The beautiful dexterous Iris. Not only one of the most beautiful flowering plants on the planet, it is also one of the most versatile. It takes its name from the Greek word for rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. There are over 260 species of Iris and they are found throughout the world. In additiona to their beauty, parts of the plants are used for many purposes including: – Source of the anti-cancer principle Irisquinone effective against U14 and Lymph sarcoma and some other cancers – The roots of some species are used for water purification -Rhizomes of the German Iris and Sweet Iris are traded as orris root and are used in perfume and medicine, though more common in ancient times than today. Today Iris essential oil (absolute) from flowers are sometimes used in aromatherapy as sedative medicines. The dried rhizomes are also given whole to babies to help in teething. Gin brands such as Bombay Sapphire and Magellan Gin use orris root and sometimes iris flowers for flavor and color. – The yellow fleur-de-lis reflects the Yellow Iris, common in Western Europe. Contemporary uses can be seen in the Quebec flag and the logo of the New Orleans Saints NFL football team, and on the flag of Saint Louis, Missouri. – The red fleur-de-lis is the coat-of-arms of Florence (Italy) -The Purple Iris is the State Flower of Tennessee As you can see the Iris is much more than just a pretty face. I am not an Iris expert, but they are first flowers I look for when I visit new botanical gardens. Their beauty (and usefullness) is unsurpassed in the flower kingdom.
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