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Spikenard, flowering plant in the Valerianaeceae family (Nardostachys jatamansi) or in the ginseng family (Aralia racemosa). The oriental, or “true” spikenard, from India, has a thick stem and a root shaped like an ear of corn; it is valued for its perfume. The American spikenard, or Indian root, is an herb often used in place of sarsaparilla for flavor.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Sour gum to Stereotyping