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Origin and Habitat: Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia.
Altitude range: 100–1800 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology: Adenia globosa grows in dry woodlands, deciduous bushlands, Acacia-Commiphora bushlands and dry evergreen bushland where very odd succulents are found (Pyrenacantha, Euphorbia tirucalli, Caralluma, Cissus quadrangularis, Sansevieria and others). This species is widely distributed and hence not threatened with genetic erosion. Over the large distribution area there is a wide variety of threats, with agricultural conversion for smallholdings and charcoal-burning the most important.
- Adenia globosa Engl.
Adenia globosa Engl.
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 14: 382 1891
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Adenia globosa subs. curvata (Verdc.) W.J.de Wilde
Blumea 17: 180 1969
Adenia globosa subs. pseudoglobosa (Verdc.) W.J.de Wilde
Blumea 17: 180 1969
SWAHILI ( Kiswahili): Adenia globosa
Description: Adenia globosa is a dioecious shrub or climber forming a dangerously thorny tangle of twisted stems raying out every which way from an extraordinary wart-covered, hard, bumpish green caudex which in habitat can grow to a diameter of 2.5 m. Flowers greenish white. Inflorescence an axillary cyme. Fruits leathery smooth green.
Branches: Up to 8 m, more or less succulent, strongly spiny, erect or scandent or strongly arching or prostrate and twisted.
Thorns: Strong, (1–) 2–8 cm long,about as long as or longer than the internodes. The thorns develop in the axils of the leaves, and are homologous with a tendril or a tendril-hearing inflorescence as in other Adenias.
Caudex: Swollen warty globular up to 2.5 m in diameter, looking like a large, knobby, bright-green stone. But this “stone” contains plenty of moisture, so that the plant can flourish even when the air is fiery hot and conditions very dry.
Leaves: Caducous, alternate, inconspicuous, grey-green. Blade triangular or shallowly 3-lobed,to rhomboid, or hastate, 3-7 mm long, 1.5-9 mm wide, 3(–5)-nerved from base, reticulation indistinct. Base rounded or peltate. Gland 1 kidney-shaped at blade base 1; no other glands present. Apex acute, with gland at base. Margin entire. Petiole 1-1.5 mm long. Stipules narrowly triangular, 0.5 mm long, acute.
Inflorescences (cymes): 1–5-flowered in male plants, 1–3-flowered in female plants on short–shoots in the axils of the thorns, scattered along the branches, not terminal. Peduncle up to 1.5 mm long; bracts and bracteoles triangular.
Flowers: Unisexual, regular, 5-merous, greenish white; pedicel up to 10-15 mm long, jointed near base. Calyx tube about as long as lobes. Petals free, exserted, toothed.
Male flowers: Narrowly tube- to funnel-shaped up to 2 cm long, sepals 7–9 mm long, petals 4–7.5 mm long 1.5–2.5 mm wide. Filaments of stamens 3.5–7 mm long fused at base and inserted in the hypanthium up to 3 mm above the base, anthers 6–8 mm free. Disk glands 0.7–2 mm wide. Ovary rudimentary.
Female flowers: More or less campanulate, 8–12 mm long, ovary superior, ovoid to ellipsoid, 3-ribbed, styles 3, fused at base, stigmas kidney-shaped, stamens rudimentary. Sepals (4–)5–8 mm. Petals 1.5–2.5 long. staminodes inserted at the base of the hypanthium. disk glands 0.2–1 mm wide.Pistil (4–)5–9 mm.; ovary 2–4 by 1.7–3 mm. Ovules 2–3(-10) per placenta.
Fruit (capsule): Stalked globular to ovate-ellipsoid, 1-3 cm a 1-2 cm, leathery, smooth and green.
Seeds: 3–6(-25) per capsule broadly ovoid, flattened, 6-7 mm long, 3-5.5 mm wide and 3 mm in thick, pitted.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Adenia globosa group
- Adenia globosa Engl.: (subsp. globosa) has scandent main branches, long spines and small fruits. Distribution: Somalia, SE Kenya and NE Tanzania.
- Adenia globosa subs. curvata (Verdc.) W.J.de Wilde: Distribution: North Tanzania.
