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Monday, May 25 2020
Lavender Varieties and Uses

A close up of a plant

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Many of us have heard of English, Spanish, and French lavender, but when you find out that
English lavender is found in the fields of Provence and French lavender is actually native to Spain,
it can get really get confusing. 
There are many, many different families and relatives of lavender,  and each member of each family
lends itself better than others to specific uses.  And to make things even more interesting,
of course there are hybrids in the mix! Since distinguishing the numerous varieties can get complex,
here I am sharing  my favorites in a simplified reference outline:




                                  1.  English Lavender or True Lavender
                                                                       a.  Lavandula angustifolia- native to Mediterranean - often grown in Provence
                                                                            i.  Munstead
Uses:  Culinary, Essential Oil, Infusions

                                                                     Many lavender varieties have an intense fragrance with powerful camphor notes.
                                                                     English lavender, however, tends to have a sweet, citrus scent which blends beautifully
                                                                     with sweet, citrus flavors, therefore making it the best culinary option.  True Lavender
                                                                     essential oil is also the best lavender variety for calming anxiety, stress and encouraging sleep. 
                                                                     This essential oil is quite expensive as it yields marginal amounts of essential oil,
                                                                     with yet the purest calming and soothing properties.

                                  2.  French Lavender

                                                                      a.  Lavandula dentata - native to Spain

                                                     Uses:  Fresh or Dried Bouquets, Wands, Sachets

                                                                     French lavender is slightly more pungent than English Lavender and it grows on elegant
                                                                     long stalks.  For this reason, I like working with French Lavender for wands or cutting it for bouquets.

                                                                     Although lavandula latifolia has a stronger camphor fragrance, which I prefer for sachets,
                                                                     lavandula dentata buds are fairly easy to harvest and also make lovely, fragrant sachets.  

3.  Spanish Lavender
                                                                         a.  Lavandula stoechas - native to Mediterranean and North Africa

                                                     Uses:  Smudge Bundles, Soap, Candles

                                                                     Although the essential oil from both French and Spanish Lavender is more abundant than the oil
                                                                     from English Lavender, Spanish and French essential oils are  not of equal quality.  However, both are fantastic for
                                                                     soap and candle making.  Further, because the oil is so concentrated in the Spanish Lavender buds, this
                                                                     particular lavender is my first choice when making smudge bundles.  The smoke from Spanish Lavender sprigs
                                                                     added to white sage bundles has a sweet scent and peaceful energy.

4.  Portuguese Lavender also called Spike Lavender

                                                                                a.  Lavandula latifolia - native to Western Mediterranean

                                                     Uses:  Soap, Essential Oil, Incense

                                                                     Spike Lavender has a strong camphor scent and is associated with  easing aches and pains.
                                                                     For these properties, Portuguese Lavender is wonderful in oil infusions and pain relief salves. 
                                                                     It is thought to be more energizing and stimulating than True Lavender and therefore
                                                                     more aligned with concentration and focus.   After the buds have been harvested, the
                                                                     long stalks of the Spike Lavender plant are often bundled and burned as incense to scent and cleanse the air.   



                                 5.   Lavandin - Hybrid cross between Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender) and Lavandula latifolia (Portuguese Lavender)
                                                                             a.  Lavandula x Intermedia

                                                                                  i.   Grosso

                                                                                 ii.   Provence

                                                                                iii.   Hidcote

                                                     Uses:  Sachets, Wands, Infusions, Essential Oil, Pressed Flowers, Candles

                                                                     As with any hybrid, Lavandin  offers  combined highlights from its ancestral lavender roots,
                                                                     lavandula angustifolia and lavandula latifolia.   I love Grosso lavender for its long stalks, high oil yield and
                                                                     heavenly scented flowers.  The flowers from the Grosso lavender plant are intensely fragrant, perfect
or sachets and infusions.  I also appreciate the Hidcote lavender plant for its deep violet color, a gorgeous
                                                                     accent to bath salts, candles or in bouquets.



A vase filled with purple flowers

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"It always seems to me as if the lavender was a little woman in a green dress, with a lavender bonnet and a white kerchief. She's one of those strong, sweet, wholesome people, who always rest you, and her sweetness lingers long after she goes away."

~Myrtle Reed







Posted by: Gina AT 12:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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