Sheri Ann Richerson's exotic gardening, elegant cooking, crafty creations, food preservation and animal husbandry... all on two and a half acres in Marion, Indiana!

Orris Root Powder

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Orris root iris in bloom.

Making your own orris root powder to use as a fixative in potpourri or other crafts is easier than you might think. Orris powder is made from the rhizome of the Iris x germanica var florentina, often referred to as orris iris. The pale lavender flowers appear almost white.

Use a sharp knife to cut through the orris root rhizomes.

Once this iris is established, the rhizomes multiply rather quickly. Allow the plants to grow until they are beginning to get crowded, then begin to harvest what you want. Some people remove their iris rhizomes from the ground and divide them that way. I leave mine in the ground and use a sharp knife or clean pruners to slice through the rhizome removing only the ones I wish to harvest.

The smaller the orris root rhizome is cut, the easier it will be to powder once it's dry.

Once I am back inside, I cut off all the roots and foliage. This discarded material goes into the compost pile where it will break down. I then wash off the rhizomes to remove any dirt remaining on the rhizome. I pat the rhizome dry with paper towels, then put it on a cutting board and slice it into thin strips. Some people prefer to grate the rhizome because that gives you smaller chips that are easier to powder.

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Comments on Orris Root Powder Leave a Comment

November 10, 2011

dee @ 9:25 am #

I just dug up some very croweded iris’s in my yard. I gave some of them away, but have a bunch left over. My question is does it make a difference which bearded iris is used? Mine are deep maroon and a shorter variety. I also grow lavender and if I can use the roots I have it would be serendipity!

November 13, 2011

dee @ 11:52 am #

Okay. I appreciate you clearing it up. I would like to grow the specific iris for the orris root. Do you have a suggestion as to where I can obtain it? I have so many different iris plants, colors and heights, none of which I have purchased – strickley plant exchanges. I don’t think I have this specific one.

November 16, 2011

dee @ 7:19 pm #

Both sites are great. I really appreciate your help, thank you!

March 8, 2013

Bart Hance @ 1:23 pm #

many varieties of iris can and have been used to make ‘orris root’ for perfume and gin production. iris x germanica var florentina may be the traditional orris root variety but they all have unique and wonderful aromas that should be explored

May 25, 2013

Jeanette Delauter @ 7:01 pm #

Jeanette Delauter @ 7:02 pm #

There are several varieties of Orris in commerce, differing chiefly in colour and the care with which they have been peeled. The finest is Florentine Orris, from I. Florentina, which is carefully peeled, nearly white, plump and very fragrant, irregular in shape, bearing small marks where the rootlets have been removed. Veronese Orris, from I. Germanica, is usually somewhat compressed and elongated, less suddenly tapering than the Florentine root, less carefully peeled, yellowish in colour, and somewhat wrinkled and has not the fine fragrance of the Florentine Orris.

Morocco or Mogadore Orris, also obtained from I. Germanica, bears particles of reddishbrown cork, is darker in colour generally and less fragrant; the pieces are also smaller, flatter, more shrunken and often bear the shrivelled remains of leaves at the apex. This variety is sometimes bleached with sulphur dioxide. It is altogether inferior to both the foregoing varieties. Bombay Orris is also of small size, dark-coloured and of inferior fragrance.

June 20, 2013
June 24, 2013

dehra mcdonald @ 7:04 am #

I am so excited now I have discovered your website as I have started growing my own herbs .. I also have many flowers and I am collecting and drying all the petals and buds I can to make pot pourri. I have one question. About ten years ago I bought powdered orris root and still have enough to use for this year, but I am wondering if it still retains all its properties after so long.I´d be very grateful if you could help me in this matter. Thank you , Dehra.

July 26, 2014

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