings.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[3]

The toxic sap of its roots and stems is used as arrow poison for hunting large game throughout much of Africa[4] and as a fish toxin.[5]


  • Adenium obesum subsp. obesum (Mauritania and Senegal to Sudan)
  • Adenium obesum subsp. oleifolium (South Africa, Botswana)
  • Adenium obesum subsp. socotranum (Socotra)
  • Adenium obesum subsp. somalense (Eastern Africa)
  • Adenium obesum subsp. swazicum (Swaziland, South Africa)



  1. ^ "Taxon: Adenium obesum (Forssk.) Roem. & Schult.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1997-05-22. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  2. ^ D'Cruz, Mark. "Ma-Ke Bonsai Care Guide for Adenium obesum". Ma-Ke Bonsai. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  3. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Adenium obesum". Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Schmelzer, G.H.; A. Gurib-Fakim (2008). Medicinal Plants. Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. pp. 46–49. ISBN 978-90-5782-204-9. 
  5. ^ John 'Lofty' Wiseman SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition p. 240; William Morrow Paperbacks (2009) ISBN 978-1875900060

External links[edit]