The plant is named after the rainbow , ‘Iris,’ from the and variety of colours in the of the genus.
From times the stately Iris stood as a of power and majesty – it was dedicated to Juno and was the origin of thesceptre, the Egyptians placing it on the brow of the Sphinx and on the sceptre of their kings, the three leaves of its blossoms typifying , and valour.

Oil of Orris, obtained by distilling powdered Orris with steam, has an intense and extremely delicate odour of the Violet and commands a high price. It is used commercially in the preparation of the finest scents and is also blended with artificial Violet perfumes, the odour of which it renders more subtle. Orris has the power of strengthening the odour of other bodies and is used as a fixative in perfumery.

Powdered Orris root is sometimes put into rinsing water in laundries and imparts a refreshing and fragrant scent to the linen.

Orris root, mixed with Anise, was used in England as a perfume for linen as early as 1480, under which date it is in the Wardrobe accounts of Edward IV.

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