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Products > Sansevieria parva
Sansevieria parva - Kenya Hyacinth
Image of Sansevieria parva
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Asparagaceae (~Liliaceae)
Origin: Kenya (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pinkish White
Bloomtime: Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Dracaena parva]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Sansevieria parva (Kenya Hyacinth) A relatively fine-textured and smaller Sansevieria species to 12 to 18 inches tall that spreads by orange rhizomes (underground stolons) with open erect rosettes on short stems that are composed of 6 to 12 narrow and slightly reflexing medium green thick leaves that are 8 to 16 inches long by 0.5 to 1 inch wide with dark green cross-bands and a long soft pointed tip. The leaves are at first folded at the middle in a V-shape and erect, then open out flatter to spread out in all directions. Though not flowering regularly, the small, pale pink flowers that are held on a short spike that rises just above the foliage are showy and pleasantly fragrant in the evening.

Plant in bright part day sun to deep shade in a well drained soil and irrigate very little to occasionally. This is the hardiest of the Sansevieria that we know of with plants in the ground having survived without damage our December 1990 temperatures that dropped down below 20 F and our 2007 January freeze with 3 nights in a row down to 25 F. We have had plants of this species growing outdoors for 40 years and while not as dramatically looking as some other Sansevieria, it makes a nice small container or hanging basket plant with rhizomes surfacing and holding rosettes that hang down over the edges. It can also be planted in the ground as a groundcover in dry shady or morning sun location and often spreads pretty widely with rhizomes often just near the soil surface or in leaf litter. Unlike many other Sansevieria, it does not rot out with our winter rainfall and cooler temperatures. Sansevieria parva is from Eastern Africa (Uganda and Kenya) and was described in 1915 by Kew botanist Nicholas Edward Brown from the type locality in the Rift Valley near the Gilgil River in Kenya. In his treatment of the genus in the Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons Len Newton noted that this species is very similar to Sansevieria dooneri, also described by Nicholas Edward Brown in 1915, from plants growing just 55 km away and that these two species might be conspecific.

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 (17101771), prince of San Severo in Italy. The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'parvus' meaning small in reference to the smaller size of this plant and its leaves. 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 parva. 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 was the first Sansevieria we ever had in our nursery collection. We received this plant in the late 1970s and had it planted out in decorative pots and in the ground in the nursery garden, but did not start growing it as a nursery crop until 2004. 

This information about Sansevieria parva displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.