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Products > Sansevieria erythraeae
Sansevieria erythraeae - Pencil Sansevieria
Image of Sansevieria erythraeae
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Asparagaceae (~Liliaceae)
Origin: Ethiopia (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Synonyms: [Dracaena erythraeae, S. schweinfurthii]
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: >32° F
Sansevieria erythraeae (Pencil Sansevieria) - A stemless rhizomatous succulent 2 to 3 feet tall with open fan shaped rosettes of 6 to 8 upright round stiff cylindrically shaped green leaves with that taper to a sharp point at the tip and have narrow longitudinal channels that also create slightly raised ridges but otherwise are smooth to the touch. Flowering occurs in spring and early summer when plant is given ample light and warm temperatures with delicately scented flowers in a tight panicle on a 20 inch tall stalk. It is said that this plant is sometimes grown for its ability to purify the air with the scent of its flowers. Flowers are followed by attractive orange fruit.

Will tolerate low light levels but grows best and flowers if given bright light and even tolerates full sun. Hardy to 30-32° F. Water sparingly and not at all as temperatures dip in winter but can tolerate going months between watering. If growing outdoors in frost free areas keep in a covered patio or under an eave where plants do not receive winter rainfall. A great container plant that needs little care.

Sansevieria erythraeae comes from near rivers is semi-desert areas in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and the Sudan in northeastern Africa. 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 spellings "Sanseveria" and "Sanseviera" are also commonly seen. The specific epithet as described in 1918 by Giovanni Ettore Mattei (1865-1943) comes from the Ancient Greek Eruthrá as the name for Eritrea and the area around the Red Sea. The synonym, Sansevieria schweinfurthii, is often used for this plant and is in fact the name that we received it under.

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 erythraeae. 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. 

This information about Sansevieria erythraeae 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.