The Sansevieria genus consists of over 70 species which are all commonly classed as flowering plants – meaning they often produce seeds and live on land.
Famed for their diversity and usefulness, the plant was named by famed Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunburg after Italian Prince Raimondo di Sangro (1710-1771) who led an illustrious career as an inventor. Raimondo is credited with inventing a waterproof cape, a super-lightweight cannon, color fireworks, a hydraulic water-pumping device, and it is said he even attempted to create an eternal flame.
Similar to the Italian prince for which the plant owes its name, Sansevieria has a cultured and varied history:
- In most African countries, the leaves are used to produce fiber for things like rope and baskets.
- The sap can be used as an antiseptic.
- Sansevieria leaves are used to make bandages for first aid kits.
- Koreans use the plants as a welcome offering for businesses or events.
- They are renowned for their air purification qualities as they remove toxins such as formaldehyde and xylene from the atmosphere. They make very good bedroom plants too as they remove carbon dioxide and produce oxygen mostly at night times. For over 20 years, NASA has used the plants on their space shuttles.
- Some experts believe that having Sansevieria plants near children in school environments can reduce abrasive behavior.
- Sansevierias are commonly used house and office plants in feng shui.
Other common names for the plant include Snake’s plant, Snake’s Tongue, Devil’s Tongue or a more common domesticated name for the plant is Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. The sword-like leaves with their glossy finish is the most likely reason why the tongue is associated with Sansevieria.
How To Care For Sansevieria Indoors?
Perfect for beginner gardeners or as a first houseplant, Sansevieria plants are quite hardy and can sustain a large amount of sun, but they prefer bright light with a bit of sun. In terms of watering the plant, be wary of over-watering them and make sure the soil is well-drained and watered lightly. Allow soil to dry out in between watering. Sansevieria will tolerate low humidity very well. They will suffer if temperatures dip below 50ËšF. Because of their desert background, they prefer to be potted in sandier/drier soil too.
Interested in the history of other plants? Discover Dracaena: The Plant With The Heart of a Dragon.
Which Sansevieria use is your favorite? Share in the comments below.