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Origin and Habitat: Sansevieria pinguicula is only known from the Bura area of Kenya, Northern Frontier District Tana River region, near Garissa.
Altitude range: 50–250 metres above sea level.
Altitude range: Sansevieria pinguicula is a very stout plant found in one of the most arid areas in Kenya, and will thrive in a wide range of soils ranging from clay to nearly bare rock. This harsh habitats harbour a rich succulent flora comprising: Aeonium leucoblepharum, Cotyledon barbeyi, Crassula schimperi, Cynanchum viminale, Kalanchoe citrina, Huernia keniensi, just to cite a few of the more common
- Sansevieria pinguicula P.R.O.Bally
Sansevieria pinguicula P.R.O.Bally
Candollea 19: 145 (1964)
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Sansevieria pinguicula f. disticha (Pfennig ex A.Butler) L.E.Newton & Thiede
Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 87(1): 31. 2015 [2 Feb 2015]
- Sansevieria pinguicula f. disticha (Pfennig ex A.Butler) L.E.Newton & Thiede
- Sansevieria pinguicula subs. disticha Pfennig ex A.Butler
Sansevieria pinguicula subs. nana (Chahin.) L.E.Newton & Thiede
Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 87(1): 32. 2015 [2 Feb 2015]
- Sansevieria pinguicula subs. nana (Chahin.) L.E.Newton & Thiede
- Sansevieria pinguicula var. nana Chahin.
ENGLISH: Agave sansevieria, Walking sansevieria
Description: Sansevieria pinguicula, also known as the walking sansevieria, is a short-stemmed succulent herb 20-30 cm high, resembling a dwarf agave because of thick leaves with a pointed end. It is a slow-growing, choice species much prized by collectors for its peculiar growing habit. Unlike most sansevieria which grow from an underground rhizome, this species produces aerial stolons which terminate in new plantlets. These then produce stilt-like roots that extend downward to the ground, resulting in a plant that appears to be walking away from its parent. The species was described by Peter René Oscar Bally in 1943.
Derivation of specific name: The name is derived from the Latin “pinguis”, meaning "fat", attributed to the shape of the leaves.
Leaves: 5–7, thickly fleshy, uniformly blue-green, arranged in a rosette and lunate (moon shaped) in cross section, 12–30 cm long, 2.8-3.5 cm thick, tipped with a single horny, very sharp spine. Channel wide, concave-angular, from base to apex, with reddish-brown horny margins edged with tough, papery white cuticle. The underside of each leaf is convex, smooth when water is plentiful but develops 2–7 more or less well defined longitudinal grooves in drier conditions as the plant draws upon the water stored in its leaves, allowing it to survive in one of the most arid regions of Kenya. The surface is covered in a thick waxy cuticle, and contain the deepest stomata of any sansevieria species
Roots: Stilt-like roots are the distinguishing trait of S. pinguicula. Each rosette produces several of these roots, which can elevate the plant several centimetres off the ground and are covered in a thick brown cuticle. Fine roots are produced underground and are responsible for nutrient and moisture absorption. During the dry season, the fine roots will die, and the plant will enter dormancy. However, the thick succulent roots survive and the plant will resume growth once the wet season arrives and the roots regrow.
Flowers: Borne in clusters of 4-6 on a subterminal erect branched panicle 15–32 cm long, scape 5–6 mm diameter at the base, equalling or hardly exceeding the leaves, gradually tapering towards the apex, branched in the upper half. The flower bracts are small, brownish and bottle shaped with white anthers and stamens. Pedicel 1.5–2 mm long. The flower spike develops from the apical meristem and a rosette will no longer grow after blooming. However, the rosette will not die after flowering, and will instead produce many stolons bearing young plantlets.
Flower: Perianth tube cylindrical, 4–5 mm long with a slightly inflated base, lobes 3–4 mm long, 0.7–1 mm wide. Stamens equalling the perianth, filaments free from the base of the lobes, anthers 1.6–2 mm long. Style slightly exceeding the anthers.
Fruits: Fertilized flowers produce globular berries, however very few fruit mature to produce seed.
Taxonomy: The classification of Sansevieria pinguicula is controversial, according Leonard E. Newton & Joachim Thiede ( 2015) considering morphology and geographical distribution suggest that two recently described infraspecific taxa of Sansevieria pinguicula P.R.O. Bally were given inappropriate ranks. It is proposed that subspecies disticha, occurring together with the type in habitat and differing in only one character, should be reduced to the rank of form. It is proposed that variety nana, which occurs at some considerable distance from the type and differs in three characters, should be raised to the rank of subspecies.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Leonard E. Newton: Sansevieria. In: Eggli, U. (ed.) "Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons" 1-354. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York. 2001
2) Mbugua PK. “Sansevieria”. In: Geoffrey Mwachala & Paul Mbugua. 2007 "Dracaenaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa" 1-43. 2007
3) Chahinian, B. Juan "The Splendid Sansevieria: An Account of the Species". 2005
4) Stover, Hermine "The Sansevieria Book". 1983
5) Wikipedia contributors. "Sansevieria pinguicula." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 31 Oct. 2015. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.
