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This species is accepted, and its native range is Central African Republic to SW. Ethiopia.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Dracenaceae, Geoffrey Mwachala & Paul Mbugua, Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2007

Morphology General Habit
Acaulescent, rosulate herb; subterranean rhizomes greyish brown, 1.2 cm thick
Morphology Leaves
Leaves 2–3, sword-shaped, (50–)100–120(–130) × 2.5–3.2(–5.5) cm, 0.1 cm thick, above the base 0.4 cm thick, with a long channel, flexible but tough, fairly flat, smooth, the sides of the central part quite parallel for 30 cm or more, narrowing at the apical part into a soft green subulate tip 0.3–0.5 cm long, margin greyish green; whole leaf conspicuously marked with very many closely placed irregular zigzag transverse narrow bars of dark green and pale green, but most of the markings disappear with age and on herbarium material; petiole 30–40(–60) cm long; scaly basal leaves 4–5, 2.5–18 cm long, acute, subulate tip 0.6–3.5 cm long, membranous, greyish white, parallel veined visible on both surfaces, ensheathing the peduncle
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a lax raceme with irregularly scattered flower-clusters, 37–45 cm long, 0.4–0.5 cm across; flowers 2–9 per cluster, 6–9 at lower nodes, 2–3 at upper nodes; lower inflorescence bracts ± 5, ovate-lanceolate, 0.1–7.5 cm long, clasping the lower portion, the apex tapering into a long subulate point 0.4–1 cm long or acute; bracteoles lanceolate, scarious, the lower longer than pedicels, the upper shorter; pedicels (0.4–)0.5–0.6(–1) cm long, articulated above the middle
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Perianth
Perianth whitish green, 2.1–2.5 cm long, tube 0.9–1 cm long, lobes 1.2–1.5 cm long; style whitish grey, 2.4–2.9 cm long, exserted
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a yellowish berry, 0.7–0.9 cm wide, 1–2-seeded.
Central African Republic, Sudan, Ethiopia
Open woodland; 1200–1400 m
Least concern
This is a species easily confused with {i}S. trifasciata{/i}, since it also has a green margin and the leaf sizes are similar. Distinguishing characters, however, include the leaves being generally narrower, light brownish green, almost glossy on live material with parallel veins and growth marks visible, and very faded or no bands; the inflorescence and the pedicels are shorter and not recurved. The variety {i}S. nilotica {/i}var. {i}obscura {/i}N.E.Br. can not be recognised as a separate taxon using the characters stated in the protologue and observed on the type specimen. It is probable that the more glossy appearance and larger size of live material could be attributed to a great extent to environmental factors.

No data

Native to:

Central African Repu, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda

Introduced into:


Dracaena nilotica (Baker) Byng & Christenh. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Dec 27, 1988 Greenway, P.J. [4931], Tanzania Sansevieria nilotica K000203829
Jan 1, 1982 Friis, I. [1232], Sudan Sansevieria nilotica K000203283
Petherick [s.n.], Kenya Sansevieria nilotica K000255753 Unknown type material
Schweinfurth, G. [3834], Sudan Sansevieria nilotica K000255754 syntype
Schweinfurth, G. [3834], Sudan Sansevieria nilotica K000255755 syntype
Scott Elliot [s.n.] Sansevieria nilotica K000203830
Friis, I. [1902], Ethiopia Sansevieria nilotica K000203285
Kuowles, A. [45], Sudan Sansevieria nilotica K000203281
Scott Elliot [s.n.] Sansevieria nilotica K000203831
Jackson, J.K. [1164], Sudan Sansevieria nilotica K000203282
Meyer, F.G. [9012], Ethiopia Sansevieria nilotica K000203284

First published in Global Fl. 4: 66 (2018)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. Scientific Data 8: 215.


Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Edwards, S., Demissew, S. & Hedberg, I. (eds.) (1997). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 6: 1-586. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.
  • Eggli, U. (ed.) (2001). Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons: 1-354. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.
  • Kobayashi, S. & Ono, M. (1987). A Revised List of Vascular Plants Indigenous and Introduced to the Bonin (Ogasawara) and the Volcano (Kazan) Islands Ogasawara Research 13: 1-55.

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.