Adenia (2007)

PhotoBy Pam Schnebelen (September 2007)

Adenias are members of the Passion Flower family, Passifloraceae. Most adenias are vines from Africa, Madagascar and Asia. The most collectible of these are the “fat plants” – the caudiciforms with swollen stems that taper rapidly as the vine climbs up into the trees and shrubs that hide and protect the fat bases.

Most adenias have an attractive, smooth, green skin with a barklike ring just above the soil level. Most are dry season deciduous, losing their leaves during a dry, warm dormancy. If wintered in the house, though, some species will continue growing all year. They enjoy large pots or free root run. During the heat of summer, they appreciate a lot of water. Dry plants can tolerate temperatures down to 40 degrees F.

Unlike their Passion Flower cousins, adenia flowers are small and white to pale yellow, but some species make profuse displays. Leaves can take many shapes, from small and ovoid to large forms shaped like snow flakes. Alas, cuttings of most species do not produce good-looking bases, so most plants are produced slowly from seed. The plants are unisexual, so you will need a male plant and a female plant to produce offspring.

These plants have toxic sap, so be sure to wash well after pruning. As the Henry Shaw Cactus Society show does not have a class for Passifloraceae, you will find plants of the Adenia genus in the Fat Plant and Other Succulent classes.