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Products > Sansevieria masoniana
Sansevieria masoniana - Mason's Congo
Image of Sansevieria masoniana
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Asparagaceae (~Liliaceae)
Origin: Africa, Central (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Dracaena 'Mason's Congo', S. 'Whale Fin', Hort.]
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Sansevieria masoniana (Mason's Congo Snake Plant) - This semi-succulent plant has wonderful 3 to 4+ feet long, 8-10 inches wide, dark green leaves with smudged, light green spots and an unique, purple-banded sheath (often below soil level). On occasion, if grown in bright light, this plant forms a stalk of white flower clusters arising from the center of the plant.

Excellent as a large houseplant, tolerating low light levels and infrequent irrigation Hardy to at least 30 F if kept dry or in a very well-drained soil. The wide, stiff, waxy, mottled leaves will grow quite large if given the room; there are reports of it getting to 6 feet tall though we have yet to see it quite this big - usually seen at 3 to 4 feet in height and younger nursery plants that are regularly divided often remain around 2 feet and not vertically inclined for several years before new taller leaves emerge.

Sansevieria masoniana was collected in what was called the Belgian Congo (then Zaire and now Democratic Republic of the Congo) by Maurice Mason, a renowned plant collector from of Norfolk, England. It was originally introduced into the trades in the 1990s as Sansevieria 'Mason's Congo' but was described in 2000 by Juan Chahinian as the species Sansevieria masoniana in the Cactus and Succulent Society of America Journal (Volume 72(1). It is closely related to Sansevieria grandiss, another species with wide leaves that does not grow nearly as tall.

The name for the genus was originally Sanseverinia as named by the Italian botanist Vincenzo Petagna in honor of his patron, Pietro Antonio Sanseverino, the Count of Chiaromonte (1724-1771), but the name was altered for unknown reasons by the Swedish naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg, possibly influenced by the name of Raimondo di Sangro (17101771), prince of San Severo in Italy. The specific epithet honors Maurice Mason. Long placed in the Agavaceae, the Dracaenaceae and by some in the Ruscaceae families, Sansevieria was most recently placed in the subfamily Nolinoideae within the Asparagaceae family. Molecular phylogenetic studies have persuaded some to include Sansevieria in the genus Dracaena, which would make this plants name Dracaena masoniana. Because of considerable disagreement over this change, the long standing use of its old name, and so not to cause our own and customer confusion, we continue to list this plant as a Sansevieria. In recent years some have begun calling this plant the Shark Fin Plant, Whale Fin, Shark Fin Snake Plant and even incorrectly listing it as a cultivar called 'Shark Fin', but all of these are marketing gimmick names for Sansevieria masoniana and some plants sold under these common names actually appear to be forms of Sansevieria grandis. 

This information about Sansevieria masoniana displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.