Family • Agavaceae - Sansevieria trifasciata Prain - SNAKE PLANT - Qian sui lan

Scientific names

Sansevieria trifasciata Prain
Sansevieria guineensis auct.
Sansevieria zeylanica Prain

Common names

Tigre (Tag.)
Buntot-tigre (Tag..)
Mother-in-law’s tongue (Engl.)
Snake plant (Engl.)
Viper’s bowstring hemp (Engl.)
Qian sui lan (Chin.)

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.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Sansevieria trifasciata Prain / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(2) 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.

(3) List of Air-Filtering Plants / Wikipedia

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.

Study Findings
• 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.
• 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