Sansevieria cylindrica (Skyline Spear Sansevieria) - A very striking succulent from Angola that produces from an underground rhizome open candelabrum shaped fans with dichotomously branched stout 1 ½ wide gray-green leaves to 2 to 5 feet long. The leaves are smooth with narrow groves running much of the length of the leaf which is lightly banded with dark green and terminate with a sharp point.
If grown in bright enough light this plant can produce a 3 foot spike-like raceme of pink-budded white flowers. This plant is a great house plant in bright light but can be grown in light shade or full sun if brought indoors during cool and wet weather. Plants grown with too little light will have leaves that splay outward and are not as stout. Plant in a well-drained mix and keep fairly dry, especially in winter months. This plant can go weeks between watering (3 week irrigation intervals are suggested); the one thing that usually kills a Sansevieria is overwatering.
Sansevieria cylindrica was originally described from material collected in Angola, but also grows in Zambia and Zimbabwe. 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 (1710–1771), prince of San Severo in Italy. The specific epithet is in reference to the cylindrical leaves. This plant raised quite a stir when a Dutch marketing group released large quantities of robust greenhouse grown plants on the US market in 2005 under the name "Skyline". This name was contrived for a standard form of Sansevieria cylindrica and was the result of a Dutch national newspaper contest and the name actually has no real validity. In 2004 the plant was proclaimed by FloraHolland to be the most promising novelty of the year and it received the winner of the 2006 FloraHolland Awards in the "most successful market introduction" for the category of indoor plants. There are claims that the "Skyline" form is more robust and paler than the typical Sansevieria cylindrica, but most speculate that this could be caused by greenhouse conditions and abundant fertilizer. As the name Skyline is not a valid cultviar name we have added it to the common name already used for this plant (Spear Sansevieria) to get Skyline Spear Sansevieria.
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 cylindrica, were it not for the existence of a plant already so named (now a synonym for Dracaena bicolor Hook.) so this plant would become the newly named Dracaena bicolor Hook.) Sansevieria cylindrica could not use its existing epithet and is now called Dracaena angolensis. 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.
Information about Sansevieria cylindrica displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.