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Family name: Brassicaceae

Scientific name: Cadaba aphylla

Authority: (Thunb.) Wild

Synonyms: Cadaba juncea (Burch.) Harv., Cleome aphylla Thunb.

Zulu names: amangwamnyama, amangwe amnyama, amangwansundu

Other names: black storm, leafless worm bush (English), swartstorm (Afrikaans)

Short description: C. aphylla is a shrub that grows to 2 m in height. It is leafless or has reduced leaves, reddish flowers, and fruits that turn rusty brown when ripe, containing small black seeds. The shrub is resilient (can grow in dry habitants and is frost-tolerant) and occurs across various habitats in Southern Africa.


The Zulu name “amangwamnyama” is derived from the word “ingwe emnyama“, which means black leopard.

The plant gets the name amangwamnyama because the plant is used to protect against darkness and ill omen.

Related uses: The plant is charred and the black ashes are ground to powder to make insizi, a black powder medicine used for ukugcaba – scarification for the purpose of inoculation against sickness and evil spirits.

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