Lavandula (common name lavender) is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia, China (Plectranthus mona lavender) to southeast India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, for use as culinary herbs, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia, is often referred to as lavender, and there is a color named for the shade of the flowers of this species.
|Lavender flowers with bracts|
Leaf shape is diverse across the genus. They are simple in some commonly cultivated species; in other species they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, sometimes multiple pinnate and dissected. In most species the leaves are covered in fine hairs or indumentum, which normally contain the essential oils.
Flowers are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage, the spikes being branched in some species. Some species produce coloured bracts at the apices. The flowers may be blue, violet or lilac in the wild species, occasionally blackish purple or yellowish. The calyx is tubular. The corolla is also tubular, usually with five lobes (the upper lip often cleft, and the lower lip has two clefts).
Lavandula stoechas, L. pedunculata and L. dentata were known in Roman times. From the Middle Ages onwards, the European species were considered two separate groups or genera, Stoechas (L. stoechas, L. pedunculata, L. dentata) and Lavandula (L. spica and L. latifolia), until Linnaeus combined them. He only recognised five species in Species Plantarum (1753), L. multifida and L. dentata (Spain) and L. stoechas and L. spica from Southern Europe. L. pedunculata was included within L. stoechas.
By 1790, L. pinnata and L. carnosa were recognised. The latter was subsequently transferred to Anisochilus. By 1826 Frédéric Charles Jean Gingins de la Sarraz listed 12 species in three sections, and by 1848 eighteen species were known.
One of the first modern major classifications was that of Dorothy Chaytor in 1937 at Kew. The six sections she proposed for 28 species still left many intermediates that could not easily be assigned. Her sections included Stoechas, Spica, Subnudae, Pterostoechas, Chaetostachys and Dentatae. However all the major cultivated and commercial forms resided in the Stoechas and Spica sections. There were four species within Stoechas (Lavandula stoechas, L. dentata, L. viridis and L. pedunculata) while Spica had three (L. officinalis (now L. angustifolia), L. latifolia and L. lanata). She believed that the garden varieties were hybrids between true lavender L. angustifolia and spike lavender (L. latifolia). 
More recently, work has been done by Upson and Andrews, and currently Lavandula is considered to have three subgenera.
In addition, there are numerous hybrids and cultivars in commercial and horticultural usage.
The first major clade corresponds to subgenus Lavendula, and the second Fabricia. The Sabaudia group is less clearly defined. Within the lavendula clade, the subclades correspond to the existing sections, but place Dentatae separately from Stoechas, not within it. Within the Fabricia clade, the subclades correspond to Pterostoechas, Subnudae, and Chaetostachys.
Thus the current classification includes 39 species distributed across 8 sections (the original 6 of Chaytor and the two new sections of Upson and Andrews), in three subgenera (see table below). However, since lavender cross-pollinates easily, there are countless variations that present difficulties in classification.
The English word lavender is generally thought to be derived from Old French lavandre, ultimately from the Latin lavare (to wash), referring to the use of infusions of the plants. The botanic name Lavandula as used by Linnaeus is considered to be derived from this and other European vernacular names for the plants. However it is suggested that this explanation may be apocryphal, and that the name may actually be derived from Latin livere, "blueish".
The names widely used for some of the species, "English lavender", "French lavender" and "Spanish lavender" are all imprecisely applied. "English lavender" is commonly used for L. angustifolia, though some references say the proper term is "Old English Lavender". The name "French lavender" may be used to refer to either L. stoechas or to L. dentata. "Spanish lavender" may be used to refer to L. stoechas, L. lanata or L. dentata.
The most common form in cultivation is the common or English lavender Lavandula angustifolia (formerly named L. officinalis). A wide range of cultivars can be found. Other commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L. dentata, and L. multifida (Egyptian lavender).
Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens worldwide, they are occasionally found growing wild as garden escapes, well beyond their natural range. Such spontaneous growth is usually harmless, but in some cases Lavandula species have become invasive. For example, in Australia, Lavandula stoechas has become a cause for concern; it occurs widely throughout the continent, and has been declared a noxious weed in Victoria since 1920. It also is regarded as a weed in parts of Spain.
Lavenders flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun. All types need little or no fertilizer and good air circulation. In areas of high humidity, root rot due to fungus infection can be a problem. Organic mulches can trap moisture around the plants' bases, encouraging root rot. Gravelly materials such as crushed rocks give better results. It grows best in soils with a pH between 6 and 8.
Most lavender is hand-harvested, and harvest times vary depending on intended use.
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Lavandula × intermedia, also known as lavandin or Dutch lavender, yields a similar essential oil, but with higher levels of terpenes including camphor, which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance.
