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Cultivars of
Rare Crosses or Unknown Parentage

Here are a few oddballs that don't fit anywhere else.

'Beautiful Mule'

Parentage: Complex hybrid involving Adenium "obesum", swazicum, and crispum. ('Candy Stripes' x 'Black Raspberry')

'Candy Stripes' = A. crispum 'Famous Ancestor' x A. swazicum 'Perpetual Pink'

'Black Raspberry' = A. crispum 'Famous Ancestor' x A. "obesum" 'Black Ruby'

Creator: Dimmitt 2003

Plant form: Naturally arborescent with thick trunk, major branches, and massive roots. Foliage resembles that of "obesum", except for more prominent white veins as in crispum. Deciduous. It can also branch basally and become a shrub.

Flower: Round at first; with age the petals elongate and quill, becoming more star-shaped. Diameter at one week 84 mm, 35 mm petal width. Petals solid crimson-red outer halves, fading to pink at throat. Throat red with darker red strong nectar guides that extend onto the petals halfway to the tips. There are white calluses where each pair of petals fuse at the throat. (They turn red in older flowers.) Flowers continuously from mid spring through late autumn.

Notes: I had high hopes for this cultivar when it was young. I love tree adeniums, and the flowers borne at eye level. Alas, it's completely sterile, hence the name. It seems to have no pollen, and it has never set a fruit. Worse still, although it roots easily from cuttings, it is exceptionally susceptible to root rot. I have lost many plants from watering once too late in the fall or too early in the spring. I don't sell it except to the most avid and diligent collectors.

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Above: The original seedling of adenium 'Beautiful Mule', 17 years old in an 18-inch pot.

Far left: a new flower of adenium 'Beautiful Mule', showing excellent shape. Left: week-old flowers, showing how the petals elongate as the flower ages. The right photo shows more accurate color - crimson-red.

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Above: A grafted plant of adenium 'Bohemian Splash', about 7 years old. The original seedling is slow-growing.

'Bohemian Splash' (MAD639)

Parentage: Complex hybrid involving Adenium boehmianum, "obesum", and crispum.

A. boehmianum 'MAD193' x 'Happy Princess'

Creator: Dimmitt 2010

Plant form: Vigorous (on grafts) upright shrub or tree with sturdy branches; tends to grow taller than wide. Deciduous.

Flower: Round, 60 mm diameter x 26 mm petal width. Petals pink with many fine dark pink lines almost to the tips. Throat pinkish-red with prominent black nectar guides. Blooms prolifically from early summer to early winter. High flower count.

Notes: This is my favorite boehmianum hybrid, because of its strong growth and profusion of colorful flowers. The great majority of boehmianum hybrids are weak and/or are very slow growing. They produce mostly inferior offspring in subsequent generations.

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Above: The flowers of adenium 'Bohemian Splash'.

Left: A young grafted plant of adenium 'Bohemian Splash', about 2 years old.

'Candy Stripes'

Parentage: Label lost; presumably Adenium crispum x swazicum. When this cross was made, the most likely parents were A. crispum 'Famous Ancestor' and A. swazicum 'Perpetual Pink'

Creator: Dimmitt 2000

Plant form: Erect, arborescent, with large roots and thick main stems. Deciduous.

Flower: Semi-star, 80 mm diameter x 27 mm petal width. Petals dark pink with 3 fine dark pink lines to the tips and numerous short streaks. Flowers age to light pink. Throat red with darker red nectar guides. Blooms prolifically during the warm months. 

Notes: The dark throat and short anther appendages indicate swazicum parentage (if it were boehmianum, it should contribute larger leaves); while the petal markings have to come from crispum. Neither species is known for having sturdy stems, so this erect plant is a treasure. This clone grows well from cuttings. I know of no other crispum-swazicum hybrids.


Above: A new (left) and old flower of 'Candy Stripes'. 

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Above: The original seedling of adenium 'Candy Stripes', 9 years old in a 24-inch box.

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Right: This hybrid of A. crispum x A. swazicum by JFR Exotics supports my conclusion about the parentage of 'Candy Stripes'. Photo: John Franklin Roosevelt.

'Crimson Picotee'

Parentage: Primary hybrid between A. "obesum" and A. multiflorum.

