Iris, a beautiful flower, a plant, of the Iridaceae family, but above all a root. Because it is the root, the rhizome, of Giaggiolo that is responsible for that perfume so pleasant and appreciated that it is put to good use in perfumery and liqueur shops.
It is a smell that recalls that of violets, so to speak, and to be able to enjoy it you have to wait for the root to dry for two years. But it's worth it. In the meantime, we can remain to admire the flowers of this plant which are very respectable. They are also known as Iris, Iris of Florence, Fior di San Marco.
When the roots of Iris they are ready to perfume, they are used first of all for perfumes and make-up - powders, toothpastes, creams, soaps and detergents - after having been finely pulverized. We also find them in drinks: to flavor sweet and delicate liqueurs or correct too dry distillates even for good mouths.
Once, in the countryside, the sweetness of Iris it served as a soothing agent to make children forget the pain of teething: a piece of root to chew a little and the pain passes.
Iris: the flower
The Iris flower it appears in groups of two to four, each surrounded by two whitish bracts of paper consistency, each with six tepals of a light purplish or almost white color. They last from 3 to 6 days. There Iris plant it is a perennial plant that grows from the Mediterranean to the submontane area in the warmest areas of central and southern Italy, elsewhere it is cultivated and naturalized.
Its rhizome develops horizontally, forming oblong segments, each of which produces two new segments every year. At the top of the new segments, leaves and stem develop each time, from which then the flowers. If the flowers can be used for ornamental purposes, what is most awaited is the root, to be harvested in July-August by digging with a hoe and then cleaning it and cutting it into pieces to facilitate drying. It lasts a couple of years, so it is better to keep everything in glass or porcelain containers
Iris: the fruit
The fruit of the Iris it appears as a sort of capsule with three compartments, inside there are few seeds, black, spherical. black color. The seeds are used to create the hybrids, and it is a very long process, otherwise this plant multiplies by division of rhizomes or bulbs.
We have not yet talked about the leaves, nothing important compared to the flower and root but for completeness let's describe them. They sprout at the apex of rhizome, are sword-shaped and 30-40 cm long, to the touch you notice that they have a particular texture "studied" by mother nature on purpose so that they are not wet by water.
Trust, sincerity and wisdom. This is the meaning of the Iris flower, called iris: it undoubtedly carries a positive message, and iris, from the Greek, also recalls the image of the rainbow. There are many colors, in fact, but if we want to give it away, it is the yellow one to choose. Obviously if you want to convey love and passion, otherwise we can also go wild withdeep blue iris, with a yellow or white heart: a wonder so much that it seems fake.
In the mythology of ancient Greece, the goddess Iris was the messenger of the gods, she connected heaven and earth, in the Egyptian civilization the Iris was instead considered magical and often appeared in wall paintings. During the Middle Ages the iris was the symbol of the French monarchy, today in North America it is the symbol of the state of Tennessee and is the emblem of the city of New Orleans.
Much loved by cities everywhere, this flower, because they also wanted it Brussels, yellow and stylized. Reaching Japan, we find the Iris used to cleanse the body and protect the home and family from disease and negativity. There are also those who give this flower for 25th wedding anniversary, as a promise of eternal love.
Iris: healing properties
Magical powers and superstition, symbolisms and wedding anniversaries aside, the Iris is a plant with numerous healing properties, not just flavoring. Expectorants, for example, and refreshing, if not slightly antiseptic. As active ingredients it possesses the essential oil, theiridine, sugars and starches, we find it used in cases of gastric acidity and gastritis, for example, but even if our head is bursting and we feel vomiting and nausea we can try to use it as a natural remedy by asking the doctor or pharmacist.
Depression, irritability, unmotivated fears, phobias are other problems for which the Iris can make its own contribution, as it tries to do with hiatal hernia, diarrhea, pancreatic and liver dysfunctions and neuralgia.
In Italy the cultivation of Iris in the province of Florence and that of Verona. In Florence in particular in 1954 one had been created Iris garden which in May was an explosion of over 1500 varieties of flowers of this species from all over the world. Also from Japan and Louisiana.
Generally cultivate the Iris it is not a difficult task, there are species that are more sensitive and less sensitive to the harsh climate, but in our country we can be quite calm, being able to enjoy mild temperatures that this plant tolerates calmly.
With the exception of 3 or 4 types, all Iris plants they want the same treatment: to stay in shady and well-ventilated positions, for example, and preferably in fresh clayey-calcareous soils. It is important in the cultivation of Iris, respect its spaces: depending on the species, the spacing between two plants goes from 20 to 40 cm so that they do not bother each other.
The Water iris is a plant maximum 1.5 meters high, with straight leaves up to 90 cm long, 3 cm wide. It produces beautiful bright yellow flowers and does so willingly and generously especially if it grows in very wet environments. Even though it is Water iris, its root survives for a long time in dry conditions, but in Italy we find it in ditches, swamps and rice fields.
In Scotland there are specimens of this species reaching giant size, in many areas the Iris it is seen as an ornamental plant but in others it is an invasive aquatic plant, capable of damaging other plants of the aquatic ecosystem.
For internal use we can use the rhizome in case of bronchial catarrh making a decoction, and the same is also true if we want to use it as a mild purifying and soothing of the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth. Always with the decoction they can be done rinsing, gargling and washing. On the skin, compresses.
The Iris in cosmetics it is used in powder form and added for example to common talc to make it fragrant and refreshing. If you then want to use the iris tincture, just get one bottle of 100 ml, non alcoholic, with 16 euros, and follow the instructions of our doctor. Not forgetting that trust of which the Iris flower is a symbol. Do you remember?
If you liked this article keep following me also on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and ... elsewhere you have to find me!
You may also be interested in the following articles:
- Arnica montana: properties
- Medicinal plants: complete list and properties
- Stramonium: plant and its effects
- Erica: plant and its properties
- Strelitzia: flowers and its cultivation