Sansevieria Zeylanica vs Trifasciata: 7 Main Differences

Houseplants are different in their shapes, sizes, and growth styles. If you want something different, you should pick a few Sansevierias. Plants like Sansevieria Zeylanica and Trifasciata are extra cute and have become increasingly popular. Their evergreen,snake-like foliage never fails to grab attention.

The only issue with these two beautiful Sansevierias is that they look almost identical. This makes many collectors feel confused. These two have almost identical leaves with the same shade of color. But they can be easily told apart with some focus on their details.

In this Sansevieria Zeylanica vs. Trifasciata comparison, we will break down their differences and basic features.

Sansevieria Zeylanica vs. Trifasciata
The main differences between Sansevieria Zeylanica and Trifasciata are their leaf shape, leaf size, leaf edges, variegation, leaf texture, flowering seasons, and natural habitat. Both plants have deep green variegated leaves, but the leaves of Sansevieria trifasciata have yellow borders.

What is a Sansevieria Zeylanica?

Sansevieria Zeylanica is a member of a popular plant group commonly known as the snake plants. This is understandable, as the physical appearance of its leaves resembles an actual snake.

Sansevieria Zeylanica, in particular, is commonly known as bowstring hemp. This plant, like Dracaena lemon-lime, belongs to the Asparagaceae family.

Sansevieria zeylanica is native to tropical parts of Southeast Asia, particularly Sri Lanka and parts of India. It is one of the most patient plants due to being a succulent. In addition to its amazingly unique appearance, bowstring hemp does a great job cleaning the air from various pollutants.

Sansevieria zeylanica grows upright without stems or petioles. It supports itself with its leaves, which are long and narrow like a sword.

The leaves are deep green with a silverish variegation pattern that spreads horizontally. Theoretically, Sansevieria zeylanica is a flowering plant. However, it does not fare well outside of its natural habitat.

What is a Sansevieria Trifasciata?

Sansevieria Trifasciata, or Dracaena Trifasciata, is another one of the popular snake plants. It has several common names, the most well-known of which is “mother-in-law’s tongue.

This is a tropical plant that is native to Africa, particularly Nigeria. It descends from the Asparagaceae plant family.

Just like Sansevieria Zeylanica, this plant produces flowers. It does not bloom in the spring, as do most houseplants. You can see its flowers during the winter. Just do not stay tuned for this occurrence, as this plant barely blooms outside the jungles.

This plant is one of the easiest plants to grow. It is one of the hardest houseplants to kill. Sansevieria trifasciata is known for its dark green leaves with a creamy or bright green horizontal variegation pattern.

Additionally, the leaves have bright yellow variegation around all the edges.

What are the Differences between Sansevieria Zeylanica and Trifasciata?

Sansevieria Zeylanica and Trifasciata are two of the hardest plants to distinguish. They are from the same family and have identical leaves.

Also, both of them are toxic to humans and pets. If you want to differentiate these two lovely plants easily, you should look at them together.

1. Leaf shape

At first glance, you will believe the two leaves look identical. Both of them have narrow and elongated leaves. However, there is a critical difference in their shape.

The leaves of Sansevieria Zeylanica start narrow at the base. They become broader as they reach their top part. The leaves of Sansevieria Trifasciata start wider and then get thinner at the top.

2. Leaf size

Mature leaves of the Sansevieria Trifasciata grow larger and broader than those of the Sansevieria Zeylanica.

A fully grown leaf of Sansevieria Trifasciata reaches a height of 1.7 meters. It also spreads about 7 cm wide. Mature leaves of Sansevieria Zeylanica reach a length of 70 cm and a width of 4 cm.

3. Variegation

Looking at the variegation of both plants can easily indicate their differences. Both plants have the same horizontal variegation patterns but are not the same color.

The pattern on the Sansevieria Zeylanica leaves is usually silvery or light gray, whereas, on the Sansevieria Trifasciata, it tends to be creamy or bright green.

4. Leaf edges

The leaf edges are a defining mark in this comparison. The leaf edges of the Sansevieria Zeylanica are not marked with any borders, unlike those of the Sansevieria Trifasciata. It has yellow borders all over the leaf edges.

5. Leaf texture

There is a noticeable difference when you touch the leaves of both plants. Sansevieria zeylanica has thinner, more delicate leaves. The leaves of Sansevieria trifasciata are waxier and a bit shinier as well.

6. Natural habitat

Sansevieria Zeylanica and Trifasciata are both tropical plants. However, they do not come from the same areas.

Sansevieria Zeylanica is found in Southeast Asia’s jungles, specifically in Sri Lanka. Sansevieria Trifasciata, on the other hand, is native to East Africa, specifically Nigeria.

7. Flowering seasons

Both Sansevieria Zeylanica and Trifasciata can indeed produce tiny greenish or yellowish flowers. However, they are not going to do this when grown as houseplants.

Additionally, each of them has flowers in different seasons. Sansevieria Zeylanica blooms during the spring, while Sansevieria Trifasciata blooms during the winter.

Sansevieria Zeylanica vs Trifasciata: Are they the same?

NoSansevieria Zeylanica and Trifasciata are not the same plant. They have common botanical origins and share countless physical similarities. Additionally, they are considered poisonous for children and pets. Still, they are different Sansevieria varieties.

Both plants have the same variegation pattern, but Sansevieria Trifasciata has a bright or medium green pattern. Sansevieria zeylanica has a silvery design.

Additionally, the former has yellow variegation around its edges. Sansevieria Trifasciata has thicker leaves, too. The leaves of Zeylanica are less shiny and not waxy than those of the Trifasciata plant.

The leaves of Sansevieria Zeylanica are narrower at the base and wider at the top, whereas in Sansevieria Trifasciata, they are wider at the base and narrower at the top. The leaves of the former are way shorter and less wide, too.

Sansevieria Zeylanica and Trifasciata are blooming plants, but they seldom bloom outside their natural habitat. Like most plants, the former blooms during the spring, whereas the latter blooms during the winter.

As for the natural habitat, Sansevieria Zeylanica grows in Sri Lanka, whereas the Sansevieria Trifasciata plant grows in Nigeria.

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