Silene undulata

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Silene undulata
Silene-capensis.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Silene
Species: S. undulata
Binomial name
Silene undulata
Aiton
Synonyms
  • Silene capensis Otth
  • Melandrium undulatum (Ait.) Rohrb.
Silene undulata in a small pot

Silene undulata (Xhosa: undlela zimhlophe — “white ways/paths”, also known as Silene Capensis, and African Dream Root) is a plant native to the Eastern Cape of South Africa.[1][2]

Cultivation[edit]

In cultivation, S. undulata is an easily grown, but moisture hungry herb. It is tolerant of extreme heat, >40 °C (104 °F), and moderate cold, −5 °C (23 °F). A moisture retentive seedbed is essential. The fragrant flowers open at night and close in the day. It is a biennial to short lived perennial and the root can be harvested after the second year.

Uses[edit]

S. undulata is regarded by the Xhosa people as a sacred plant. Its root is traditionally used to induce vivid (and according to the Xhosa, prophetic) lucid dreams during the initiation process of shamans, classifying it a naturally occurring oneirogen similar to the more well-known dream herb Calea zacatechichi.[1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Jean-Francois Sobiecki: Psychoactive Spiritual Medicines and Healing Dynamics in the Initiation Process of Southern Bantu Diviners. In: Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 44, 2012, S. 216–223, doi:10.1080/02791072.2012.703101.
  • Watt, J.M. & Breyer-Brandwijk, M.J. 1962. The medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa. Second edition. Edinburgh: E. & S. Livingstone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b J. F. Sobiecki (2008). "A review of plants used in divination in southern Africa and their psychoactive effects" (PDF). Southern African Humanities 20: 333–351. 
  2. ^ H. Wild: Caryophyllaceae in Flora Zambesiaca, Vol. 1, Pt 2, 1961: Silene undulata - Online