How Did Snake Plant Get Its Name? Find Out Now!


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Have you ever wondered about ‘how did snake plant get its name?’ I’m here to guide you through its fascinating story. Often referred to scientifically as Dracaena trifasciata, this plant belongs to the Asparagaceae family. This hardy plant has made a name for itself as a popular indoor companion thanks to its striking, resilient nature.

How Did Snake Plant Get Its Name

Snake Plant Name

The snake plant, originating from tropical West Africa, gets its snake plant common name-like patterns on its elongated leaves. It’s also fondly called “viper’s bowstring hemp” because of its tough, hemp-like fibers. Despite its exotic looks, the snake plant is easy to care for, thriving in a variety of light conditions.

But that’s not all – this plant is not just a pretty face. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the snake plant holds a spot in traditional medicine and is celebrated for its air-purifying properties. Ready to learn more? Keep reading-

Key Takeaways

  • The snake plant received its common name due to the snake-like patterns on its elongated leaves. It has various other common names like “viper’s bowstring hemp” because of its strong fibers.
  • The scientific name of the snake plant has evolved over time, initially classified as Sansevieria but later reclassified as Dracaena. This change reflects ongoing research in botany.
  • The snake plant has different names in various languages and regions, such as “Saint George’s sword” in Portuguese and “tiger’s tail” in Japan, highlighting its widespread popularity and diverse cultural associations.

How did snake plant get its name?

The snake plant gets its name from snake-like leaves, and is also called bowstring hemp because people used to make bowstrings from it. Its scientific name is Dracaena trifasciata, which is a fancy way of saying it has groups of three leaves. “Dracaena” means dragon lady in old Greek because some of these plants have a red goo that was called dragon’s blood a long time ago.

If you want to keep one in your house, it’s easy. It only needs a little water or perfect light. But it doesn’t like wet feet, so don’t let it sit in the water. If it gets dusty, clean the leaves off. Watch out for little bugs like spider mites, and if you don’t have much light at home, it’s no big deal for this plant. If it’s pleased, it might even grow a flower. Make sure its pot has a hole at the bottom so water can get out, and it can grow to be as tall as you are! It’s a robust plant from the tropics that’s easy to care for inside your home.

What Is The Origin Of The Snake Plant’s Common Name?

Ever heard of the snake plant and thought, ‘Where does snake plant get its name?’ It’s a tropical plant from West Africa, and its family name is Asparagaceae. People love it for snake plant use.

Now, why call it the “snake plant”? Well, its leaves are snake-like, reminding some folks of vipers. Plus, it’s a tough plant; its fibers are used to make bowstrings! Some even believed it could counteract snake venom, earning it names like “rattlesnake master” and “mother-in-law’s tongue.”

Though it might look like a cactus, it’s succulent. It means it’s easy-going, handling low light and occasional water quite well. Plus, it’s a champ at cleaning the air and eliminating nasties like formaldehyde.

So, whether you’re into indoor plants for their looks or their health benefits, the snake plant, with its unique backstory and low maintenance, could be a perfect pick. 

How Did Snake Plants Get Their Scientific Name, Sansevieria?

Are you curious about where does the snake plant come from? This indoor plant has long, sharp leaves resembling a snake’s tongue. Originally part of the Asparagaceae snake plant family name, it has been reclassified to the Dracaena genus following recent studies.

Its former genus name, Sansevieria, is a tribute from Carl Peter Thunberg, a Swedish naturalist, to his mentor Raimondo di Sangro, the Prince of Sansevero. Raimondo was an Italian noble, a soldier, and an enthusiastic botanist backing Thunberg’s botanical adventures in Africa and Asia.

The current genus name, Dracaena, has Greek origins, translating to “female dragon.” It’s an intriguing reference to the red gum that some of its species exude, reminiscent of dragon’s blood. Several Dracaena species are colloquially known as dragon trees, thanks to their branching nature and woody stems.

Not only does the snake plant have a rich history and exciting naming backstory, but it’s also a hardy type of plant. It thrives in various light conditions, is drought tolerant, and can handle a bit of neglect. However, be mindful of root rot, which can occur due to excess water, and always ensure proper drainage in the soil mixes.

With its unique look and easy-care nature, the snake plant is more than just an attractive leafy green for your space; it has a story and personality. 

Have you ever thought, ‘What is the class of snake plant?’ People often call it Dracaena trifasciata common name, but there are other fun names for it too. You may have heard of a snake palnt being called mother-in-law’s tongue. It got that name because its leaves look like a snake, and just as a fun joke, they say it’s because mothers-in-law can sometimes be pretty straightforward, just like how sharp the plant’s leaves are!

Historical Stories Or Myths Related To The Snake Plant's Name

Is There Another Name For Snake Plant?  

