Dalmation Iris (Iris pallida)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Dalmation Iris
Iris pallida

The root is a source of Orris powder which has the scent of violets[238]. It is obtained by grinding up the dried root[4, 7, 46]. It is much used as a fixative in perfumery and pot-pourri, as an ingredient of toothpastes, breath fresheners etc and as a food flavouring. The root can take several years of drying to fully develop its fragrance, when fresh it has an acrid flavour and almost no smell[4, 168]. An essential oil is obtained from the fresh root, this has the same uses as the root[57, 61].

The juice of the root is sometimes used as a cosmetic and also for the removal of freckles from the skin[4].

A black dye is obtained from the root[168].

A blue dye is obtained from the flowers[168].

Plants can be grown for ground cover, the dense mat of roots excluding all weeds[208].

  • Medicinal Use

    Cathartic[4]. The juice of the fresh root is a strong purge of great efficiency in the treatment of dropsy[4].

  • Edible Use

    The root can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a food flavouring[46, 171]. The root may take several years of drying to develop its full fragrance[168].

    ‘Orris oil’ is an essential oil derived from the dried root, it is used as a flavouring in soft drinks, sweets, chewing gum etc[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised[65]. The roots are especially likely to be toxic[238]. Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people[238].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division, best done after flowering, though it can be done at almost any time. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil containing lime[42]. Easily cultivated in a sunny position in ordinary garden soil[187]. Prefers a pH between 6 and 7.5 or higher[200]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. Cultivated, especially in Italy, for the essential oil in its root[4]. The flowers are sweetly scented, reminding some people of orange blossom, others of vanilla and others of civet[245]. A very vigorous species[42]. The rhizome should be planted partly above the soil[1]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233].
Europe – S. Tyrol from Yugoslavia to the Adriatic.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.