Intoxicating iris

Here at Sunshine Iris Nursery we have been pleasantly surprised to discover a relationship between two of our favourite pastimes – working with our beloved iris and sharing an evening tipple once that work is done for the day.

A little known by product of the iris is orris root.  This comes from the rhizomes of three types of irises,  Iris germanica (German iris), Iris pallida and a variety known as Iris florentina , all grown commercially for their orris root. 

Orris root has a scent that resembles violets and is used to develop this perfume.  It must be dried for at least three years and ground into a powder.  It is then steam distilled to obtain the essential oil, sometimes known as orris butter. 

But orris root is not only added to perfumes and cosmetics – you may also find it in some types of gin – including our favourite Bombay Sapphire!  Orris root is said to have lots of health benefits – not yet scientifically proven though.

Bombay Gin Bottle

So next time you are enjoying your evening gin and tonic – raise your glass to the beautiful iris! (and remember – drink responsibly!)