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Polianthes tuberosa - L.

Common Name Tuberose
Family Agavaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation[200].
Range Southern N. America - Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Polianthes tuberosa Tuberose


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Polianthes tuberosa Tuberose
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of bulb
Polianthes tuberosa is a BULB growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 East Wall. By. South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers
Edible Uses:

Flowers - cooked. Used in vegetable soups or added to the substrate of 'kecap', an Indonesian soy sauce[46, 177, 183]. The flowers are the source of tuberosa-flower water[183]. No further details are given.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


None known

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Other Uses

Essential

An essential oil is obtained from the flowers. It is used in high grade perfumery[46, 61, 171]. 1150kg of flowers yield 1kg absolute essential oil[46, 61].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

Cultivation details

Requires a warm sheltered position[200] and a well-drained soil[188]. When grown in pots it is best to use a fibrous loam enriched with compost and some silver sand for drainage[245]. Plants require copious amounts of moisture when starting into growth[245]. Not very hardy outdoors in Britain, this species is often grown in the greenhouse where it can be induced to flower at almost any time of the year[1]. It can also be grown outdoors in warm areas of Britain, planting out the bulbs in spring, harvesting them in the autumn and storing them in sand overwinter in a cool but frost-free place[200]. This species is sometimes cultivated for its edible flowers[183]. They are very strongly scented[200]. The flowers are perhaps the most powerfully scented of all flowers. The perfume is almost intoxicating, especially when the plant is grown in gentle heat when it is heavy and sickly almost to the point of unpleasantness[245]. A double-flowered cultivar, 'The Pearl' has an even more pronounced fragrance[245]. The plant is cultivated for its essential oil in China[61].

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in spring in a sunny position in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division of offsets after the plant has finished flowering in late summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

David Gibson   Mon Jul 7 2008

These bulbs appear to take 4 months to develop, whether indoors or protected outside. Todate I have onle achieved 50% from good bulbs.

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Subject : Polianthes tuberosa  
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