The African Xhosa Dream Root (Silene capensis) is a low-growing herbaceous perennial 1 to 2 feet tall, native to the cape of South Africa. The softly spreading leafy rosette produces multiple stalks crowned by the pure white flower. Unlike other members of the Silene genus, the calyx is elongated and not particularly inflated.
The white flowers of dream root open only at night, making this an excellent addition to moon gardens. The Xhosa people of South Africa use this plant to stimulate dreaming, induce shamanic trances, and healing. Traditionally the Xhosa will prepare this by powdering the roots and drink the powder with water on an empty stomach. This concoction is said to induce vivid dreams and a divinatory state where ancestral communication is possible.
Cultivation: The plant prefers full sun and fast-draining soil but is not particularly picky and can be grown as a trouble-free mounding plant in most gardens. Sow the seed directly in the garden in the spring or sow anytime in the greenhouse. Barely cover the seed with soil, tamp firmly and keep evenly moist and warm until germination, which takes 1 to 2 weeks. Thin or transplant to 1 foot apart. The plant is easy to grow; it spreads healthily but not invasively, producing many beautiful flowers that smell excellently of jasmine and clove.
Packet of 30 organic African Xhosa Dream Root (Papaver somniferum var. album) seeds.