Tuberose Flowers

The tuberose flower belongs to the genus polianthes, and is a member of the agave – or agavaceae – family. This blossom – which is thought to be indigenous to areas of Mexico – is night blooming, but grows its best in sunny, warm locations. In appearance, these flowers are quite large and elegant. They begin to bloom at the bottom of 2 to 3 foot spikes, and burst forth at the top with large, white blossoms that bear thick, waxy petals. They develop in clusters that are sparsely surrounded by grassy green foliage.

The tuberose flower, with its lovely appearance and fragrant aroma, has become the center of a good deal of storytelling and ritual. Its many uses in India can best be used to highlight the importance of this particular plant. In Bengali this flower is referred to as Rojoni-Gondha – or night blossom – while the Hindu name for tuberose is Rajnigandha – or night fragrance. Throughout many regions of India, the plant is prized for its sensual scent, and so it has become one of the more frequently used blossoms for wedding ceremonies – generally as garlands and decorations. However, they are also used for funerals and a number of religious functions. The tuberose flower has also become an important part of Ayurvedic medicine, as the attars made from this blossom are said to promote relaxation, relieve emotional blocks, as well as treat both impotence and frigidity. Its myth goes beyond India, however. In France, young women have long been told to avoid the tuberose flower after nightfall, as – when it begins to bloom – the smell can become potent and heady, and may incite amorous feelings that can get a good young lady into trouble. Despite this flower’s seductive reputation, it was at one time considered something of a bad omen. In Victorian England, these flowers were frequently used at grave sites, and because of this, many people thought that both their appearance and their scent were a sign of impending doom. For instance, it was said that their smell could kill you if you sat in a closed room with even a single tuberose blossom – as their perfume was considered the actual aroma of death. In modern times, though, many people have come to adore the smell of tuberoses, and they have since become one of the most prominent floral notes around.

Because of its lurid reputation, the tuberose flower is a symbol of both dangerous and forbidden pleasures. However, they are also said to represent voluptuousness and simple sensuality. As a gift, this blooms are most commonly given to express the giver’s passion for the recipient, and are sometimes presented in bouquets or as a single, meaningful cut flower.

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