Ask a Question forum: Is a desert rose a tuber plant

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Mar 11, 2017 8:56 AM CST
Since a desert rose has a caudex - can one classify it as a member of the bulb family? If so how can you support your answer?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Mar 11, 2017 10:29 AM CST

If Adeniums were bulbs, they would grow from bulbs. There's nothing underground except roots. A bulb is a form of root but Adenium roots are not bulbs.

The caudex above ground is the trunk or stem.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Mar 11, 2017 4:57 PM CST
Technically bulbs are not a family, in the sense that term has botanically in binomial nomenclature. They are a structure shared by a few families.

Adenium roots may be fat and succulent, and in that sense resemble the above-ground stem, but they are extensions of that stem, not a specialized storage organ. For what it's worth, the botanical term "bulb" and the gardening term "bulb" have different meanings (the second is much less specific). One useful term for a succulent with a primarily underground caudex would be "geophyte", which your garden variety Adenium is not.

If you want to see a closely related example of a geophyte (from the same family), look at Pachypodium bispinosum or P. succulentum, both of which have primarily underground caudices, both of which can be raised above ground for display. Fockea is an even more extreme geophyte from the same family, growing a vine above ground.

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