It has been proposed by Pei-Luen Lu1 & Clifford W. Morden( in Phylogenetic Relationships among Dracaenoid Genera (Asparagaceae: Nolinoideae) Inferred from Chloroplast DNA Loci, Systematic Botany (2014), 39(1): pp. 90-104, DOI 10.1600/036364414X678035), that the genus Sansevieria should be transferred to the genus Dracaena. This treatment has not yet been taken up universally and so, for the time being, we are leaving Sansevieria as distinct. The proposed new name in Dracaena can be seen below in the list of synonyms.
There is a lot of confusion between this species, Sansevieria roxburghiana from India and Sansevieria zeylanica from Sri Lanka[
]. It is most likely that they all have similar uses.
Dracaena aethiopica (Thunb.) Byng & Christenh.
Sansevieria caespitosa Dinter
Sansevieria glauca Haw.
Sansevieria scabrifolia Dinter
Sansevieria thunbergii Mattei
Sansevieria zeylanica non Willd.
Common Name: Bowstring Hemp
Cultivated flowering plant at Rawlings Conservatory
Photograph by: David Stang
Bowstring hemp 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 can spread to form colonies.
A good quality fibre is obtained from the leaves of wild plants, which are also used for local medicinal purposes.
South and east Africa - South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya.
Dry open places, bush-veldt or savannah, in well drained sandy or rocky soil
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Requires a very sunny position in a very well-drained sandy gritty loam[
] and a pH between 6 and 7[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
The rhizome is a source of water[
The leaves are bruised, then heated for a short time. They are then twisted by hand and the fluid thus obtained is dripped into the ear as a cure for ear problems[
A high quality fibre is obtained from the leaves. It is used for making sails and paper[
Division of suckers as growth commences in the spring.
Leaf-cuttings, 7cm long placed in sand in a frame[
]. The leaf is cut into sections, the cut surfaces allowed to dry for a few hours, and the sections then placed in pots in a warm light frame, but with shelter from direct sunlight. Rooting and new growth should take place within a month.
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