Hungry Caterpillars

Desert Rose, adenium obesum

A few years back we acquired a pretty pot plant which we think is called Desert Rose (adenium obesum).

Even though the Malaysian climate is damper than its native Africa or Middle East, the Desert Rose has looked after itself and grown steadily fatter while blooming all year round.

So it was annoying to see it looking very sick the other day with almost all its leaves gone.

Desert Rose, adenium obesum

On closer inspection I found nine chubby caterpillars gorging themselves on the few leaves left on the bush.

caterpillar eating Desert Rose, adenium obesumcaterpillar eating Desert Rose, adenium obesum

caterpillar eating Desert Rose, adenium obesumcaterpillar eating Desert Rose, adenium obesum

Eight of these insects were orangey brown while one was green. Perhaps they have the ability to change colour to blend in with their surroundings, like chameleons. They must have strong stomachs because the sap of this plant is said to be deadly poisonous to humans and animals.

caterpillar eating Desert Rose, adenium obesum 

Don’t know what type of butterfly or moth these creatures will transform into but I didn’t want to kill them so I carefully prised them away from their meal and deposited them outside the perimeter of my garden. Not sure if our desert rose is going to recover. Pests!

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2 Responses to Hungry Caterpillars

  1. According to my Amranand and Warren’s “Gardening in Bangkok” (which gathers dust) it is indeed Adenium obesum aka “Impala Lily” and the Thai name “Chua-Chom”. “It likes semi-desert conditions….” which ties in with your Desert Rose. We have some in pots in our garden in Bangkok.

    According to Wiki in the PhiIippinnes, as the plant was originally introduced from Bangkok, it is also called Bangkok kalachuchi (though possibly only known to gardeners).

  2. Chris says:

    Great photos. The green one looks like its getting ready for Halloween.Caterpillars deposited outside your garden perimeter…..did the neighbours like their new guests?

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