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spikenard

spikenard (spīk´närd), name for several plants. The biblical spikenard, or nard, was a costly aromatic ointment, preserved in alabaster boxes, whose chief ingredient is believed to have been derived from Nardostachys grandiflora (or N. jatamansi), a plant of the family Valerianaceae (valerian family). Such was the precious box of ointment that Mary Magdalen broke over Jesus' feet. The American spikenard, or Indian root, is Aralia racemosa, of the family Araliaceae (ginseng family). The fragrant rhizome of both of these plants is still sometimes used medicinally. The false Solomon's seal, of the family Liliaceae (lily family), is sometimes called wild spikenard. Spikenards are all classified in the division Magnoliophyta but differ in the classes, orders, and families to which they belong.

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spikenard

spikenard a costly perfumed ointment much valued in ancient times; in John 12:3, Mary ‘took…a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus’.

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spikenard

spikenard XIV. — medL. spīca nardī (see SPIKE2, NARD), or more immed. — OF. spicanard(e) or MLG. spīkenard, MDu. spīkenaerde (Du. spijknardus)
.

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