What’s the “Desert Rose Succulent” on Holiday Baking Championship?
Sorry, Food Network, you got it wrong. The succulents that a Holiday Baking finalist sculpted from frosting are not "desert roses"---that's Adenium obesum. Hers were echeverias. Here's why.
Contestant Aishia Martinez, a finalist on TV Food Network's "Holiday Baking Championship" Season 9, Episode 8, referred to the succulents she fashioned to decorate a chocolate tart as "my favorite succulent, the desert rose." This likely sent thousands of viewers to the Internet to learn more about such stunning plants, which on Aishia's confection resemble thick-leaved, blue-gray roses.
Aishia is a creative, competent and likable baker, and the Food Network happens to be my favorite channel. I do hope she and the producers forgive me for correcting a minor error: "desert rose"---which is uncommon because it's tricky to grow---looks entirely different from the decorations she created.
The delicate, trumpet-shaped flowers of Adenium obesum are bright shades of red or pink, never blue-gray. Adeniums form branching shrubs with bulbous trunks, slender green leaves, and five-petalled flowers that resemble plumerias. The plants are native to Southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and (sorry, Food Network), happen to be poisonous.
What Aishia no doubt meant are different, highly popular succulents that do indeed resemble roses and come in the colors she chose: echeverias. These do not, however, grow in deserts but rather are native to the mountains of Mexico.
There are hundreds of species and cultivars of Echeveria, but two in particular look like Aishia's edible decorations: Echeveria shaviana and Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg'.
There! Mine may be the only site with the correct info, for those of you who have been searching, searching...and not finding. If so, welcome. You've arrived at the Internet's most comprehensive, non-commercial website dedicated to succulents with an emphasis on design. Feel free to settle in, browse a bit, and leave a comment or question.
And Aishia, if you happen to stop by, please accept my admiration and applause.
P.S. I'm hopeless at baking.
Related Info on This Site
Echeveria Info, Photos & Varieties
Echeveria Info, Photos & Varieties How to grow echeverias perfectly, plus an extensive gallery, all ID’d See All Succulent Types Aeonium Agaves Aloes Cactus Crassula Echeveria Euphorbias Ice Plants Kalanchoe Portulacaria Senecio About Echeverias Here you’ll find expert advice to help you grow echeverias perfectly, with a gallery of 150+ beautiful, notable species and cultivars.…
I’d never heard of the Echeveria being called the desert rose. At the same time, while I have heard of a desert rose, until today I didn’t actually know what it was! Thanks for this entry Debra!
You’re very welcome, Cathy! Thank you for commenting.
Well done! You were I informative as well as entertaining. Geneva Benza
Thanks, Geneva. That’s exactly what I aim for, in all that I do.
Very diplomatic 😉 and informative! Well done Debra
Thank you! I’m glad I managed to hit the right note.
Ah, ha, I also caught that mistake last night. It looked like an Echeveria to me. While you’re at it, how about correcting Food Network’s other blatant mistakes:
“Sherbet” has only ONE ‘r’ yet the supposed chefs (Tiffani Faison) and hosts continue to repeatedly call it “sher bert.”
On the other hand, “turmeric” has TWO ‘r’ consonants but it is repeatedly called “tu meric” (Bobby Flay).
So, you go girl, sock it to them. They need to be corrected! Gently, of course.
Hi Kate — I’m a career journalist, so editing comes naturally to me. But I admit I make mistakes chronically. Like Agave desmettiana…or is it Agave desmetiana? It was named after a Monsieur Desmett. Or was it Desmet? I have it explained to me only to get it confused the next time ’round.
I suffer similar confusions regularly!😂
I’m the same way, Debra! Especially with a degree in Biology, it’s so hard to ignore errors in botanical names. Don’t even get me started on people capitalizing the species name when writing Genus and species! 🤣 Drives me crazy!
Hi Leslie — Errors in nomenclature are more revealing about the writer than a problem for me. What does drive me crazy is when names get changed.
Very entertaining commentary. I needed this diversion tonight! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Hi Georgina — Same to you! Glad you enjoyed it.
Hello Debra…your correction was masterfully written…educated and kind.
Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year.
Thank you, Judith. That’s what I hoped for.
A correction that needed to be made. Very tastefully done (no pun intended)!
I enjoy all the posts you make. As a Master Gardener of Napa County I often refer the public to your Debra Lee Baldwin site, and to your publications. Always great and correct information. So helpful to have verbiage and photos of various succulents/families. As these remarkable plants become more popular, the public needs to know the varieties of plants in their possession so they can grow successfully.
Thank you for providing a wonderful site, and for sharing all of your knowledge.
And thank YOU, Linda, for a lovely comment!
Sorry to hear about your retirement, you contributed so much to our community.
Enjoy your retirement but keep us updated on your journey
Hi Celest — I’ve been “semi-retired” for years. What I do is basically a glorified hobby, which I enjoy very much and don’t intend to stop doing anytime soon!