The lavandins Lavandula × intermedia are a class of hybrids of L. angustifolia and L. latifolia. The lavandins are widely cultivated for commercial use, since their flowers tend to be bigger than those of English lavender and the plants tend to be easier to harvest, but lavandin oil is regarded by some to be of a lower quality than that of English lavender, with a perfume less sweet.
Culinary lavender is usually English lavender, the most commonly used species in cooking (L. angustifolia 'Munstead'). As an aromatic, it has a sweet fragrance with a taste of lemon or citrus notes. It is used as a spice or condiment in pastas, salads and dressings, and desserts. Their buds and greens are used in teas, and their buds, processed by bees, are the essential ingredient of monofloral honey.
The potency of the lavender flowers increases with drying which necessitates more sparing use to avoid a heavy, soapy aftertaste. Chefs note to reduce by two-thirds the dry amount in recipes which call for fresh lavender buds.
Lavender buds can amplify both sweet and savory flavors in dishes, and are sometimes paired with sheep's-milk and goat's-milk cheeses. Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black, green, or herbal teas. Lavender flavours baked goods and desserts, pairing especially well with chocolate. In the United States, both lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones and marshmallows.
Lavender buds are put into sugar for two weeks to allow the essential oils and fragrance to transfer; then the sugar itself is used in baking. Lavender can be used in breads where recipes call for rosemary. Lavender can be used decoratively in dishes or spirits, or as a decorative and aromatic in a glass of champagne. Lavender is used in savory dishes, giving stews and reduced sauces aromatic flair. It is also used to scent flans, custards, and sorbets.
The greens are used similarly to rosemary or combined with rosemary to flavour meat and vegetables in savory dishes. They can also be used to make a tea that is milder than teas made with the flowers.
The flowers yield abundant nectar, from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. It is also used to make "lavender sugar".
Lavender was introduced into England in the 1600s. It is said that Queen Elizabeth prized a lavender conserve (jam) at her table, so lavender was produced as a jam at that time, as well as used in teas both medicinally and for its taste.
Lavender was not used in traditional southern French cooking at the turn of the 20th century. It does not appear at all in the best-known compendium of Provençal cooking, J.-B. Reboul's Cuisinière Provençale. French lambs have been allowed to graze on lavender as it is alleged to make their meat more tender and fragrant.
Today, lavender recipes are in use in most parts of the world.
Lavender oil is under preliminary research for its possible effect in alleviating anxiety and sleep disturbances. High-quality clinical research generally has not been done to conclude if there are effects of lavender oil on anxiety.
The German scientific committee on traditional medicine, Commission E, reported uses of lavender flower in practices of herbalism, including its use for restlessness or insomnia, Roehmheld's syndrome, intestinal discomfort, and cardiovascular diseases, among others.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that lavender is considered likely safe in food amounts and possibly safe in medicinal amounts. NIH does not recommend the use of lavender while pregnant or breast-feeding because of lack of knowledge of its effects. It recommends caution if young boys use lavender oil because of possible hormonal effects leading to gynecomastia, and states that lavender may cause skin irritation and could be poisonous if consumed by mouth.
A 2005 review on lavender essential oil stated that "Lavender is traditionally regarded as a 'safe' oil and, although it was recently reported that lavender oil, and its major constituent linalyl acetate, are toxic to human skin cells in vitro, contact dermatitis to lavender oil appears to occur at only a very low frequency." There are two reports on a total of six cases of gynecomastia in prepubertal boys who were exposed to topical lavender essential oil.
A 2007 study examined the relationship between various fragrances and photosensitivity, stating that lavender is known "to elicit cutaneous photo-toxic reactions", but does not induce photohaemolysis.
Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Lavender is also used extensively as herbal filler inside sachets used to freshen linens. Dried and sealed in pouches, lavender flowers are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and to deter moths. Dried lavender flowers have become recently popular for wedding confetti. Lavender is also popular in scented waters and sachets.
Lavender greens can be used in craft or modelling projects, such as the creation of miniature topiary or trees.
The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda (possibly the modern town of Dohuk, Iraq). It was also commonly called nard. The species originally grown was L. stoechas.
nard and saffron,
with henna and nard,
nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices.
During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which was about the same as a month's wages for a farm laborer, or fifty haircuts from the local barber. Its late Latin name was lavandārius, from lavanda (things to be washed), from the verb lavāre (to wash).
This is based on the classification of Upson and Andrews, 2004.
I. Subgenus Lavendula Upson & S.Andrews subgen. nov.
II. Subgenus Fabricia (Adams.) Upson & S. Andrews, comb.nov.
III. Subgenus Sabaudia (Buscal. & Muschl.) Upson & S. Andrews, comb. et stat. nov.
Also, oils of lemon, lavender, lime, sandalwood and cedar are known to elicit cutaneous phototoxic reactions, but lavender, sandalwood and cedar oil did not induce photohaemolysis in our assay...Lavender oil and sandalwood oil did not induce photohaemolysis in our test system. However, a few reports on photosensitivity reactions due to these substances have been published, e.g. one patient with persistent light reaction and a positive photo-patch test to sandalwood oil
Note however that Upson and Andrews refer to research on bathing in the Roman Empire, and state that there is no mention of the use of lavender in works on this subject.
