Adenium crispum occurs in a band of sandy soil near the coast of southern Somalia. (It has not been formally published as a full species, but as A. somalense var. crispum Chiov.) In nature the fusiform caudex is subterranean. Most of the root system arises from near the top of this caudex. In cultivation the caudex is raised above soil level, and the caudex reroots from the bottom. The stems are thin and rarely exceed a foot tall. The small flowers are very distinctive and serve as the best identifier: most clones have quilled petals (curled longitudinally). And most notably, the nectar guides extend well onto the petals, often all the way to the tips. (The flowers of some A. somalense have nectar guides onto the petals, but the petals are only slightly or not at all quilled.) The anther appendages often extend beyond the throat. Flat-petaled and solid red-petaled plants are known. It is not widely cultivated, probably because it is very cold-sensitive and intolerant of hot, humid weather.
Adenium crispum, a collected plant. Note the scars from the original roots near the top of the caudex.
An unusually tall A. crispum.
4 years old in a 6-inch pot.
10 years old in a 12-inch bonsai pot.
Above 3 photos: seed-grown Adenium crispum 'MAD 297',
showing its slow growth through the years.
22 years old in a 16-inch bonsai pot.
Flower of A. crispum 'Famous Ancestor' with especially prominent, long nectar guides and strongly quilled petals.
A selection of Adenium crispum flowers in cultivation, showing variation in petal color, shape, and nectar guides.
Adenium crispum in the Wild
Adenium crispum near Warshak, Somalia
Photo: Myron Kimnach
Adenium crispum 40 km north of Mogadishu, Somalia on road to Warshedih
Photos: John Lavranos
Adenium crispum 40 km north of Mogadishu, Somalia on road to Warshedih.
Photo: John Lavranos
Two plants of Adenium crispum with solid red flowers.
Above left: Somalia, location unknown. Photo: John Lavranos
Above right: 40 km north of Mogadishu, Somalia. Photo: Gerald Barad.