Adenium multiflorum Klotsch
Adenium multiflorum is native to Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Wild plants range from scraggly understory shrubs to erect shrubs more than 8 feet tall. There is usually no distinct caudex, but the roots and stems become quite thick in older plants. It has the second largest leaves in the genus (after A. boehmianum).
Flowers are borne in profusion during winter when the plants are leafless. Plants have an obligate winter dormancy, and seem to require a cold (but above freezing) winter to stimulate flowering.
The diagnostic features of this species are the white flowers with narrow red edges that bloom in winter, and the anther appendages that are exserted well beyond the throat that has prominent nectar guides. If your plant has picoteed flowers that bloom in other seasons when in leaf, it is not A. multiflorum.
This species is not widely grown. The likely reasons are its slow growth and the need for a cool fall with strong winter light to flower well. Moreover, most people are not shopping for tropical plants during winter.
Left and above: Adenium multifllorum flowers only in winter while leafless. This plant, 'MAD 110', is ten years old.
Above: Flower of A. multiflorum 'MAD 110' Note the exserted anther appendages.
The broad leaves of A. multiflorum. Only those of A. boehmianum are larger.
Left and above: Caudex and flower of A. multiflorum 'Gus Spartas'. The plant was grown from a small seedling collected in Zimbabwe in 1998. The flowers of this plant have particularly wide and bright margin.
Left and Above: A. multiflorum 'MAD 1', my first accessioned adenium cultivar. The plant in the photo is 29 years old.
Above: A. multiflorum with a narrow picotee. Collection of Ashish Hansoti.
Adenium multiflorum in the Wild
Above: John Bliznak next to an Adenium multiflorum in Limpopo National Park, Mozambique. (The plant had been transplanted to a ranger station.) Photo: John Bliznak
Above: Adenium multiflorum recently imported from Mozambique. Photo: John Bliznak
Above: Adenium multiflorum in Thornybush Game Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa. After wet winters this species may flower with persistent leaves. (In biology there is an exception to every rule!)
Plant and flowers of A. multiflorum in Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa. This specimen was transplanted to a display garden at the Paul Kruger entrance gate. Photos: Sheryl Hayes.
Most plants of A. multiflorum in Kruger N.P. are scrawny understory shrubs, probably because they're trampled by wildlife. These flowers lack a sharp red edge.