Tuberose: A Flower with Deep Emotions and Rich Symbolism

While the name may make you think that this flower is a type of rose, Tuberose (Agave amica) is actually a fragrant lily. It’s often best known as an ingredient in perfume for its bold white floral scent. In some climates, Tuberose is also a great addition to the garden or landscape with its delicate star-shaped flowers. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Tuberose flower meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers.

Tuberose Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Tuberose Symbolism – Key Takeaways

Tuberose symbolizes attraction, lust, and obsession for someone else. It can send a message that you’re having a hard time letting go of someone or feeling more intensely than you expected. It’s a bridal flower in some cultures but was considered a negative symbol in the Victorian language of flowers.

Etymological Meaning

The scientific name Agave amica is derived from Greek myth. The name Agave comes from Agaue, one of the daughters of the hero Cadmus. The word also means illustrious, which is why it was applied to the Agave genus full of bright white and eye-catching blooms. 

The Amica part of the name means “friendly”, which is likely due to the plant’s welcoming scent. The common name Tuberose is derived from the French references to its tuberous roots. There is no connection to rose in the name.

Common Tuberose Flower Colors

Most Tuberose flowers are white, which gives the bloom a meaning of elegance and gracefulness. 

While white is often a common symbol of purity and innocence, that would be at odds with the other meanings for this flower. Pink varieties that symbolize excitement and romantic interest further compound its primary symbolism.

Greek Mythology and Agave

The Agave genus that Tuberose belongs to lends the flower its first layer of symbolism. She was the daughter of the great hero Cadmus and the mother of Pentheus, who also became king. He became suspicious because his mother was worshipping Dionysus where no men were allowed to go. When he interrupted the religious rites, Agave killed her own son in a religious fury. This lends the flower a dangerous, even violent symbolism that is strongly feminine.

Tuberose Flowers in Marriage and Love in India

On a more positive note, Tuberose symbolizes passion, love, and fidelity in India. It’s considered one of the primary bridal flowers both for its delicate appearance and strong fragrance even after cutting. 

As the Tuberose continues to smell potent until it dries up and withers, the symbolism shows that a wife’s love will last until she is gone. It’s also used as a traditional bridal flower in Hawaiian culture.

Tuberose Flowers in Victorian Times 

Europeans and Victorians in particular believed the flower could be overwhelmingly erotic. Young women and girls, in particular, were forbidden to visit Tuberose fields, especially at night. The fear was that they would be overtaken by the intense scent and driven to un-ladylike behavior. 

The Victorian language of the flowers assigned Tuberose the meaning of intense, dangerous passions.

Tuberose Flower Meaning FAQs:

What do Tuberose flowers symbolize? 

Tuberose symbolizes passion, intensity, attraction, and even danger.

Do Tuberose flowers come back every year? 

As long as they’re planted in a warm enough climate, Tuberose are perennial flowers.

What do Tuberose flowers smell like? 

They have a strong white floral smell similar to gardenia and jasmine but with a slight musk-like frankincense.

What are Tuberose flowers used for? 

The flowers are primarily used for landscaping, bouquets, and perfume.

What pollinators do Tuberose flowers attract? 

It’s particularly attractive to bees, which are drawn to the strong scent.

Are Tuberose flowers poisonous to humans and animals? 

Not a lot of testing has been completed to determine the safety of consuming Tuberose flowers or extracts. It can cause vomiting in humans and pets, so avoid eating them.


A bold white flower with an appearance to match its powerful scent, Tuberose is a potent symbol of attraction as well. It symbolizes when passion and love can go too far and become an obsession. It’s not surprising that many of the perfumes featuring it as a focus have names like Poison.

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