- Adenia globosa subs. pseudoglobosa (Verdc.) W.J.de Wilde: Distribution: South Kenya
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Umberto Quattrocchi “CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology” (5 Volume Set) CRC Press, 03/May/2012
2) Adenia globosa in: Botanische JahrbUcher fur Systematik, Pflan-zengeschichte and Pflanzengeographie 14: 382, f. 8. 1891
3) IUCN SSC East African Plants Red List Authority 2013. Adenia globosa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 August 2014
4) Andreas Suchantke “Eco-Geography” SteinerBooks 2001
5) Hermann Jacobsen “Abromeitiella to Euphorbia” Blandford Press, 1960
6) Werner Rauh “The Wonderful World of Succulents: Cultivation and Description of Selected Succulent Plants Other Than Cacti” Smithsonian Institution Press, 1984
7) Keith Grantham, Paul Klaassen “The plantfinder's guide to cacti & other succulents” Timber Press, 18/May/1999
8) M. Thulin “Flora Somalia” Vol 1, 1993
9) W. J. J. O. de Wildem (Rijksherbarium, Leiden) “Flora of Tropical East Africa” 1975
10) de Ruijter, A. “Adenia globosa Engl.” In: Schmelzer, G. H. and A. Gurib-Fakim (Eds.): ”Medicinal Plants/Plantes médicinales” 1. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands. 2007.
11) de Wilde, W.J.J.O., “A monograph of the genus Adenia Forsk. (Passifloraceae).” Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen Wageningen, Netherlands. 1971
12) Hedberg, I., Hedberg, O., Madati, P.J., Mshigeni, K.E., Mshiu, E.N. & Samuelsson, G., “Inventory of plants used in traditional medicine in Tanzania. Part III. Plants of the families Papilionaceae-Vitaceae.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 9: 237–260.1983
13) Neuwinger, H.D., “African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications.” Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.2000.
14) de Wilde, W.J.J.O., “Passifloraceae.” In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 71 pp.1975.
15) Watt, J.M. & Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G., “The medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa.” 2nd Edition. E. and S. Livingstone, London, United Kingdom. 1457 pp 1962.
Adenia globosa water's roots. Photo by: © Plantemania
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Cultivation and Propagation: Adenia globosa is one of the larger-growing adenias that creates a spiny, impenetrable shrub if not manicured. It should make an interesting addition to a collection. It can be grown outdoors in frost-free climates.
Growth rate: It grows well, though very slowly, but it possible to increase the speed of growth to some extent by providing adequate amount of water, warmth, and fertilizer during the active growing season, but it’s susceptible to rotting if too wet.
Exposure: It needs Full sun to light shade, but the caudex should be in the shade, while the leaves prefer the sun. Avoid direct blasting sun in summer.
Soil: It needs a very porous potting medium (add pumice, vulcanite, and perlite). It does better in a rather acidic soil.
Waterings: It should be watered regularly in Summer and kept drier in Winter. It rot easily and do NOT like a lot of water when it has no leaves.
Frost tolerance: Due to its African origin keep warm in winter, the minimum safe average temperature is 15°C, although it can go lower for short periods. It can be grown outdoors in frost-free climates, need anyway to kept above 10°C and dry in winter.
Manteinance: Repot every two years. It like pots with generous drain holes. Once this plant is established in its new pot, it should be cut back in height to encourage branching, to maintain an attractive shape and to ensure caudex habit. If pruned and kept somewhat pot bound, it can be maintained at a manageable size, depending on what ''manageable size'' means to you.
Uses: In Tanzania a cold water extract of the stem is drunk to treat abdominal pain. An ex-tract is used as a bath to treat itches. In Kenya the Maasai people use the tuberous stem as cattle medicine. Adenia globosa is grown for ornamental purposes in South Africa and in greenhouses in the temperate regions.
Propagation: Seeds (cuttings are possible, but don't generally produce a caudex) The plants for seed production are generally grown from cuttings since these bloom more freely. The plants for decoration are grown from seed since they develop a caudex.
Warning: The sap of Adenia is poisonous, and they should be handled with caution, particularly when pruning. The thorns can be hazardous.
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