Cadaba aphylla (SA Tree No. 129) is called desert broom, firstly because it lives well in extreme or semi-desert climate conditions of drought, frost or heat and secondly because the absence of leaves brings a resemblance to another plant, Cytisus scoparius or common broom, a leafless plant of the arid, southern European region. Broom has yellow flowers and is a serious invader in North America, Australia, New Zealand and maybe elsewhere.
The Afrikaans names of swartstorm (black storm) and bobbejaanarm (baboon arm) are interesting, giving leeway to speculation as to their origins. Maybe the dark appearance of the stems and the shape of old branches have something to do with it. The botanical name is also of interest as it is tautological: both cadaba (Greek) and aphylla (Greek and Latin origins), both mean leafless. It is also sometimes called leafless wormbush.
The plant can be grown from seed and is a good choice for gardens where temperature extremes, no shade and water scarcity provide challenges. More gardeners (and nurseries) should be taking note of the merits of this plant (www.plantzafrica.com).