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Sansevieria roxburghiana - Schult. & Schult.f.

Common Name Indian Bowstring Hemp, Bowstring Hemp
Family Asparagaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Occasionally found on dry forested slopes, gravelly soil and rock crevices, less in the plains. Foothills upto 1000m. Coromandel coast.
Range E. Asia - southern and eastern India.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Sansevieria roxburghiana Indian Bowstring Hemp, Bowstring Hemp

Sansevieria roxburghiana Indian Bowstring Hemp, Bowstring Hemp
Wikimedia.org - Peter A. Mansfeld


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Physical Characteristics

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Sansevieria roxburghiana is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Acyntha roxburghiana (Schult. & Schult.f.) Kuntze Cordyline roxburghiana (Schult. & Schult.f.) Merr. Sansevieria zeylanica Roxb.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

It has various traditional uses and recently various pharmacological uses are pursuing. Traditionally it is used as a cardiotonic, expectorant, febrifuge, purgative, tonic in glandular enlargement and rheumatism etc. The plant is known to possess antitumor, antibacterial, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer, antioxidant and analgesic activity. It contains carbohydrates, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, carotenoids gallic acid, palmitic acid, caft aric acid, isorahmnitin-3-O-ß-D glucopyranoside, buphanidine, diethyl ph thalate, 6-methyl-1-octanol, 3,3-dimethylhexanal, proteins, and phytosterols. It also contains a rare homoisoflavonoid Cambodianol.

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

A good quality fibre is obtained from the leaves[454 ]. The fibre is pliant, soft, and silky[454 ]. The natural elasticity of the fibre makes it suitable for making bowstrings[454 ]. The fibre is used for the preparation of cordage and matting in the regions where it occurs, and is much valued in Europe for ropes used in deep-sea dredging[454 ]. It has been used for making paper, but is too expensive a fibre for this use[454 ]. The fibre is usually prepared by taking the fresh leaves and placing one of them on a smooth board which is raised at one end. The lower end of the leaf is then pressed down by the toe of the workman, who squats on the plank, and with a blunt knife, or piece of iron plate scrapes upward along the surface of the leaf and thus deprives it of its fleshy pulp by successive scrapings, turning the leaf over and over, as may be necessary. When the pulp is thoroughly removed, the fibre is washed for three or four minutes, and dried in the shade[454 ]. Washing in brackish or salt water, or continuous soaking in water is said to destroy the glossy white appearance of this fibre[454 ]. Industrial Crop: Fiber.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Hay  Minor Global Crop

Subtropical to tropical climate in semi-arid to humid locations. Requires a sunny position in a well-drained soil[200 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7[200 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[200 ]. The plant can spread freely at the roots.

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Management: Hay  Cut to the ground and harvested annually. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - Division of the rootstock. Leaf cuttings. Cut the leaf into sections about 5cm long, place in a 2:1 mix of sand and peat in a propagating case with a bottom heat of 18°c[200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Common name: Indian Bowstring Hemp, Bowstring Hemp • Hindi: Marul, Murahri, Murva • Kannada: Heggurutike • Malayalam: Hatukapel • Marathi: Murhari • Sanskrit: Muruva • Tamil: Marul-kalang • Telugu: Ishaura-koda-udr

Occurring in the Eastern coastal region of India, also found in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bangladesh, tropical Africa and Myanmar. In Bangladesh, Sansevieria roxburghiana are wildly distributed in Gazipur, Savar and Tangail.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Sansevieria hyacinthoidesAfrican Bowstring HempPerennial0.5 10-12 FLMSNDM023
Sansevieria trifasciataMother-in-Law's Tongue, Snake plantPerennial0.8 10-12 MLMHSNDM023
Sansevieria zeylanica Bowstring hempPerennial0.6 9-11 MLMHNDM024

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Schult. & Schult.f.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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