Desert roses are colourful flowering plants native to the dry climates of sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian penisula. The stem and root swells up to store water from the summer rains for the long dry winter ahead. Desert rose species, and a handful of subspecies, vary widely from short, fat trees to small shrubs, depending on their location. All have a highly toxic sap which is used by local people to coat arrow tips for hunting. Unrelated to the rose family, these are also popular house plants.
Scientific name: Adenium obesum
Extraordinary plants survive a harsh life in Socotra.
The true source of Dragon’s blood, is from a tree grown on the Socotra archipelago, south of the Arabian peninsula. The blood red sap has had many uses over time, from medicinal treatments to dyes and toothpaste and it is still used as a varnish for violins. Once widely distributed, the tree is now listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. There are several possible reasons for its decline: overgrazing, loss of habitat through human encroachment, over-use of the tree for rope and traditional beehives, and changes in the climate of the archipelago as a whole.
The Desert rose can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Desert rose distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
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