Iris is a popular garden flower, very typical in Florence and all over Tuscany. It flourishes during spring time. A famous Iris Garden to be visited in Florence is located near Piazzale Michelangelo.
Iris is a genus of 260–300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris. Some authors state that the name refers to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name for all Iris species, as well as some belonging to other closely related genera.
The Iris is also known from ancient times, and it is cultivated for the purpose, because from bulbs, rhizomes, of the plant, desiccated and distilled after acidic treatment, is obtained an oil containing several irones, chemical compounds with an elegant fragrance. The most important of these isomers is the (–)-cis-alfa-irone, which is endowed of a violet scent, and is commonly used in ancient and modern perfumery.