Adenium obesum

Adenium obesum (Forsskal) J. Roemer & J. A, Schultes

Common Names: Desert Rose, Mock Azalea

Family: Apocynaceae

Habit: Adenium obesum grows as succulent shrub up to 3 m in height.  The leaves are arranged alternately, obovate to oblinear, to 12 cm long, 4 cm wide, and clustered at branch tips. The leaves have an obtuse to acuminate leaf apex and an entire margin. The leaf surfaces pubescent or glabrous. Vegetation produces a milky sap.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in corymbose panicles arising in leaf axils.  The calyx has 5 unfused, greenish sepals.  The corolla has 5 red, pink or white petals that are fused forming a tube with the lobes overlapping to one side forming a pinwheel shape. There are 5 stamens fused to the corolla tube.  The ovary is superior and has two locules and many ovules.  The fruit is a follicle (in pairs) that turns brown at maturity.  The seeds have tufts of hairs at one end to assist in dispersal.

Habitat: Adenium obesum grows in Human Altered environments (yards and gardens).

Distribution: Adenium obesum is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago. It is native to the Arabian Peninsula and tropical Africa.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Adenium obesum is not used medicinally in the Bahamian Archipelago. In Africa it has been used to cure snake bites, treat fevers, and as a poison. It is a strong cardiac stimulant and is considered toxic!

It is a common ornamental species.