Herbs & Plants

Iris pallida

Botanical Name: Iris pallida
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Iris
Species: I. pallida
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales


*Iris × australis var. mandraliscae (Tod.) Nyman
*Iris × australis var. tinaei (Tod.) Nyman
*Iris desertorum Balb. [Illegitimate]
*Iris fulgida Berg
*Iris × germanica subsp. pallida (Lam.) O.Bolòs & Vigo
*Iris glauca Salisb.
*Iris gloriosa Reider ex Berg
*Iris hortensis Tausch
*Iris mandraliscae Tod.
*Iris marchesettii Pamp.
*Iris moggridgei Baker
*Iris odoratissima Jacq.
*Iris pallida subsp. mandraliscae (Tod.) K.Richt.
*Iris pallida var. odoratissima (Jacq.) Nyman
*Iris pallida subsp. pallida (unknown)
*Iris pallida var. rosea Prodán
*Iris pallida subsp. sicula (Tod.) K.Richt.
*Iris pallida subsp. tinaei (Tod.) K.Richt.
*Iris pallidecaerulaea Pers.
*Iris picta Spreng. [Illegitimate]
*Iris plicata Lam.
*Iris propendens Lange
*Iris sicula Tod.
*Iris swertii Lam.
*Iris tinaei Tod.

Common Names: Dalmation Iris, Sweet iris, Fragrant Iris, Zebra Iris

Habitat : Iris pallida is native to the Dalmatian coast (Croatia) but widely naturalised elsewhere. It is a member of the subgenus iris, meaning that it is a bearded iris, and grows from a rhizome in rocky places in limestone hillsides and the sides of gorges.

Iris pallida is a perennial flowering plant growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a medium rate. The leaves are bluish-green in color, and sword-shaped, 40–50 cm (16–20 in) in length, and 2.5–3 cm (0.98–1.18 in) in width. The inflorescence, produced in May/June, is fan-shaped and contains two or three flowers which are usually pale purplish to whitish.

It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

. Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil containing lime. Easily cultivated in a sunny position in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a pH between 6 and 7.5 or higher. Established plants are drought tolerant. Cultivated, especially in Italy, for the essential oil in its root. The flowers are sweetly scented, reminding some people of orange blossom, others of vanilla and others of civet. A very vigorous species. The rhizome should be planted partly above the soil. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Fragrant foliage, All or parts of this plant are poisonous.

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.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts:

The root can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a food flavouring. The root may take several years of drying to develop its full fragrance. ‘Orris oil’ is an essential oil derived from the dried root, it is used as a flavouring in soft drinks, sweets, chewing gum etc.
Medicinal Uses:


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

Other Uses:

Landscape Uses:Border, Massing, Rock garden, Specimen.

The root is a source of Orris powder which has the scent of violets. It is obtained by grinding up the dried root. 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. An essential oil is obtained from the fresh root, this has the same uses as the root. The juice of the root is sometimes used as a cosmetic and also for the removal of freckles from the skin. A black dye is obtained from the root. A blue dye is obtained from the flowers. Plants can be grown for ground cover, the dense mat of roots excluding all weeds.

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

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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