Mother in Law's Tongue

I was on a walk around the island, and I came upon a patch of scrub. The area was overgrown with a rough plant. As I looked closer, I immediately recognized the plant. It is a houseplant up north. Here it is a weed that grows wild. If I potted the area, I would have a fortune in houseplants. The plant is an ornamental called Mother in Law's tongue, because it is pointed and sharp. The scientific name is Sansevieria trifasciata.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the plant:

Sansevieria trifasciata is a species of Sansevieria, native to tropical west Africa from Nigeria east to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is an evergreen herbaceous perennial plant forming dense stands, spreading by way of its creeping rhizome, which is sometimes above ground, sometimes underground. Its stiff leaves grow vertically from a basal rosette. Mature leaves are dark green with light gray-green cross-banding and usually range between 70–90 cm in length and 5–6 cm in width.

It is commonly called the snake plant (not to be confused with the very similarly named "Snakeplant", Nassauvia serpens), because of the shape of its leaves, or mother-in-law's tongue because of their sharpness. In Japan it is also called 'Tiger's Tail,(とらのお)'. In Brazil it is commonly known as espada-de-são-jorge (sword-of-saint-george). Due to its bladelike shape, it is commonly associated with Ogun, the orisha of war (usually associated with Saint George), and is used in rituals to remove the evil eye. A yellow-tipped variant is known as espada-de-santa-barbara (sword-of-saint-barbara), and is associated with Iansan/Oya, the female orisha of storms (usually associated with the sword-bearing image of Saint Barbara). In Africa the plant is used as a protective charm against evil or bewitchment.


Like some other members of its genus, S. trifasciata yields bowstring hemp, a strong plant fiber once used to make bowstrings.

It is now used predominantly as an ornamental plant, outdoors in warmer climates, and indoors as a houseplant in cooler climates. It is popular as a houseplant as it is tolerant of low light levels and irregular watering; during winter it needs only one watering every couple of months. It will rot easily if overwatered. It improves indoor air quality by removing toxins such as nitrogen oxide and formaldehyde.

It sounds like a good plant to have around the house. Send me some cash and I will send you a hunk of this plant.


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