ORRIS-ROOT (apparently a corruption of " iris root "), the rhizomes or underground stems of three species of Iris, I. germanica, I. florcntina and /. pallida, closely allied plants growing in subtropical and temperate latitudes, but principally identified with North Italy. The three plants are indiscriminately cultivated in the neighbourhood of Florence as an agricultural product under the name of " ghiaggiuolo." The rhizomes are in August dug up and freed of the rootlets and brown outer bark; they are then dried and packed in casks for sale. In drying they acquire a delicate but distinct odour of violets. As it comes into the market, orris-root is in the form of contorted sticks and irregular knobby pieces up to 4 in. in length, of a compact chalky appearance. It is principally powdered for use in dentifrices and other scented dry preparations.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)