Supplement to the book
Adenium: Sculptural Elegance, Floral Extravagance

-Flower Shapes

Flower shape in adeniums is a continuum from very narrow-petaled (extreme star shape) to nearly perfect circles. The shape is complicated by other characteristics such as quilled (rolled) or ruffled petals. Shapes on a single plant can also vary with weather and cultural conditions. I like the definitions of the four shapes that I made up below, but it is often difficult to classify many flowers on the border between two types.

Star-shaped flowers have such narrow petals that the free limbs (the part beyond the fused floral tube) barely if at all overlap with each other. They usually also have pointed petal tips.

Nearly all flowers of Adenium multiflorum are star-shaped.

Adenium crispum 'MAD 106' flowers are typical for the species: star-shaped and quilled.

Adenium "obesum" flowers are extremely variable in shape and color. 'Grumbley White' flowers are star-shaped.

'Colorful and Wonderful'

Flower of an Adenium somalense growing in Bangkok. The petal tips are fairly rounded; this flower could be called a semi-star.

An old crispum hybrid with very narrow petals.

'Black Raspberry', a crispum hybrid

'Crimson Star' is approaching a semi-star because of the wider petals.

'Success' is also nearly a semi-star. This plant has such weak stems that they hang vertically.


Semi-star shaped flowers usually have pointed petals, but the petals are wide enough to overlap for up to half of their free lengths.

Adenium "arabicum"

Adenium "obesum" 'Black Ruby'

Adenium "obesum" 'Daeng Siam'

The flowers of 'Classical' are a bit pointy. They could be called semi-star, but the overlap is quite good.

Most Adenium socotranum have semi-star shaped flowers. There is little petal overlap, but the tips are round.

'Rainbow' is a swazicum hybrid. The wide petals overlap well, but the pointed petals give it a semi-star shape.


Round flowers have considerable petal overlap, and usually rounded petal tips.

Adenium "arabicum" 'Hansoti Dwarf'

Adenium "obesum" 'Amiability'

'White Jade Peony', a swazicum hybrid with very flat petals. The tips are a bit pointy, but the flower does not look semi-star shaped.

'Impression #1'

'Pink Elegance'

It's more difficult to describe the shape of
Adenium "obesum" 'White Wave' because of the ruffled petals. It might be circular if the flower were flat.


Circular flowers have rounded petal tips and very wide petals that overlap for well over half their lengths and nearly fill the circle they circumscribe. Perhaps there are not yet any truly circular adenium flowers, but the following cultivars at least come close.

Adenium "arabicum" 'MAD 186' has nearly circular flowers.

Adenium boehmianum tends to have circular flowers.

'Evelyn Marie'

Adenium "obesum" 'Home Run'

'Taiwan Beauty' (= 'Beauty of Taiwan')

The ruffled petals of this adenium "obesum" 'MAD 335'create an almost circular outline. Unfortunately, this blond color is unstable. A few of the normally purplish flowers bleach to this shade when they're a week old.