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Importance of Lavender: Botanic Features and Types!
Lavender are dicotyledonous shrubs of the Lamiaceae family and of the genus Lavandula, with the most frequently purple or violet flowers arranged in spikes, of which the majority of species, particularly odorous, are used a lot.
As for many common plants in our gardens, we think of “Lavender” as a single subject, but just look a little on the subject to realize that it is not. There are indeed different types of lavender, a good twenty even, very close to each other, but it is actually relatively simple to distinguish them from each other. Fine lavender, aspic or lavandin do not have the same aroma, perfumes are not mistaken, and show some small differences, both in their appearance and in their use, which will allow you to choose them well
Types of Lavender
Lavender is one of those plants known to all. It colors Provencal fields and embalms our gardens in summer. Do you know that there are several species? Here is the most famous lavender.
Lavandula stoechas, butterfly lavender
Lavandula stoechas, better known as butterfly lavender, owes its name to its inflorescences in ears of corn with long bracts of a mauve brighter than the ear that bears them. From a distance, these very airy toupees look like butterfly wings. This early species flowers from May to July, even earlier in regions with mild winters where we can appreciate its flowering at the end of February.
Its port is compact, it does not exceed 60 cm in height for 45 of spreading. This lavender with fine foliage gray/green slightly fluffy appreciates the soils with acid tendency, very drained, and obviously, the full sun! Melliferous, it attracts pollinating insects irresistibly in your garden.
This lavender is widely used in the industry of indoor air fresheners and in detergents because its scent is fresh.
Lavandula angustifolia, true lavender or lavender officinale
Lavandula angustifolia, true lavender or officinal lavender, is the one chosen in luxury perfumery where its fine and delicate scents have been appreciated for decades. Rarer than other species, it grows only 800 meters above sea level in calcareous, dry and stony soils, particularly in Haute-Provence, and flowers from June. If the soil is very drained, it resists very well cold in winter.
This beautiful lavender forms a dense bush with very aromatic silvery-green foliage, its very slender stems each carrying only one terminal spike of flowers blue/mauve. Its essential oil is used to soothe, calm and it is also a good antiseptic.
There are so many cultivars that it is possible to start a beautiful collection!
✓ ‘Alba’ or ‘Hidcote White’ bear beautiful spikes of white flowers, ✓ ‘Loddon Pink’ is adorned with soft pastel pink, ✓ ‘Silver Dwarf’ has totally silvery foliage and purple bluish flower spikes.
Lavandula dentata, English lavender
Lavandula dentata, English lavender, has a beautiful light green crenate foliage that forms a round tuft 50 cm high. The flowers are borne in pale blue spikes, usually in summer, or almost all year round in areas with a warm climate. Be careful despite its vernacular name, this lavender does not come from England at all and is not rustic! However, it tolerates short frosts (down to -6 ° C in well-drained soil and once well installed), but certainly not prolonged frost. English lavender has the same medicinal properties as other lavender.
Perfect for cooking, both tasty and sweet, with a grass aroma reminiscent of rosemary and thyme. The spikes of flowers full of nectar attract butterflies, bees, and other beneficial pollinators.
Lavandula latifolia, or Lavandula spica
Lavandula latifolia (Lavandula spica syn.), The aspic lavender, forms a very branched bush, erect silhouette of a little less than a meter in height. Its greyish-green long leaves (up to 6cm) are borne by many stems ending in several ears of purple bluish flowers. This lavender gives off a camphoric smell, its essential oil also contains more than 35% of camphor for 33% of cineol (eucalyptol), which gives it a strong perfume. Anti-inflammatory and soothing, it works very well on insect bites.
This lavender is very present in Spain, but also at home, where it has the particularity to grow only at low altitude (- 600 m) and bloom a little later than other lavender, which is from July.
What’s the lavender?
Lavandula x intermedia is a natural hybrid derived from L. spica and L. Angustifolia. This is the famous lavandin! Very tolerant and therefore easy to grow, it grows on the low hills that magnify its bluish flowers in spring. Forms tufts with rounded port, rather low, its foliage is greyish green. Very productive, its yield much higher than that of the true lavender, naturally directs it towards the industrial field where it is used to perfume the household products. Regarding cosmetics and perfumes, always check the Latin name of the plant used as “lavender” because the scent of lavender has nothing in common with that of true lavender!
How to choose your lavender: its color, its height?
➢ To help you choose your lavender:
The various species and varieties of Lavender of the Angustifolia type (noted “Example” in this page) and Lavandin (noted “x inter example” in this page) can grow in the ground anywhere in France at most latitudes and altitudes as long as the terrain is healthy, well exposed (avoid shade), light and well-drained.
Blue fragrant Lavender
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote Blue’ is an evergreen shrub commonly known as blue lavender. The Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote Blue’ must find its place in all gardens.
Most Fragrant Lavender Types
The most fragrant Lavender plants are the Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia). Several cultivars of English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) are also prized for their delightful scent.
What other uses have you found for lavender? Share your thoughts below.
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