The tuberose is a night-blooming plant thought to be native to Mexico along with every other species of Polianthes. The Aztecs called it Omixochitl or bone flower.
It is a prominent plant in Indian culture and mythology. The flowers are used in wedding ceremonies, garlands, decoration and various traditional rituals. Its Hindi name is "Rajnigandha", though it is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Queen of the Night, which is really Cestrum nocturnum. The name Rajnigandha means "night-fragrant" (rajni=night; gandha=fragrance). In Bengali, it is called "Rajoni-Gandha", meaning "Scent of the Night". In Marathi, it is called “NishiGhanda”. In parts of South India, it is known as "Sugandaraja", which translates to "king of fragrance/smell". In Chinese, it is called WanXiangYu ("night fragrant jade", meaning "flower as precious as jade and becoming fragrant at night), or YeLaiXiang ("fragrance that comes at night") or YueXiaXiang ( "fragrance under the moon"). In Indonesia it is called "bunga sedap malam", meaning night fragrant flower. In Tamil Nadu it is called as Sambangi or nilasambangi, in Andhra Pradesh it is called as "Sampangi" and traditionally used in all type of garlanding especially in south Indian marriages. In Cuba it is called "azucena" which is the name given to amaryllis in Mexico
In Iran the tuberose is known as "Gole Maryam" ("Mary flower") and the oil extracted from the flower is used as a perfume.
The tuberose is also used traditionally in Hawaii to create leis and was considered a funeral flower in Victorian times. Its scent is described as a complex, exotic, sweet, floral.
In Taiwan, the tuberose has become a trendy food ingredient and can be found in many five-star hotels.
The tuberose 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.