Lavandula angustifolia (lavender most commonly true lavender or English lavender, though not native to England; also garden lavender, common lavender, narrow-leaved lavender), formerly L. officinalis, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the Mediterranean (Spain, France, Italy, Croatia etc.).Lavandula buchii
Lavandula buchii is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, endemic to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It was first described by Philip Barker-Webb and Sabin Berthelot, in a part of an 1844–1850 publication that has been dated to 1844.Lavandula canariensis
Lavandula canariensis is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the Canary Islands. It was first described by Philip Miller in 1768.Lavandula dentata
Lavandula dentata, fringed lavender or French lavender, is a species of flowering plant in the Lamiaceae family, native to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic islands and the Arabian peninsula. Growing to 60 cm (24 in) tall, it has gray-green, linear or lance-shaped leaves with toothed edges and a lightly woolly texture. The long-lasting, narrow spikes of purple flowers, topped with pale violet bracts, first appear in late spring. The whole plant is strongly aromatic with the typical lavender fragrance.
Its native habitat includes low hills with limestone substrates amidst other shrubs. It is present on Madeira and the Canary Islands.One of several species known by the English common name French lavender (see also Lavandula stoechas), it is commonly grown as an ornamental plant and its essential oil is used in perfumes. Like other lavenders, it is particularly associated with dry, sunny, well-drained conditions in alkaline soil. But it will tolerate a range of conditions, though it may be short-lived. The cultivar L. dentata var. dentata 'Royal Crown' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. It requires some shelter in frost-prone areas.The plant is used in Murcia as an herbal remedy for stomach ache.Common Spanish names include: alhucema inglesa, alhucema rizada, cantueso, cantueso dentado, cantueso rizado, espliego dentado, and garlanda.Lavandula lanata
Lavandula lanata, woolly lavender, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Spain. An evergreen dwarf shrub growing to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall and broad, it is noted for the pronounced silver woolly hairs on its leaves, whence the Latin specific epithet lanata. The deep violet purple flowers are borne on narrow spikes, and give off the familiar lavender scent.
L. lanata is cultivated in temperate zones for its attractive appearance and fragrance. It is hardy in mild and coastal areas, tolerating temperatures down to about −5 °C (23 °F), but preferring a warm, sheltered location in full sun. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.Lavandula latifolia
Lavandula latifolia, known as broadleaved lavender, spike lavender or Portuguese lavender, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the western Mediterranean region, from central Portugal to northern Italy (Liguria) through Spain and southern France. Hybridization can occur in the wild with English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).
The scent of Lavandula latifolia is stronger, with more camphor, and more pungent than Lavandula angustifolia scent. For this reason the two varieties are grown in separate fields.Lavandula multifida
Lavandula multifida, the fernleaf lavender or Egyptian lavender, is a small plant, sometimes a shrub, native to the southern regions of the Mediterranean, including Iberia, Sicily and the Canary Islands.
The stems are grey and woolly. Leaves are double pinnate. Dark blue or blue violet flowers are borne on long stems held above the foliage.
It is grown both as a herb and as an ornamental plant. In cooler latitudes it is killed by winter frost, but can be grown as an annual. Cultivars include 'Spanish Eyes'.Lavandula nimmoi
Lavandula nimmoi is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae. It is found only in Arabian Peninsula.Lavandula pedunculata
Lavandula pedunculata, commonly called French lavender, is a species of flowering plant in the Lamiaceae family. It is known for its butterfly-like, narrow petals that emerge from the top of its narrow stalk. L. pedunculata is native to Iberia, Morocco and western Turkey.
Lavandula are small aromatic evergreen shrubs with usually narrow, simple, entire, toothed or lobed leaves and small tubular flowers in dense spikes in summer.Details
L. pedunculata subsp. pedunculata is a bushy evergreen shrub with narrow, grey-green leaves, and small violet flowers in long-stalked, dense ovoid heads tipped with large purple bracts.Plant range
Iberian peninsula.How to grow
Grow in well-drained soil in a sheltered, sunny position.
