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Useful Tropical Plants

Sansevieria trifasciata

Prain.

Asparagaceae

+ Synonyms

Sansevieria craigii auct.

Sansevieria jacquinii N.E.Br.

Sansevieria laurentii De Wild.

Sansevieria zeylanica laurentii (De Wild.) L.H.Bailey

Common Name: Mother-in-Law's Tongue

Sansevieria trifasciata
Cultivated plants
Photograph by: Peter A. Mansfeld
Creative Commons License
Sansevieria trifasciata Sansevieria trifasciata Sansevieria trifasciata Sansevieria trifasciata Sansevieria trifasciata Sansevieria trifasciata Sansevieria trifasciata

General Information

Mother-in-Law's tongue is an evergreen, succulent, perennial plant producing long, narrow, erect or slightly spreading sword-shaped leaves up to 75cm long from a rhizomatous rootstock.
The plant is cultivated for its fibre in several tropical countries, it is also harvested from the wild for local medicinal use. It is commonly grown as an ornamental in tropical and subtropical regions, and as a pot plant in many other areas of the world[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].

Known Hazards

The plant contains glycosides and saponins and is very toxic[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
].
Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References


Range

Western Tropical Africa - Nigeria to Gabon, east to Zaire..

Habitat

Not known

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height0.75 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny or partially shaded position[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
], and a pH between 6 and 7[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Bright sunlight can lead to bleaching of leaf colour[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The plant is used to treat ringworm and fungal diseases[
311
Title
Medicinal Plants in the South Pacific
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
WHO Regional Publications, Manilla.
Year
1998
ISBN
92-9061-118-9
Description
Excellent guide to 102 medicinal herbs of the Pacific Islands, with photographs of each plant and details of their constituents, biological activities and traditional uses. A description of each plant, together with habitat and distribution is given.
].
The leaf sap is applied directly on infected sores, cuts and grazes, it is also used to treat fungal and scabies infections[
481
Title
Medicinal Plants in Papua New Guinea
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
2009
ISBN
978-92-9061-249-0
Description
Traditional medicinal uses of 126 species from Papua New Guinea, including information on any modern research into the plants.
].

Other Uses

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used to make string, mats etc[
302
Title
Tropical Ornamentals; A Guide
Publication
 
Author
Whistler. W. Arthur.
Publisher
Timber Press Inc. Oregon.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-88192-448-2
Description
An excellent little guide to some of the more commonly cultivated ornamental plants of the Tropics, often giving some information on the plants other uses.
].

The leaf pulp is used for cosmetics[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Division.

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