Xhosa Dream Herb -- Silene capensis

Xhosa Dream Herb -- Silene capensis

Pans Garden Nursery
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Xhosa Dream Herb is an oneirogenic (“dream-producing”) wildflower native to the eastern cape of South Africa, where the roots have been used since antiquity by the Xhosa people. It is considered by the Xhosa to be a sacred plant, and a froth made from the roots is consumed in their shamanic activities to stimulate lucid and prophetic dreams.

Like other species in the Silene genus, which are known as “catchfly” plants, the stems of Xhosa Herb are slightly sticky. This is thought to be an adaptation to trap small insects that might otherwise eat the plant. Dream Herb produces quarter-sized white flowers with notched petals, which (in keeping with the herb’s dream-related reputation) bloom at night, and have a fragrance which has been described as a heady combination of clove and jasmine.

If given enough water, Dream herb can grow in very hot temperatures.

Growth Form/Defining Characteristics: 1-2’ tall bush, thin and slightly sticky stems, white flowers

Light: part shade-full sun

Water: generous water until established

Soil: loam, potting soil

Hardiness: USDA Zone 7-12 

Type: Biennial or short-lived perennial