Saint George’s sword. Legend has it that Saint George used his sword to defeat a dragon. And guess what? The snake plant’s leaves look like that sword!

And here’s a neat fact for you – it’s also called viper’s bowstring hemp. Why? Because in the past, people used the plant’s tough fibers to make bowstrings. Handy, right?

So, remember, whether you’re putting this hardy plant in bright light or a darker spot, be careful not to overwater it. You want it to stay out of root rot from soggy soil! It’s a fantastic indoor plant that doesn’t need a lot of fuss. Just give it some indirect sunlight, and it’ll thrive. If you spot spider mites on it, wipe them off with a damp cloth.

How Does The Snake Plant’s Appearance Relate To Its Name?

You’ve probably seen this plant with its sword-like leaves. They’re unique, like snake scales. That’s where it gets its name! There are many types of snake plants, but let’s talk about a few. First, there’s Dracaena trifasciata ‘Hahnii’. It’s got these dark green leaves with white stripes that look like they’re hugging each other. Then there’s Dracaena angolensis, long gray-green leaves, and Dracaena trifasciata‘ Laurentii’ – super popular with its zigzag patterns and yellow edges.

Oh, this one is like a snake plant imposter – Aechmea fasciata. It’s not an actual snake plant, but it sure looks like one with its silver and green leaves. Plus, it has these pretty pink and blue flowers!

If you ever decide to get one for your home, remember they love bright light but are okay with darker spots, too. Just be careful with the watering. You don’t want to drown it in excess water, leading to root rot. And if you see any little spider mites on them, use a damp cloth to wipe them off. Comparing ‘snake plant zeylanica’ and ‘black coral,’ zeylanica has lighter stripes, while black coral is darker and bolder.

Why Is The Snake Plant Also Known As Mother-In-Law’s Tongue?

The snake plant or, Dracaena trifasciata, has these sharp, pointy leaves. That’s why some folks even call it “mother-in-law’s tongue” – all in good fun, hinting that it’s as strong as a remark!

Why Is The Snake Plant Also Known As Mother-In-Law's Tongue

Its name, snake plant, doesn’t just come from thin air. The leaves? They look like snake scales. 

If you’re thinking of getting one, they’re fantastic indoor plants. They can handle bright light, but if you’ve got a darker spot, they’re okay with that, too. Just a tip: don’t overwater them, and watch for spider mites. If you spot them, give the leaves a wipe with a damp cloth. Snake plants are cool with either sun or shade, but they thrive best in indirect light.

Did Different Cultures Have Varied Names For The Snake Plant?

It’s not just the names that make it popular. This type of plant is a dream for those of us (like me) who might not have the greenest thumb. It’s a hardy plant, can stand both direct sunlight and the darker spots in your home, and isn’t too worried about water. Just watch out for excess water – no one likes soggy soil!

And, apart from looking stylish in your home, snake plants are known to purify the air, getting rid of some nasty toxins.

If you ever decide to adopt one, just a heads up – keep an eye out for those annoying spider mites. A quick wipe with a damp cloth should do the trick!

Who Was Responsible For Naming The Snake Plant?

First off, it’s a unique name! The snake plant has these striped leaves that look like a snake standing up. It’s not just about the looks, though; the word has a history. In 1794, a Swedish guy named Carl Thunberg named this type of plant. Raimondo di Sangro, the Prince of Sansevero, inspired him.

Who Was Responsible For Naming The Snake Plant

The snake plant you know today? It’s a product of some intelligent gardening. Its “parent” is Dracaena trifasciata, which originally comes from Africa, especially places like Nigeria and Congo.

Trifasciata” might sound fancy, but it means “three bundles.” It makes sense when you look at its leaves!

If you decide to keep one in your space, they’re easygoing. They can handle bright light or a bit of shade, and they’re open to water. Just remember, avoid overwatering – they hate soggy soil. And those spider mites? A swift wipe with a damp cloth will help.

How Has The Snake Plant’s Name Evolved Over Time And Across Different Regions?

Now, you might have heard it called a few names about snake plants! It’s got roots in tropical West Africa, but many folks across the globe keep it as a stylish indoor plant.

Its Scientific Name

Well, that’s been a topic of debate. Initially, a guy named Carl Linnaeus thought it was an Aloe. Later, David Prain switched it to Sansevieria. But recently, in 2017, some researchers named Margaret Mbabu and her team classified it under Dracaena. Science is constantly evolving.

The Fun Names

They’ve got stories. “Snake plant” is pretty straightforward – the leaves look like snakes. The “mother tongue”? Well, legend says it’s as sharp as her words (all in good fun, of course). “Saint Sword” comes from a story of Saint George fighting a dragon. And “viper’s bowstring hemp”? The plant’s tough fibers were used to craft bowstrings, perfect for hunting vipers.

