One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A preparation of the fragrant rootstock of an iris, used in perfumery and formerly in medicine.
The root is usually taken from Iris × germanica variety ‘Florentina’
- ‘Mix together, in a ceramic bowl, 4 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers, half a teaspoon of orris root powder and 3 drops of lavender oil, and add this mixture to small muslin sachets.’
- ‘Mix the lemon oil with the chopped orris root and add to the dried leaves.’
- ‘The lady's clothes seemed to fill the whole carnage, and out of this little padded box there drifted a perfume of orris, an indefinable scent of feminine elegance.’
- ‘Dried orris root smells like violets. It is used primarily as a base for natural toothpastes, and as a fixative in perfumes to enhance other aromas.’
- ‘It contains juniper berries, calendula, peppermint and orris root, and it effectively whitens teeth by helping to prevent plaque build-up and gum disease.’
Mid 16th century: apparently an unexplained alteration of iris.
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