Unknown woody houseplant with glossy leaves

Hi Judy,

I saved this plant off the side of the road yesterday. It’s looking a bit sad and I’m hoping to bring it back to life, however I would love to know what it is in the first place! I’m thinking some sort of Ficus sp. but I may be totally wrong.

Pictures attached.
It is about 45 cm high, 45 cm wide.
It’s a woody plant.
Leaves are alternate, quite thick and glossy green, with what I assume are little pointy bracts above the petiole.
Petiole is up to 1.5 cm.

Many thanks for your help.

Hi Ariane,

Your plant is called a Desert Rose (ADENIUM OBESUM). This plant is a type of caudiciform or “fat plant” because of its thick bulbous base. No two plants ever have the same base!  When grown indoors, a Desert Rose grows 2ft-5ft tall and about 1ft-3 ft wide. Desert Rose plants have beautiful flowers and sparse small leaves. Here is one in bloom.

Pink flower, woody base Desert Rose Plant
Desert Rose Plant

You can read all my care tips in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/desert-rose-how-to-grow-care-for-a-desert-rose-plant

These plants are considered poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to poisonous houseplantsIn her new book, Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat!, plant care professional Judy Feldstein shares information about twenty-five common houseplants, each with various levels of toxicity, and the possible consequences if your pet or child snacks on them..