Sansevieria hyacinthoides spreads into large colonies in grassland, among trees and shrubs by way of the branching of its vigorous underground rhizomes. The habitat is in summer rainfall area sandy soil, often among granite hills and outcrops. The common name, mother-in-law’s tongue, is earned by the hard texture and sharp edges of the erect leaves. The leaves reach a height of around 45 cm. The flower stalk is densely covered in fragrant flowers. The plant varies across its large habitat.
The plant grows easily from a separated piece of rhizome with a few leaves on it. Sun or shade does not matter, but low watering is important. Container planting is popular, especially bearing in mind the plant’s capacity for air cleansing and oxygen production at night.
The plant has a range of medicinal uses, including the treatment of earache, varicose veins and haemorrhoids. The spectacled weaver has been noted to take strips off the leaves for nest building (Onderstall, 1984; Roberts, 1990).
(Also see the entry in the Bulbs Album.)