Adenium multiflorum

Botanical name

Adenium multflorum (SA No 647,3)

Other names

Impala lily, impalalelie (Afrikaans); adenium obesum




A thick-stemmed, sometimes multistemmed succulent shrub, deciduous (or semi-deciduous in warmer areas); around 1,5 m, occasionally double that height

Description of stem

A squat, succulent stem, tapering upwards with a smooth light grey surface

Description of leaves

Simple, alternate or spiralling, towards the end of the otherwise bare branches; fleshy, obovate, dark green, pale below, midrib prominent on the lower surface; apex rounded, margin entire

Description of flowers

Abundant white or pink flowers with bright pink borders at the outer edges of the petals, floral parts in fives, bisexual; distinctive vertical maroon stripes occur at the throat of the trumpet; some colour variations occur; a very striking sighting in its natural surroundings in winter when the abundance of flowers adorn the leafless stems

Description of seed/fruit

Paired, cylindrical, over 20 cm long, hairy, turning brown when mature; splits open to release more than 50 long thin seeds with hairy tufts at the ends

Description of roots

Thick underground stems


Several subspecies occur throughout Africa and Arabia; variations multiplied in cultivation; some writers separate A. multiflorum and A. obesum

Propagation and cultivation

Grown from seed or cuttings in spring, best in semi-arid conditions, high temperatures, full sun, well-drained sandy soil, watered in similar way as cacti; seedlings hve been reported to flower within a year


Can endure drought or periods of cold-induced dormancy


Popular in xeriscaping, as a container plant and succulent gardens in many parts of the world, e.g.  the Far East and the USA; toxic sap, used to poison fish and arrow-heads for hunting; browsed by game, maybe kudu and baboons, sometimes by livestock although toxic for cattle and goats

Ecological rarity

Said to be not threatened in South Africa; it is on the Red Data lists of Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia

Pests and diseases

Said to be plagued by some insects in cultivation




Savanna grassland in semi-tropical areas, sandy and rock areas

Distribution (SA provinces)

Mpumalanga, Limpopo


South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and northwards up to some Middle Eastern countries, westward to Senegal


Received from Johan Wentzel



Adenium multiflorum flower;  Photographed by Ricky MauerAdenium multiflorum Photographed by Ricky Mauer