I saw this show also and thought hmmmm?!
Thanks for a well said correction and great
Love your posts!
Thanks Linda! It’s funny, I was sitting there thinking “desert rose…?” It took me a few minutes to connect the dots. And another few minutes to take screen captures and scoot into my office to write the post. I really appreciate how you and others responded.
Your comments were wonderful: full of factual information, humility and a good sense of humor.
Hope you enjoy your semiretirement but I don’t know what I would do without your website. I
Thanks, BJ. No worries, I’m not doing anything differently in the foreseeable future, just less of it. My website’s not going anywhere. Glad you find it useful!
Your comments were wonderful: full of factual information, humility and a good sense of humor.
Hope you enjoy your semiretirement but I don’t know what I would do without your website.
I think you did well in correcting the mistake. I didn’t see the show (my wife probably did 😀) I too watch the Food Network and love to cook. I also have several Adeniums, and would certainly have caught the error, well done.
Thanks for the validation, Dick!
You are an expert without arrogance; a linguist without pomposity; and always a joy to read (and see)!
Thank YOU for the correction!
Matt, you sweet thing. You’re forever saying things that I’d be honored to have as an epitaph, LOL.
I think your feedback was spot on and well done and respectful. And I love your site! I still remember how quickly you responded when I wrote to ask for first aid for a succulent blown over by the wind with damage to the center. I have continued to collect succulents and even tried my hand at propagating them. I had so much joy gifting them to friends. PLEASE continue to share your knowledge and joy about these wonders, I am slowly re-landscaping my home with succulents and the information and photos have been invaluable.
Happy Holidays!! Getting ready to order a zygote cactus from my local nursery after I research it on your site!
Hi Lisa — Thank you! It gives me joy and purpose to share info, and it’s so very welcome to hear that people like you appreciate it (and want more!) I don’t have much info on zygocactus (Schlumbergera, or Christmas cactus) on my site. This year I considered adding it. Thing is, I don’t grow it myself, so I can’t speak from experience. I need to fix that!
A correction that needed to be made. A journalist is responsible for research and presenting information correctly. The journalist in this case I believe would be the producer. And this would have been an easy research topic. My husband and I are avid long time bird watchers and I corrected a local news station for a photo of a common bird that they were mis-naming. on air. I simply sent an email and received no comment in return. However, the next evening they did correct themselves on air.
With that said, I love your site and you’ve been so helpful in my amateur succulent collection. I’m in Colorado so my plants are limited to windowsills and I must say they thrive and bring me such pleasure. And thanks to you, I’m also on the lookout for Mark Muradian pottery. I did find a little succulent shop in Los Angeles who names him, but has nothing at this time to buy. I did order other pottery that was simply stunning.
Again, thanks for sharing your knowledge.
Hi Lea Ann — You’re welcome! You know, maybe they did Google “desert rose” and found one or two sites that poetically use that term for echeverias. I wonder what the producers or film editors do when a contestant uses a wrong term…must happen all the time. Seems to me they’d just edit it out. After all, it’s too late to correct it, and they have hours of footage to choose from. My husband and I usually show closed captions, and I often think that whoever transcribes them (or whatever auto-transcribe program they use) makes a big difference. During that same episode, if I recall correctly, the word “desert” showed in the captioning as “dessert.” And French sable (sah-bley) cookies were spelled differently, too.
I’m so glad you pointed out the difference. That show is watched by so many and I can imagine someone going to a nursery and being so confused when searching for a desert rose.
Thank you so much for all you share, I’ve learned a lot from you!
You sweet thing—thanks, Isabel! I’m very happy to hear it. Yeah, there are echeverias for sale by the zillions, but good luck finding adeniums. They’re greenhouse plants, and collectors show off prize specimens at Cactus & Succulent Society Shows, but you almost never see them for sale.
Hello Debra Lee,
I appreciated your thoughtful and concise description regarding the confusion about the name, Desert Rose. I hope the producers and Aishia do not take the correction the wrong way. It’s just that we succulent aficionados try to describe our plants correctly. If I don’t know a succulent (there’s a lot of them!) I usually will say I don’t know and look it up. Cheers from this follower on your eloquent post!
Hi Richard — I did feel I needed to tread lightly. Not everyone appreciates being corrected. You know, I’ll bet Aishia felt confident in the term she used…she didn’t hesitate. I suspect she got it from a nursery, and didn’t make it up on the spur of the moment. After all, she had no way of knowing that the challenge was going to involve succulents. I thought it was cool that she was able to fashion recognizable echeverias from icing, regardless what she called them. Other bakers identified the succulents they sculpted for their tarts as cacti and agaves. Aishia was the only one who went for prettier varieties. I’ve made them out of clay, which you’d think would be easy, but isn’t. It’s an art form.