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Family name: Zamiaceae

Scientific name: Encephalartos species

Species: Encephalartos natalensis, Encephalartos villosus

Zulu names: isigqiki semfene, isigqikisomkhovu, umguza, umhlungulo

Short description: Encephalartos species are a group of species that belong to the encephalartos. They are known as cycads. In South Africa, all cycads are protected by national and provincial laws and a permit is require for owning the plant.


The Zulu name “isigqikisemfene” means “the chair for imfene (a wild baboon that has been domesticated using witchcraft for the purpose of witchcraft)“.

The plant gets the name isigqikisemfene because the plant is used as a “timeout chair” for imfene, to keep it from entering the home.

Related uses: The tree is cultivated as a protective charm to ward off evil (imfene). It is used as to treat sharp internal body pains.

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