Creator: Dimmitt 1984

Plant form: Very large, erect shrub with thick, sturdy main branches and massive roots.  Evergreen.

Flower: Round-star, 70 mm diameter x 27 mm petal width. Petals white with broad bright red border. Throat white with few prominent nectar guides. Blooms sparsely but almost continuously year-round.

Notes: I've made several "obesum"-multiflorum hybrids, but this was the only one worth keeping. The others were less vigorous, and flowered even more sparsely. Grows well from cuttings and makes a good grafting rootstock.

Above: The original seedling of adenium 'Crimson Picotee', 10 feet tall in a 36-inch pot at 16 years old.


Left two: the flowers of 'Crimson Picotee'.

'Flame Tree'

Parentage: Complex hybrid of A. "obesum", swazicum, and somalense.

('Crimson Star' x A. somalense)

Creator: Dimmitt 1995

Plant form: Tree to at least 10 feet tall in 10 years, with thick cylindrical trunk. Roots not greatly swollen.

Flower: Round/semi-star, 55 mm diameter x 20 mm petal width. Petals deep red, fading to near-white at the throat. Throat blackish-red with black nectar guides that extend halfway to petal tips as red lines.

Notes: I have made only a few crosses with somalense, because I didn't have any good clones of the species until very recently. Such hybrids have little value as commercial pot plants because they get so big so fast. But they would make great landscape plants in tropical climates.I list this cultivar because I know of no similar hybrids. It also shows that somalense can contribute petal markings to hybrids. Do you have any somalense hybrids? Please contribute to our knowledge.


Above left: The original seedling of adenium 'Flame Tree', 8 feet tall at 9 years old. Above right: The same plant at 17 years old, 10 feet tall in a 22-inch pot.


Above: A 4-year-old cutting of adenium 'Singapore', already showing its conical caudex.


Parentage: Uncertain; possibly this is Adenium coetanum. See notes below.

Origin: Introduced by the Singapore Botanical Garden in 1933. My plant is a cutting of Frank Horwood's clone from Abbey Garden.

Plant form: Spreading shrub with conical caudex and swollen main stems. Evergreen.

Flower: Very large, semi-star, 102 mm diameter x 30 mm petal width. Petals light pink with wide deep pink to light red margin. Throat white with few faint nectar guides. Blooms repeatedly during the warm months. 

Notes: This is the oldest named cultivar of adenium, dating to a time decades before adeniums became well known in horticulture. Albert Chan at the Singapore Botanic Garden showed the plant to the famous botanist Richard Eric Holttum. He identified the plant as A. coetanum, a taxon of questionable validity. There are a few herbarium specimens with this label that were collected from northern Uganda and Kenya south to northern Tanzania. Adeniums from this region are currently recognized as A. somalense in the north and A. "obesum" in the south. DNA analysis suggests that 'Singapore' is an obesum-somalense intergrade. Therefore it is probable, whatever its true identity is, that it originated in this region of East Africa.

Frank Horwood succeeded in selfing his plant and obtained a handful of seedlings, which were fertile. All of the plants in the US labeled A. coetanum are probably descended from this one clone. Source: a 1980 letter from Frank Horwood.


Above: The 4-inch flower of adenium 'Singapore'.

Above: A 12-year-old cutting of adenium 'Singapore.

'Winter Remedy'

Parentage: Adenium multiflorum x swazicum primary hybrid.

(A. multiflorum 'MAD1' x A. swazicum 'Perpetual Pink'

Creator: Dimmitt 1987.

Plant form: Spreading shrub with massive roots. Semi-deciduous.

Flower: Round/semi-star, 77 mm diameter x 27 mm petal width. Petals with wide medium pink margin, fading to near-white at throat. Throat red with no nectar guides. Flowers fade to light pink in a week. Inflorescence is indeterminate, produces buds and flowers for about 3 months. Winter blooming.

Notes: This is one of a small number of winter-blooming adeniums.

Above left: The flower of adenium 'Winter Remedy'. Above right: A 3-month old indeterminate inflorescense. The first flower was where my two fingers are gripping the peduncle.

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Above: The original seedling of adenium 'Winter Remedy' at 16 years old in a 24-inch pot. Cuttings grow the same massive roots in several years.

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