If you ever get one, remember they’re easy to care for. They love bright light, but they’re open. Avoid giving them too much water, and watch out for spider mites. A quick clean with a damp cloth, and you’re good to go!

What Other Common Names Are Associated With The Snake Plant?

Did you know the snake plant goes by some odd names because of its pointy, patterned leaves?

Here Are A Few:

  • Mother tongue
  • Devil’s tongue
  • Bowstring hemp

What is the fancy name for it? That’s Dracaena trifasciata, but some folks might still call it Sansevieria trifasciata. There’s a whole variety of them – over seventy types, each looking a bit different.

This plant originally comes from tropical West Africa, and it’s got different local names depending on where you are. In Kenya, they call it ‘kirkii’ or ‘kiringi’. In Ghana, it’s known as ‘kwahu nsaba’. And in Tanzania, it goes by ‘sukari’.

Many folks love having snake plants in their homes because they’re straightforward to take care of. They don’t need much light, and you don’t have to water them all the time. Plus, they’re suitable for the air in your home, even at night!

Facts Related To The Snake Plant's Name

So, in short, the snake plant is a tough, tropical houseplant that’s easy to take care of and can make your home’s air cleaner. Please give it some indirect light, don’t overwater it, and watch out for root rot or spider mites. Wipe its leaves with a damp cloth once in a while, and it should be as happy as can be.

What Are The  Medicinal Uses Of Snake Plants?

Now, apart from being a hardy plant that can grow up to a few feet tall, the snake plant holds some fascinating snake plant medicinal uses. First off, it’s like a little air purifier for your home. It’s known to kick out indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and many other not-so-fun stuff. They can emit oxygen at night, which can improve the quality of sleep and reduce stress. So, not only does it bring a bit of the tropics into your home, but it also helps in keeping the air clean.

And get this, the sap from its leaves? Pretty useful. If you’ve got a wound, scrape, or graze, you can use the liquid to help heal. It’s also known to be effective against some annoying skin issues like ringworm, fungal infections, and scabies.

But, just a little heads up, you’ve got to be careful not to overwater this plant. Excess water can lead to soggy soil, and that’s a surefire way to get root rot. Ensure your pot has a drainage hole to avoid any water logging. And if you ever notice spider mites making a home on your plant, a quick wipe with a damp cloth should sort them out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Is The Best Name For A Snake Plant?

People commonly refer to the snake plant by various names, including “mother-in-law’s tongue,” “Saint Barbara’s sword,” or simply as the “snake plant.”

What Is Black Snake Plant?

The black snake plant, or Dracaena trifasciata, is a low-maintenance, elegant indoor plant. Its dark green, sword-shaped leaves with light markings thrive in various light settings. 

What Is A Snake Plant In Sanskrit?

The snake plant, known in Sanskrit as ‘sarpagandhā’ or ‘snake-scented,’ is a sturdy Dracaena trifasciata variety. It thrives indoors, handling different light conditions and requiring minimal water. 

Is Snake Plant A Herb?

Nope, a snake plant isn’t a herb. It’s a tough tropical plant related to aloe and agave. Snake plants, or Dracaena trifasciata, are hardy plants, drought tolerant, and do well in various light conditions, bright or not. 

Do All Varieties Of Snake Plants Have The Same Name?

Yes, all snake plants now belong to the Dracaena genus, with Dracaena trifasciata being the most common. Despite this change, their care remains simple. 

Can The Name “Snake Plant” Vary In Different Languages And Regions?

Yes, “snake plant” has various names worldwide, each reflecting unique characteristics. In the Dracaena genus, it encompasses numerous species and cultivars. Names like African spear plant, Bird’s nest, and Moonshine snake plant highlight its diverse leaf cuttings shapes, patterns, and origins. 


Alright! Let’s wrap up the topic! Now you know how did snake plant get its name and all snake plant description! Its scientific name is Dracaena trifasciata, but many call it the snake plant because of its snake-like leaves. Some even joke and call it the “mother tongue.” Originally from tropical West Africa, it’s more than a pretty indoor plant. Beyond its beauty, it’s known for purifying air and has a few medicinal uses too!

If you get one, give it indirect sunlight and be careful with water to avoid root rot. And if you ever spot little bugs called spider mites on it, provide the leaves with a gentle wipe with a damp cloth.

Raina Trick

Written by

Raina Trick

Meet Rayna Trick: Your Indoor Plant Whisperer! With her roots in environmental science and a passion for exotic succulents, she’s the Green Thumb of the Year. Rayna’s here to be your plant companion, sharing her expertise and nurturing your green oasis at PlantTrick. Let’s make your indoor space bloom, one leaf at a time, together!

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