Adenium somalense Stapf

Adenium somalense occurs in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and extends a bit into adjacent nations. The most popular form in cultivation grows a tall, conical, succulent trunk, but there are also shrubby forms with subterranean caudexes. Only A. arabicum (some populations) and socotranum have larger caudexes. The flowers are rather small especially considering the size of the plant. The most identifiable characters are the conical caudex, light-colored veins in the leaves, and nectar guides that extend onto the petal bases. This species is extremely intolerant of cold. Temperatures below 50° F (10° C) for a few weeks will usually cause the roots to die and the plant will topple.Even keeping the plant dry in winter will not reliably prevent this collapse. Probably for this reason and because of its large size it is not common in cultivation.

Adenium somalense in a 30-inch pot in Thailand; the plant is 10 years old.

Adenium somalense grown in Tucson, Arizona. It's 9 feet tall, 17 years old and has rotted off at the base twice because of cold weather. Note the 12-inch ruler at the base.

Flower of Adenium somalense.

This plant in Thailand appeared to be Adenium somalense, but the flowers were three times as large as typical for the species.


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