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Orris Root

Common name: Orris root

Scientific name: Iris x germanica

Family: Iridaceae

Uses: Decorative, culinary, medicinal.Attractive flowers. Use for drying. Use for fragrance and pot-pourris. Use for dye (blue). It is also used to add a bitter flavor to some liqueurs, powdered root adds a refreshing scent to linen, dried root can be chewed to freshen breath and as a potpourri fixative.

History: Also known as the Iris. Orris refers to the rhizome of this plant. The Iris was first cultivated commercially in Florence Italy during the middle ages. Florence remains a center for orris root production and perfume making.

Description: Stout rhizomatous roots which smell like violets, sword shaped leaves to 1 1/2 feet long and 1 1/2 inch wide and overlapping at the base.

Plant type: Perennial

Hardiness: Hardiness zone 5-7.

Height: 2-3 feet

Width: less than 2 feet, but clumping

Light: Sun

Soil: rich and well drained soil with a pH of 6.7-7.3

Pests: none noted

Disease: Usually free of disease

Cultivation: Plant rhizomes in early spring leaving half of each rhizome above the surface to prevent rot. It usually takes two to three years for the plant to reach maturity. Plants become wider as underground rhizomes multiply.

Companion planting:

Propagation: Division in late spring or early autumn.

Flowering period: May to June

Flower color: white with blue or purple

Harvesting: Harvest roots at maturity. Wash and split them; then cut or grind into small pieces before drying on paper.

Garden notes: