Polianthes tuberosa

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Tuberose flower.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Polianthes
Species: P. tuberosa
Binomial name
Polianthes tuberosa

Polianthes tuberosa, the tuberose, is a perennial plant related to the agaves, extracts of which are used as a note in perfumery.


The common name derives from the Latin tuberosa, meaning swollen or tuberous in reference to its root system. Polianthes means "many flowers" in Greek.

Other languages[edit]

In Spanish, the flower is called nardo or vara de San José, which means "St. Joseph’s staff".[citation needed]. It is called kupaloke in Hawaiian.[2] In Nahuatl it is called omixochitl "bone flower".[3] In the Philippines, the plant is also known as azucena.[citation needed]


The tuberose is a night-blooming plant native to Mexico, as is every other known species of Polianthes.[4] It grows in elongated spikes up to 45 cm (18 in) long that produce clusters of fragrant waxy white flowers that bloom from the bottom towards the top of the spike. It has long, bright green leaves clustered at the base of the plant and smaller, clasping leaves along the stem. Epiphyllous adhesion of stamens is seen in the flower.[5]

Members of the closely related genus Manfreda are often called "tuberoses". While once associated with funerals, it is now used in floral arrangements for other occasions.[6]


Tuberose is best cultivated in hardiness zones 8-10.[7] It is a tropical plant, and is perennial in hardiness zones 9 to 11.[8]


Polianthes tuberosa buds
Tuberose bulbs taken out for seasonal replantation
New shoots emerging from the bulbs of tuberose
Tuberose seeds
top view of tuberose buds before blooming


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ Choy, Duane (2011-05-09). "Tuberose has abundance of dazzling fragrance". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Star Advertiser. Archived from the original on 2015-12-07. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  3. ^ Cook, Suzanne (2016). The Forest of the Lacandon Maya: An Ethnobotanical Guide. Springer. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-4614-9111-8. 
  4. ^ "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew". apps.kew.org. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  5. ^ Morphology of Flowering Plants, Higher Biology, Dulal Chandra Santra
  6. ^ Trujillo, E. E. (1968). Diseases of Tuberose in Hawaii (PDF) (Cooperative Extension Service Circular 427 ed.). Honolulu: University of Hawaii. p. 13. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Brent and Becky's Bulbs
  8. ^ Tuberose easytogrowbulbs.com/

External links[edit]