What Is Tuberose?

Definition of the Perfume Ingredient Tuberose

Tuberose
Tuberose. Flavia Morlachetti / Getty Images

What exactly is tuberose and where does it come from? The tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is a flowering perennial plant belonging to the lily (Amaryllidaceae) family. The essential oil extracted from ​the tuberose flower is used widely in perfumery as a heart or middle note.

Where It's Found

The tuberose plant is native to Mexico and Central America, but today is also cultivated in France, Hawaii, North and South Africa, India, and China.

What it Smells Like

Tuberose oil has a heady, sweet, exotic, complex floral aroma. Perfumers prize it for its highly concentrated scent.

Other Uses of Tuberose

Aztec healers valued tuberose flowers for their anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. In Victorian England, tuberose was considered a funeral flower. Tuberose is also used traditionally in Hawaii to create leis. Today, the oil is used in aromatherapy as an aid to sleeplessness and anxiety.

Tuberose Fragrances to Try

Tuberose is the central perfume note in the classic perfume Fracas, which, according to perfume expert Elena Vosnaki, was beloved by not only Marilyn Monroe (find out what perfume she exclusively wore to bed), but also Madonna, Courtney Love, Naomi Campbell, Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich, Beverly Sills, Kim Basinger, Kate Beckinsale, Martha Stewart and the Princess Caroline of Monaco.

Other women's fragrances that feature tuberose include Jo Malone Tuberose, Estee Lauder Tuberose Gardenia, Robert Piquet Fracas, Chanel Gardénia, Guerlain Jardins de Bagatelle, Guerlain Mahora, Chloe, Christian Dior Poison, Givenchy Amarige, White Shoulders,  L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse Aux Papillons, Les Parfums de Rosine Mea Culpa, Creed Tubereuse Indiana, and Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion.



Men's perfumes that star tuberose in their compositions include: Fresh Hombre de Flores Tuberosa, L'Artisan's La Chasse, Serge Lutens Cedre, Floris Elite, and Richard James for Men.