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Robert Turley  |  3/30/2012 12:07:32 AM

Adenium obsesa hybrid

What is general view that Adeniums have male and female plants?

My short answer is: Yes; Adeniums appear to have male and female plants as well as perfect ones. First a couple of definitions:

  1. A perfect flower (also called bisexual) has both male and female parts. The majority of plant species have perfect flowers.
  2. A monoecious plant has separate male and female flowers, both sexes on the same plant. Example: squash, corn/maize (the tassel is male, the ear female).
  3. A dioecious plant has male or female flowers on different plants; each plant is therefore either male or female. Example: cycads, holly, persimmon. Adeniums are complicated. All plants appear to have perfect flowers. But every hybridizer discovers that some plants are functionally mainly or entirely either male or female.

That is, some clones rarely or never produce viable pollen, while others almost never set seeds. To confuse the issue, there are also incompatibilities between some specific pairings.

Adenium crispum is a big headache in this respect. Most clones are incompatible with each other, which is one reason why this species is so rare in cultivation. I have five plants, and none have ever crossed in any combination.

Another nursery here has 20-odd plants, and they produce no seeds in most years despite hundreds of hand pollinations. These same plants readily hybridize with obesum.

Many adeniums produce viable pollen only at certain times of the year. My current nemesis is 'Fire Phoenix', which has pollen only a few weeks a year.

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