Adenia epigea (2009)

PhotoBy Pam Schnebelen (September 2009)

Little has been published on the web about Adenia epigea and its close cousins, A. epigea var. stylosa, A. firingalavensis var. stylosa and A. stylosa. After reading descriptions and examining photographs of these plants, I have concluded that many plants in collections must be misnamed.

I have several of these plants in my own collection. While they are considerably younger than the magnificent collected specimen that was our attendance prize, their leaf shapes and bodies appear quite different from each other. Nevertheless, I cannot say they came correctly named or that their names agree with named plants on the web. Perhaps they will treat me with flowers someday. Then I will have more information to use in proving their names.

Regardless of the plants’ identities, their cultural requirements are very similar. All come from central and northern Madagascar and do not natively occur in any other parts of the world. They want to be warm all year and are dry season deciduous. When actively growing, they appreciate considerable sun and water — so they greatly enjoy life in my free-root-run beds.

As I write this on September 1, it is an amazing 48 degrees F outside, and I am worried about the Madagascar and East African specimens that are summering outdoors. As temperatures will remain unseasonably cold all week, I am tarping that bed to retain some additional warmth. And I will not water. In years past, I have lost these heat-loving plants in colder-than-usual months.