Silene undulata
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Silene
S. undulata
Binomial name
Silene undulata
  • Silene capensis Otth
  • Melandrium undulatum (Ait.) Rohrb.
Silene undulata in a small pot

Silene undulata (Xhosa: iindlela 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][3]


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.


Silene 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 traditional healers, classifying it a naturally occurring oneirogen similar to the more well-known dream herb Calea zacatechichi.[1][3]

See also



  1. ^ a b J. F. Sobiecki (2008). "A review of plants used in divination in southern Africa and their psychoactive effects". Southern African Humanities. 20: 333–351. S2CID 37305695.
  2. ^ H. Wild: Caryophyllaceae in Flora Zambesiaca, Vol. 1, Pt 2, 1961: Silene undulata - Online
  3. ^ a b Sanz, Camila; Zamberlan, Federico; Erowid, Earth; Erowid, Fire; Tagliazucchi, Enzo (2018). "The Experience Elicited by Hallucinogens Presents the Highest Similarity to Dreaming within a Large Database of Psychoactive Substance Reports". Frontiers in Neuroscience. 12: 7. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00007. ISSN 1662-453X. PMC 5786560. PMID 29403350.

Further reading

Data related to Silene undulata at Wikispecies