Dracaena Trifasciata AKA Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

Dracaena Trifasciata AKA Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

Dracaena Trifasciata is also known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, Sansevieria trifasciata, The Snake Plant, Golden Birds Nest, and The Good Luck Plant.

Sometimes, other plants are also called snake plants, but a special one called Dracaena trifasciata comes from West Africa. It has many names like the snake plant, Saint George’s sword, mother-in-law’s tongue, and viper’s bowstring hemp.

Dracaena Trifasciata Basic Requirements

The Dracaena Trifasciata is a type of West African plant and part of the Asparagaceae family. It has names like the snake plant, Saint George’s sword, mother-in-law’s tongue, and viper’s bowstring hemp. The previous name for Dracaena Trifasciata was Sansevieria trifasciata, it got changed later after 2017.

Dracaena Trifasciata Description

Dracaena trifasciata is a type of plant that grows forever and never dies. It spreads by making new roots underground, and the leaves grow straight up from the base of the plant.

The leaves are dark green with lighter green lines across them. They can be very tall, up to 2 meters, but usually, they are 70-90 centimeters long and 5-6 centimeters wide.

“Trifasciata” in its scientific name means “three bundles.”

The snake plant is special because it has a way of exchanging air and gases called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism.

PRO TIP: Choose the best soil for snake plants to grow them healthy.

This helps the plant survive without much water because the tiny holes on its leaves (called stomata) only open at night when it is cooler. This stops water from evaporating in the sun. In some places in Australia, it grows too much and is considered a weed.

This plant is a great choice for a houseplant because it doesn’t need much care. It doesn’t need a lot of water or sun, so it’s great for rooms or apartments that are a bit dark.

It is not easy to make this plant bloom outside of its natural home, but it is possible to create the same environment.

The snake plant flowers look greenish-white or cream-colored and have a sticky texture. Some of them smell good at night, and some don’t smell at all.

Life CyclePerennial
Dracaena Trifasciata Attributes

The Snake Plant Flower Colors White Green Flower
Blooming TimeWinters
Flower DescriptionWhite-greenish colored, small size, no smell, sticky
The Snake Plant Flower Description

Common names for Dracaena Trifasciata

Dracaena trifasciata is a plant that people often call “snake plant,” “Saint George’s sword,” or “mother-in-law’s tongue” because of the snake-like shape and sharp edges of its leaves.

It is also called “viper’s bowstring hemp” because its fibers were used to make bowstrings for hunting weapons in the past.

Uses & Cultivation

The plant Dracaena trifasciata is known for producing a strong plant fiber called bowstring hemp. In the past, this fiber was used to make bowstrings for hunting.

The Snake Plant is mostly used as a decorative plant, either outside in warmer weather or inside as a houseplant in cooler weather.

People like to keep it in their houses because it can survive even if it doesn’t get a lot of light and you don’t have to water it very often.

In the winter, you only need to water it once every two months. But be careful, if you water it too much it will get damaged and die.

That’s why it’s a great plant for people who are new to taking care of houseplants because it’s so easy to care for snake plant.

NASA did a study called the Clean Air Study, and they found out that the Snake Plant can help clean the air inside our homes by getting rid of 4 out of 5 harmful substances. But it takes too long to clean the air, so it’s not practical to use it in our homes.

Plants can grow from small pieces of them called cuttings or from dividing their root system. But if you grow a plant from a cutting, the special patterns on its leaves might not be there anymore.

D. trifasciata is a type of plant that some people think is a weed in Australia. Even though it is mostly used for decoration, it is grown in pots and gardens in warm areas and inside people’s homes in cooler areas.

This plant has a substance called saponins, which can make dogs and cats sick if they eat it. It can upset their tummy and cause digestive problems.

In South Africa, people also use this plant to help heal ear infections.

snake plant flower
Dracaena Trifasciata flower

Varieties and cultivars

People have picked out many different types of this plant because of how their leaves look. Some of them have yellow or white stripes around the edges of the leaves.

Some popular types are ‘Compacta,’ ‘Goldiana,’ ‘Hahnii,’ ‘Laurentii,’ ‘Silbersee,’ and ‘Silver Hahnii.’

‘Hahnii’ was found in 1939 by a man named William W. Smith, Jr. at the Crescent Nursery Company in New Orleans, Louisiana.

A man named Sylvan Frank Hahn in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, got a special right to grow this plant in 1941.

The type of D. trifasciata called ‘laurentii,’ as well as two other types called ‘Bantel’s Sensation’ and ‘Golden Hahni’ have received a special award called the “Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.” This means that many experts think they are really good plants to grow in gardens.

Cultural significance

In Africa, where this plant originally comes from, there is a special type with yellow tips that are connected to a goddess named Oya. She is the goddess of storms.

In Nigeria, people often connect this plant with a god named Ogun, who is the god of war. They use it in special ceremonies to get rid of bad luck.

In Brazil, this plant is called Espada de São Jorge and is connected to a saint named Saint George. Saint George and Ogun are the same gods in different cultures.

There is a picture called “American Gothic,” painted in 1930 by Grant Wood, and you can see this plant in the picture on the porch.

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue Overview

Dracaena trifasciata is a type of plant that stays green all year and is part of the Asparagaceae family. People called it Sansevieria trifasciata, and sometimes it is sold under that name.

The leaves of the plant can grow to be about 80-100 cm long and 5-7 cm wide. They are dark green and have light green stripes and patterns on them.

The snake plant is one of the strongest and most forgiving houseplants you can find. It’s very hard to kill and a great choice for someone who is new to gardening.

Its pretty leaves don’t droop or take up too much space, so it’s good for small places or for when you want something tall and upright.

People call the snake plant “Variegated Snake Plant” because of its patterned leaves and “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue” because the leaves are pointed.

The snake plant doesn’t need much attention and can handle not being watered a lot. It’s okay if you only give it a drink once a week; just make sure the soil dries out in between waterings. Sometimes, in the spring or summer, it will have small, greenish-white flowers with a nice smell that grow on short stems.


Problems Associated with Dracaena Trifasciata

There are two problems that the snake plant can have. Sometimes, Vine Weevils will attack its roots. Other times, it can get a disease called Soft Rot.

How Can I Propagate The Snake Plant

The following mention methods will help you, also you can read our detailed guide on how to propagate Snake Plants.

Making new plants from cuttings

You can make a new plant from a cutting during the summer by using bottom heat. The new plant won’t have the same colorful patterns if you cut a piece from a variegated snake plant.

Making new plants from the division

In the spring, you can split the snake plant into smaller plants by dividing it into clumps.

Removing extra shoots 

In the spring, if the snake plant grows shoots, you don’t want, you can remove them and plant them immediately in a new spot.

Features of the Dracaena Trifasciata

  • A snake plant is a special plant that you can keep inside your home.
  • It has pretty leaves and can handle not having water for a long time.
  • It usually grows in a pot.

Is Mothers-in-Law a Good Indoor Plant?

Taking care of a snake plant is very easy which makes this plant perfect for keeping inside your house or greenhouse. It doesn’t require a lot of attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Harmful for The Humans?

Poison severity with low toxicity is associated with symptoms such as vomiting (sometimes with blood), depression, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, excessive drooling, and dilated pupils in cats. (Source) The toxic principle responsible for these symptoms is saponins. It is important to note that this poison does not cause contact dermatitis.

Are Snake Plants Toxic to Cats?

Yes the snake plants are toxic to cats, dogs and horses.


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Manoj Datic

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