EN FLEURS: Fragrant folklore from the flowerbeds pt. II

Hello petals; wherever this correspondence may find you, we hope you are well, rested, and preciously allocating your energy through these last weeks of winter.
Here’s part two of an on-going series on the oft-derided, ever captivating floral fragrance family.

Through this series, we hope to familiarize you with even just a fraction of the olfactory complexity and energetic virtues of the floral kingdom, and hopefully convert a few nay-sayers into appreciative patrons of our blossoming friends.

A “white” floral fragrance, note, or accord refers to the diffusive signature of—you guessed it—white flowers, as well as a supporting cast of an equally pungent nature. Blooming primarily during the darker hours, white flowers rely on the intensity of their scent to attract pollinators and as a result make for powerful and intoxicating fragrances typically described as ‘indolic’. 

Unfamiliar with the term “indolic”? Indole is an aromatic compound described as simultaneously floral and fecal, and can be found in flowers and animal excrement alike—explaining why these heavy flowers can feel particularly noxious to some. While most folks will be familiar with Jasmine, who best exemplifies the subcategory’s divisive nature, other well-loved members of the white floral category are: tuberose, freesia, gardenia, orange blossom, frangipani, lily of the valley, magnolia, and ylang ylang.


Orris Root

The words "orris root" refer to the fragrant rhizomes of irises germanica and pallida—varieties of iris that, while less robust and colourful than their ornamental counterparts, hide their true worth beneath the ground, where their rhizomes slowly mature to olfactory perfection. Once ready, the irises are plucked from the ground and stripped of the majority of their rhizome before being replaced into the earth to recover and regrow. It takes 100 kg of fresh rhizome to yield about 30 kg of dried, fragrant roots, which can then be transformed into costly resinoids, concretes, and absolutes after curing for up to 7 years.

Now primarily cultivated as an ingredient for perfuming and flavouring industries, orris root was historically believed to be a panacea capable of soothing a wide berth of ailments whether physical, mental, or spiritual in nature. Now a staple ingredient for matters of attraction in many practices including Rootwork (the use of herbs in Conjure/Hoodoo), it has equally been found carved into ancient talismanic and anthropomorphic amulets across central Europe - just two small examples of this splendid blooms enduring metaphysical legacy.


Osmanthus, a flowering evergreen shrub native to Asia, is celebrated for its alluring fragrance, medicinal virtues, and numerous culinary applications. A beloved blossom that inspired poets and painters alike, particularly during the Tang dynasty (considered a golden age in Chinese history), osmanthus blooms in time for the mid-autumn celebration still observed today.

According to certain iterations of Chinese legend, Osmanthus (Gui Hua) seeds fell to the Earth from the Moon, where a self-healing tree was being struck repeatedly and in vain as a form of divine punishment.


Not to be mistaken for the vivid, ornamental saucer magnolia, Magnolia x Alba (aka white champa) is a fragrant hybrid of the champak and mountain magnolias. It is a heavenly, narcotic white floral, and is often worked into seductive perfumes and modern Venusian rites for its enticing grace and power as an olfactory aphrodisiac.

As always, thank you for taking the time to catch up with us. We have some burgeoning projects and exciting news to share with you all spring and summer long, so keep a close eye out here or on our Instagram as those bulbs begin to flower!


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