of the Week for 10th October
By Lynn Kirkland
The orgeous looking flowers of the Florentine Iris look as though they
would crumple in the wind but are actually amazingly hardy.
Even after rain and wind they still look fresh and delicate and I have found that they are long lasting in a vase.
Each individual bloom lasts a couple of days however as there are usually three on a stem you can cut off the withered one and enjoy the new ones.
This iris is the symbol of Florence and this is where production of orris root continues today.
Orris root is the fixative for scented products like pot pourri.
The rhizomes of this variety of iris are harvested when the plant is at least two years old.
The rhizomes are dried and powdered and stored for a year while the delicate violet like fragrance develops.
The perfume industry also use orris root in a distilled form in perfume formulas.
It is used in gin recipes and was used medicinally many years ago. Nowadays it can be found listed as an ingredient in some natural toothpaste.
As with most plant families the iris one is large and the three types used to produce orris root are Iris florentina, Iris pallida or Iris germanica.
The ones in the photograph are Iris pallida as one would guess as pallida means pale.
We love to see our irises in bloom in our Japanese garden adding a floral touch.
We do not dig them up to make orris root as this is rather time consuming and of course sacrifices the rhizomes.
When they are harvested for orris root production the off sets with an eye are replanted and this is also a great way to increase your stock and is usually done in autumn.