Inst. Bot. 3: 643. 1787. (as Sanseverinia), name and orthography conserved

Common names: Bowstring hemp, devil’s-tongue
Etymology: for Raimond de Sangro, Prince of Sanseviero
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 415. Mentioned on page 19, 413, 414.

Herbs, perennial, erect, from thick rhizomes. Leaves basal, erect; blade often variegated and mottled, elongate, thick, flat or cylindrical, rigid. Inflorescences paniculate, racemose, or spicate. Flowers bisexual; tepals basally connate into tube, white, yellowish white, pale pink, or greenish white, tips narrow; ovary superior. Fruits baccate. Seeds 1–3. x = 9, 19, 20, 21, 33.


Introduced; Africa, Sri Lanka.


Species 60 (1 in the flora).

Many species of Sansevieria are used as house and greenhouse plants. Some besides S. hyacinthoides have reportedly escaped in southern Florida but I have seen no specimens.

Selected References