The Q&A Archives: Orris Root

Question: I am interested in making my own potpourri, and the recipes I have found call for orris root. I have heard that orris root comes from the 'Black Flag' iris. Is this true, and where can I purchase these iris? Could bearded iris be used as a substitution?

Answer: Orris is the dried powder of certain Iris rhizomes. Several species can be used, the most common being Iris germanica var. florentina. You can purchase the plant or the dried roots from Richters Herbs, Another species that might be used is Iris pallida (Dalmation iris). Note that all species of iris are harmful if eaten, especially the rhizomes. They can also be a skin irritant or allergen. Thanks for writing!

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