Sansevieria trifasciata Prain

Sansevieria trifasciata Prain




Sansevieria guineensis auct., Sansevieria zeylanica auct. non (L.) Willd.

Vernacular Names


Lidah buaya.


African bowstring hemp, snake plant, mother-in-Iaw's tongue.


Lidah buaya (Malay), letah bayawak (Sundanese), lidah mertua.


Waan hang suea (general), waan chakhe (northern), lin naak­kharaat (Bangkok).


H[ood v[ix], l[uw][owx]i c[oj]p s[oj]c.


Chanvre d'Afrique.

Geographical Distributions

Sansevieria trifasciata is native to tropi­cal Africa and is widely grown as an ornament, e.g. in Indo-China, Indonesia (Java) and Malay­sia. It is cultivated as a fibre plant in tropical re­gions and has often escaped from cultivation. S. trifasciata is reported to be cultivated for its fibre in the Philippines.


Sansevieria trifasciata is sympodial rhizome, robust and yel­lowish-red.There are 2-6 leaves in each plant. They are much broader than thick, fleshy to rigidly coriaceous, dark green, with very conspicuous numerous, light or greyish-green, irregularly confined transverse bonds and nar­row dark green margin in the normal form.The large leaves are linear­ lance-shaped, measuring 40-175 cm x 2.5-9 cm, with channelled base, entire margins and acute at apex. The (peduncle included) raceme is 40-75 cm long and erect.

The flower ­fascicles are scattered or arranged group-wise. The pedi­cel is 6-8 mm long and articulates at about the mid­dle. The perianth is 2.5-3 cm long, greenish-white, scented and divided just below the middle. The lobes are narrowly linear and broaden towards the green­ish tip. The stamens are 7-8 mm long while the style is 15-18 mm long.

The fruit is spherical, measures 7-9 mm in diametre, orange and 1-2-seeded. The cream-brown seed is globular-ellipsoid and measures  6-7 mm x 5 mm.

Ecology / Cultivation

In Java, Sansevieria tri­fasciata is found up to 1000 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.17: Fibre plants.