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Family Agavaceae
Sansevieria trifasciata Prain
Qian sui lan

Scientific names Common names
Sansevieria trifasciata Prain Tigre (Tag.)
Sansevieria guineensis auct. Buntot-tigre (Tag..)
Sansevieria zeylanica Prain Mother-in-law's tongue (Engl.)
  Snake plant (Engl.)
  Viper's bowstring hemp (Engl.)
  Qian sui lan (Chin.)
Tigre (Sanseviera trifasciata) is often confused with buntot-tigre (Sansevieria roxburghiana) . Some compilations list them as synonyms.

Other vernacular names
BRAZIL: Espada de sao jorge.
FRENCH: Langue de belle-mere.
INDONESIA: Lidah buaya, letah bayawak, lidah mertua.
SINHALESE: Maha-niyanda.
THAILAND: Waan hang suea, Waam chakhe, Lin naakkharaat.
VIETNAM: H[ood] v[ix], L[uw][owx]i c[oj]p s[oj]c.

Sanseviera trifasciata is an herbaceous, succulent, perennial plant, growing to a height of 90 centimeters. Leaves form a basal rosette, are flat, thick, leathery, sword-shaped, and variegated with grayish white transverse markings Flowers are whitish green, up to 5 centimeters long.

- Widely distributed in towns and cities throughout the Philippines.
- Introduced.
- Native to India.

- Mostly ornamental cultivation.

- Yields sapogenin.
- Phytochemical screening of water and ethanol extracts yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, glycosides terpenoids, tannins, proteins, and carbohydrates.

- Detoxifying, heat-clearing.
- Analgesic, antipyretic.

Parts used
Rhizomes, leaves.


- No recorded folkloric use in the Philippines.
- In China, decoction used for detoxification, as anti-inflammatory, and for treatment of sores and snake bites.
- Also used for boils, cough, bronchitis, traumatic injuries.
- In Sri Lanka, rhizomes used for coughs and colds; leaves used for snake bite.
• Bowstring hemp: Yields bowstring hemp, a strong plant fibers once used to make bowstrings.


Air-Purifying Plant: Sansevieria trifasciata is in NASA's list of air-purifying plants, improving indoor air quality by passively absorbing toxins (formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides, and other indoor toxins).
Analgesic / Antipyretic: Study of ethanol and water extracts of Sansevieria trifasciata leaves showed dose-dependent and significant (P<0.05) increase in pain threshold in the tail-immersion test. The water extract showed not significant effect on brewer's yeast-induced fever in rat; however the EtOH extract significant reversed yeast-induced pyrexia.(2)
Insecticide / Antipyretic: Study evaluated the efficacy of insecticides on the growth of string beans. Study showed that Sansevieria trifasciata insecticides are as effective as commercial ones.(3)


Last Update May 2013

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Sansevieria trifasciata Prain / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Analgesic and Antipyretic Effects of Sansevieria Trifasciata Leaves / Jeba Sunilson J Anbu, P Jayaraj, R Varatharajan, John Thomas, James Jisha, and M Muthappan / Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009; 6(4): 529–533.
The Effects of Sansevieria Insecticide on the Growth of String Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)
/ Solita Evangeline S. Bañez, Liza A. Castor / Iamure Multidisciplinary Research, Vol 1, No1, 2012
List of Air-Filtering Plants / Wikipedia

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