Family • Agavaceae - Cordyline roxburghiana (Schult. & Schult.f.) Merr. - DEVIL'S TONGUE

Scientific names

Sansevieria roxburghiana (Schult. & Schult.f.) Merr.
Sansevieria zeylanica Roxb.
Cordyline hyacinthoides E. F. Wight
Cordyline roxburghiana (Schultes) Merr.a

Other vernacular names

BANGLADESH: Lankh hi pang.
SANSKRIT: Murva, Devi, Madhurasa, Devashreni, Singdhapami, Muruva, Morati, Piluparnika.

Common names

Aspi-aspi (Pamp.) Rabo de tigre (Span.)
Baniat (Is.) Sigre (Is.)
Buntot-palos (Tag.) Sunaua (Tag.)
Buntot-tigre (Tag.) Tigi (Ibn.)
Diladila (Ilk.) Tigre (Span., Tag.)
Kakarohai (Ibn.) Bowstring hemp (Engl.)
Pakarohai (Ibn.) Devil’s tongue (Engl.)
Rago de leon (Span.) Indian bowstring hemp (Engl.)

Buntot-tigre is a herbaceous perennial with short stem and a rootstock that is very stout, branching and stoliniferous. Leaves are erect, fleshy, fibrous and flat ( in other varieties cylindrical or concave above, rounded dorsally), sub-erect, dagger-shaped, rigid, pale-green with transverse bands of dark green, or dark-green with gray mottles, 0.4 to 1.5 meters long, 4 to 7 centimeters wide. Scape is erect, 30 to 80 centimeters long. Flowers are pale-colored, numerous, in fascicles of 3 to 6, sweet-scented, 2.5 to 3 centimeters long, with the perianth segments nearly twice as long as the tube. Fruit is sparingly produced, globose, about 8 millimeters in diameter. Seeds are broadly ovoid and white, with horny albumen.


Buntot-tigre (Sansevieria roxburghiana) is often confused with Tigre (Sanseviera trifasciata). Some compilations list them as synonyms.

– Cultivated in many parts of the Philippines.
– Naturalized, occurring in thickets and hedges at low and medium altitudes.
– Native of tropical Asia, now pantropic in cultivation.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Ethnoveterinary medicine for treating livestock in eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh / K N Reddy et al / Indian Journ of Traditional Knowledge • Vol 5(3), July 2006, pp 368-372.

(2) Medicinal Plants / P P Joy et al / KERALA AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY • Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station, 2008

(3) Antitumor activity of Sansevieria roxburghiana rhizome against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma in mice / Pallab Kanti Haldar, Biswakanth Kar, Asis Bala et al / Pharmaceutical Biology, December 2010, Vol. 48, No. 12 , Pages 1337-1343 / (doi:10.3109/13880201003792592)


(5) Sansevieria roxburghiana Schult. & Schult.f. is an accepted name / The Plant List

(6) Phytochemical Screening and Antimicrobial Activity of Sansevieria roxburghiana Schult. and Schult. F. / Deepa Philip, P.K. Kaleena, K. Valivittan and C.P. Girish Kumar / Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 10 (4): 512-518, 2011

(7) Biological characterisation of the rhizome of Sansevieria roxburghiana Schult. & Schult. f. (Agavaceae) /
Poonam Sethi / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. Vol. 7(17), pp. 1201-1203, 3 May, 2013 DOI: 10.5897/JMPR11.1649

(8) Evaluation of analgesic, cytotoxic and antioxidant activities of Sansevieria roxburghiana Schult. and Schult. f. / Jimuty Roy, Mohammad Kuddus, Bilkis Begum1, Choudhury Hasan* / Asian Paicfic Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012) S723-S726 / doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60303-7

(9) Medicinal plants using traditional healers and Malayali tribes in Jawadhu hills of Eastern ghats, Tamil Nadu, India / Salai Senthilkumar M. S., D. Vaidyanathan, N. Sisubalan and M. Ghouse Basha* / Advances in Applied Science Research, 2014, 5(2):292-304

(10) Ethnomedicinal applications of plants by the traditional healers of the Marma tribe of Naikhongchhari, Bandarban district, Bangladesh. / The Free Library

– Contains an active constituent: the alkaloid sansevierine.
– Phytochemical screening of leaves and rhizomes yielded carbohydrates, saponin, flavonoids, phenols, alkaloid, anthocyanin and ß-cyanin, glycosides, proteins, and phytosterols.


– Emollient, purgative, tonic, febrifuge.
– Studies suggest antibacterial, antitumor, antidiabetic, antioxidant, cytotoxic properties.

Parts used
Leaves, shoots, rootstocks.

– The roasted leaves used as an emollient.
– In India, rootstocks used for cough.
– Juice of tender shoots used in children to clear their throats of phlegm.
– In India, tender roots and rhizome used as expectorant. Also used as febrifuge, tonic, purgative, and for bone setting.
– In India, stem part of rhizome used for toothache. Rhizomes used for consumptive complaints, cough, common cold, and ear pain. (10) Leaves used to treat pimples and skin diseases.
– In Bangladesh, juice from young leaves applied topically to ear infections.
– In viral diseases associated with stringy nasal discharge, slightly warmed leaf juice is used as nasal drops, thrice in two hours. A paste is also applied over the body.
– In India, stem part of rhizome used to heal wounds in animals.


– Fiber: The leaves are a source of a strong white fiber use in the manufacture of bowstring, twine, cloth, and paper. It is sometimes mixed with the local piña.

Study Findings
• Anticancer: Study of the methanol extract of Sansevieria roxburghiana in male Swiss albino mice transplanted with Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma cell line showed significant dose-dependent anticancer activity.
• Anticancer / Rhizome: Study of hydroalcoholic extract of SR for antitumor activity against EA carcinoma exhibited remarkable antitumor activity attributed to its augmentation of endogenous antioxidant mechanisms.
• Antidiabetic / Antioxidant Modulation: Study of hydroalcoholic extract of SR rhizome in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats demonstrated remarkable antidiabetic activity possibly through its modulation of endogenous antioxidant status.
• Antimicrobial / Leaves and Rhizome: Study evaluated various solvent and aqueous extracts of leaves and rhizomes of S. roxburghiana against clinically significant bacterial and fungal strains. Methanol and acetone extracts of leaves and ethyl acetate extract of rhizomes showed significant antimicrobial activity against Gram negative and positive bacteria and fungal strains. The leaf extract showed better antimicrobial activity than rhizomes.
• Antibacterial / Rhizome: Study of ethanolic extracts of rhizome of S. roxburghiana showed antibacterial against gram negative bacteria such as Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas fluorescens, P. aeruginosa, and E. coli.
• Analgesic / Cytotoxic / Antioxidant : Study of evaluated crude methanolic extract of whole plant of S. roxburghiana for analgesic, cytotoxic, and antioxidant activities. Results showed analgesic activity by acetic acid induced writhing test in mice, cytotoxic activity by brine shrimp lethality bioassay, and antioxidant effect by DPPH free radical scavenging assay.

Cultivated and wild-crafted.