Propagate by seed or semi-hardwood cuttings
Suggested planting locations and garden types
Banks and Slopes Flower borders and beds Garden Edging Drought Resistant City & Courtyard Gardens Cottage & Informal Garden Gravel Garden Mediterranean Climate Plants Patio & Container Plants Rock Garden Wildlife Gardens CoastalLavandula pinnata
Lavandula pinnata (sometimes called fernleaf lavender) is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to southern Madeira and the Canary Islands (Lanzarote). It was first described in 1780.Lavandula rotundifolia
Lavandula rotundifolia is a species of flowering plants of the Lamiaceae family. The species is endemic to Cape Verde. The species was named by George Bentham in 1833. Its local name is aipo. The plant is used in traditional medicine for treating stomach aches.Lavandula stoechas
Lavandula stoechas, the Spanish lavender or topped lavender (U.S.) or French lavender (U.K.), is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, occurring naturally in several Mediterranean countries, including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.Lavandula viridis
Lavandula viridis, commonly known as green lavender or white lavender, is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, occurring naturally in Spain and Portugal.Lavender oil
Lavender oil is an essential oil obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. Two forms are distinguished, lavender flower oil, a colorless oil, insoluble in water, having a density of 0.885 g/mL; and lavender spike oil, a distillate from the herb Lavandula latifolia, having density 0.905 g/mL. Like all essential oils, it is not a pure compound; it is a complex mixture of phytochemicals, including linalool and linalyl acetate. As of 2011, the biggest lavender oil producer in the world is Bulgaria.Merrifieldia chordodactylus
Merrifieldia chordodactylus is a moth of the family Pterophoridae. It is found on the Canary Islands and in Spain. It has also been recorded from Algeria and Morocco.
The wingspan is 20–21 millimetres (0.79–0.83 in).The larvae possibly feed on Lavandula abrotanoides and Lavandula multifida.Merrifieldia malacodactylus
Merrifieldia malacodactylus is a moth of the family Pterophoridae. It is known from Central Asia, Yemen, Mediterranean Europe, Tunisia, Morocco, Anatolia, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and Russia.Adults are very variable.
The larvae feed on Origanum vulgare, Thymus herba-barona, Lavandula stoechas, Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula latifolia, Calamintha nepeta, Rosmarius officinalis and Nepeta nepetellae.Nola subchlamydula
Nola subchlamydula is a moth of the family Nolidae. It is found in North Africa and Southern and South-Eastern Europe.
The wingspan is 17–19 mm.
The larvae feed on Teucrium chamaedrys, Salvia and Lavandula stoechas.Pullu I Nature Park
Pullu I Nature Park (Turkish: Pullu I Tabiat Parkı) is a coastal nature park in Anamur ilçe (district) of Mersin Province, Turkey. The index "I" is to distinguish the park from a neighboring park with the same name.
The park at 36°5′15″N 32°54′38″E is a coastal park between the Mediterranean Sea and the Mersin-Anamur highway D.400, which runs parallel to Mediterranean Sea coast. Anamur and Mamure Castle are to the west, Bozyazı and Mersin are to the east and Bozdoğan village is to the north of the park. Its distance to Anamur is 7 km (4.3 mi) and to Mersin is 220 km (140 mi). It covers an area of 10.3 ha (25 acres). In 1980, the area at the Mediterranean Sea side was declared a recreation area. In 2011, it was registered as a nature park by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.The nature park offers outdoor recreational activities for 1,000–1,500 visitors on daily basis such as hiking, swimming and picnicing. Camping and renting of cottages or bungalows are also available. The park offers place for 180 campers and 30 caravans.The nature park has Mediterranean climate. Dominant vegetation in the park are the trees red pine (Pinus resinosa) and jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) as well as the shrubs topped lavender (Lavandula stoechas), marjoram (Origanum) and caper spurge (Euphorbia lathyris). Tne sandy beach of the nature park is an ovulation site for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), living in the coastal sea of Anamur, may be also observed at site.Thymus moroderi
Thymus moroderi is a small plant from the genus Thymus. It is endemic to some areas in the southern, driest part of the Alicante province (where it is called cantahueso or cantueso both in Spanish and Valencian) along with some isolated and similarly subarid locations in the contiguous Región de Murcia (Spain).
Thymus moroderi must not be confused with the somewhat similar in appearance (yet from the genus Lavandula) Lavandula stoechas, which is also called cantueso in Spanish.
When not blooming, thymus moroderi is an inconspicuous, dark green plant with tiny leaves and an overall modest appearance. Its typical size is small, with mature specimens reaching in optimal conditions a radius of some 25 cm, and approximately 20 cm height.
It blooms from April through early June; during these weeks, its normally dull appearance changes dramatically by virtue of its conspicuous flowers.
Thymus moroderi is a xerophyte plant which thrives in areas with a total annual precipitation of 300mm and less, as recorded in the southern part of the Alicante province and contiguous areas in Murcia. It also shows a preference for otherwise extremely poor soils, especially those showing traces of gypsum.
Despite Thymus moroderi not being listed in any endangered species collection, arguably it is not a common species because of its patchy distribution, often being present within areas densely populated, with the risk of flower picking for traditional usages (which, despite recommendations to only trim the plant, some may still carry out by uprooting it completely).