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.


These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.