SPIKENARD, or NARD (Gr. Nardos), a perfume highly prized by the ancients, and used both in baths and at feasts. It was brought from India, and was very costly. The " ointinent of spikenard " (John xii. 3) was probably an oil or fat, impregnated with the perfume. The plant which produces it has been ascertained by the researches of sir William Jones and Dr. Royle to be the nardostachps jutauat ad, the jatamansi of the Ilindus, a small plant of the natural order valerianacets, a native of the mountains of the n. of India, and found at least as far s. as the Deccan. It grows on the Himalaya to an elevation of 18,000 ft. and its roots are a favorite perfume in Tibet and Nepaul. The ladies of Nepaul use oil in which the root has been steeped for perfuming their hair. The odor is not, however, generally agreeable to Europeans. The root, which is from 3 to 12 in. long, sends up many stems, with little spikes of purple flowers, which have four stamens.—The name spikenard was given by the. ancients to perfumes used as
substitutes for the true or Indian spikenard, some of which were derived from the roots of plants of the same natural order, kind called Gallic or Celtic spikenard from those of valerians Celtica and V. saliunca, which are still used in the cast for perfuming baths; and that called Cretanspikenard from those of V. Italica, V. tuberoses, and V. phu. All of these grow on the Alps and other mountains of the s. of Europe, and the peasantry of Styria and Carinthia collect them from rocks an the borders of perpetual snow. They are tied in bundles, and sold at a very low price to merchants, who sell them at a great profit in Turkey and Egypt, from which they are partly transmitted even to India. About sixty tons are annually exported from Trieste.