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Orris Root is also known as Iris Germanica

Images of Orris Root at

Orris root is also known by the names:
• Iris germanica
• Iris florentina
• Iris pallida

Overview of Orris Root

• It was essential in western herbal medicine.
• It is now used mainly as a fixative and base note in perfumery.
• It is also an ingredient in many brands of gin.
• It is also the most widely-used fixative for potpourri.
• After an initial drying period, the root is ground.
• The drying period is about five years.
• For potpourri, this powder is used without further processing.
• For other uses, it’s dissolved in water and then distilled.
• One ton of iris root produces two kilos of essential oil.
• The essential oil is termed orris root butter.
• The fragrance is tenaciously flowery, heavy and woody.
• Typical iris-perfumes are:
– “Orris Noir” by Ormonde Jayne Perfumery
– “Infusion d’iris”(Prada*)
– “Tumulte”(Christian Lacroix*)
– “Aqua di Parma”
– “Iris nobile”(Aqua di Parma*)
– “Irisia”(Creed*)
– “Y”(Yves Saint Laurent*)
– “Vol de nuit”(Guerlain*)

• Orris root is often included as:
– one of the many ingredients of Ras el hanout
– a blend of herbs and spices used across the Middle East and North Africa
– in tinctures to flavor syrups

Growing/Caring conditions for Orris Root

• Tilt the soil and prepare.
• Orris does grow well in well-drained soil.
• It likes soil that is rich in nutrients.
• The soil that has plenty of manure and organic fertilizers is the best for this plant.
• Sow the orris seeds about 8 inches to 1 foot apart.
• Sow the seeds 1 inch deep.
• Sow in late spring to early summer.
• This is about a month after the last frost.
• Wait for sprouting.
• Thin the seedlings to about 9 inches apart. Germination time is usually from one to three weeks.
• The sprouts should be weed free.
• Water them well.
• Use the root after two months for harvesting.
• A fresh salad can employ few of its leaves.
• For planting roots, arrange pots.
• The soil should be amended with sand and fine soil.
• Store them in temperature controlled room in a cool area.
• Cut the root on a diagonal side.
• This means about 1 to 2 inches above the crown.
• Trimmed roots are to be kept 1 to 2 inches above the soil.
• Place another pot upside down on the root.
• Block the sun to the plant.
• They should be used softer and lighter in color.
• The darker the color, the bitter the taste.

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