6) Adrian Pawitra: "Sansevieria, 200 Jenis Spektakuler, 400 Foto". Trubus, Jawa Barat 2007,
7) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton: “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names.” Birkhäuser 2004
8) Al Laius “Sansevieria pinguicula” Plant of the Month December 2013 British Cactus & Succulent Society <http://www.bcss.org.uk/pom122013.php> . Web. 31 Jan. 2016.
9) Leonard E. Newton & Joachim Thiede “Rank Adjustments for the Infraspecific Taxa of Sansevieria pinguicula P.R.O.Bally (Asparagaceae/Dracaenaceae)” Cactus and Succulent Journal 87(1): 28-32. 2015
10) Bally PRO. 1964. “Miscellaneous notes on the flora of Tropical East Africa, including descriptions of new taxa”, 16–22. Candollea 19:145–166.
11) Beentje H. 2010. “The Kew Plant Glossary”. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
12) Butler A. 2012. “Sansevieria pinguicula ssp. disticha Pfennig ex Butler, a new subspecies from Kenya.” Sansevieria 28:17–18.
13) Chahinian BJ. 2005. “The Splendid Sansevieria”. Published by the author, Buenos Aires.
14) Chahinian BJ. 2013. “Sansevieria pinguicula var. nana A new variety from Kenya.” Sansevieria 30: 15–19.
15) Jankalski S. 2009. “The Sansevieria inflorescence and new sections proposed”. Sansevieria 19: 8–10.
16) Mbugua PK. 1995. “Systematic studies of the genus Sansevieria Petagna (Dracaenaceae Salisb.).” PhD. thesis, Reading University, School of Plant Sciences, Department of Botany.
17) Pfennig H. 1980. Sansevieria pinguicula Bally. Kakt. and. Sukk. 31(7): 206–207.
18) The Euphorbia Jurnal Strawberry Press, 1991
Cultivation and Propagation: Sansevieria pinguicula are easy to cultivate, but estremely slow growing and requires warm temperatures to grow. It is therefore difficult to find in cultivation. Sansevieria pinguicula can tolerate shade, heat and dry conditions and grows well in almost any collection. Will thrive on any soil, under any light intensity and with any amount of water. Can be wintered in a warm or cool environment with extremely rare watering. Sansevieria pinguicula is arguably the most attractive sansevieria due to its chunky leaves (though watch out for the stiff spine at the end), compact and appealing habit, and the fact that it is slow growing. They always do well at shows and are very rewarding to grow. Variegated specimens are highly prized but rarely arise, and are sold at high prices.
Soil: In cultivation, S. pinguicula, like most xerophytic plants, grows best in porous, well drained soil. Use a soil mix consisting of a combination of inorganic and organic ingredients. Gravel, perlite, vermiculite, and decomposed granite are commonly used to add weight and improve drainage, while bark chips and coconut coir or husks are used for moisture retention. Always underpot sansevierias.
Moisture requirements: The plants are very drought tolerant and are watered about every other week during the growing season. During the winter months they are watered once a month. Water sparingly and not at all as temperatures dip in winter but can tolerate going months between watering. Excessive watering will cause the fleshy roots to rot, so it is essential that the soil is allowed to dry sufficiently between waterings
Fertilization: They are fertilized once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer.
Light requirements: Will tolerate low light levels but grows best and flowers if given bright light and even tolerates full sun. Under low light conditions the leaves may become etiolated, evident through a darker green colouration of the leaves, which become longer and thinner than usual. In the garden In mild to tropical climates it prefers semishade or shade and it is not fussy.
Temperature requirements: Sansevieria pinguicula will die if temperatures drop below 7°C with wet soil. However, it can survive near freezing temperatures if the soil is dry - but it is best to avoid freezing temperatures. If growing outdoors in frost free areas keep in a covered patio or under an area where plants do not receive winter rainfall. The plant grows best in warm daytime temperatures from 25-35°C with cooler night temperatures from 10-20°C
Heat Tolerance: Excellent.
Propagation: Vegetative propagation by division or by leaf cutting is the preferred method. taken at any time. This can be done by removing and rooting the plantlets produced at the end of each stolon. Since the plantlets grow a rosette of leaves before beginning root growth, when rooting plantlets, it is very important that plantlet is not removed before it has developed stilt roots to a length of at least 3 cm. Once stilt roots have been grown to sufficient length, however, the stolon can be cut at any point and the new plant can be potted in slightly moist porous soil. Cuttings should be at least 10 cm long and inserted in moist sand. A new plantlet will emerge at the cut edge of the leaf.
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