Lavender has been grown for centuries primarily for its scent and herbal properties, and is now a very popular garden plant. Flowers are borne on thin stems, and are made up of several flowers on a short spike. Colours are pale to deep purple or white. Open flowers show small but distinctive yellow anthers; flowers open from the bottom of a spike upwards. Some forms, such as the Spanish Lavender (L. stoechas) have long, flag-like petals at the top of each spike.
Lavender is grown in plantations. Supplies come mostly from Victoria, NSW and Qld.
What to look for
- Buy when flowers are open and showing full colour;
- Avoid bunches with dried flowers.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Strip leaves from the lower half of each stem and wash stem ends thoroughly.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem and place in water immediately.
- Always use a preservative as this will help buds to open.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative every day.
- Lavender makes a great dried flower. Hang bunches upside-down in a dry, well-ventilated room.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
The name comes from the Latin ‘lavare’ which means ‘to wash’, as lavender water was commonly used for this purpose by the Greeks and Romans.
During the height of the Plague glove makers in France would scent their gloves with lavender oil, and this was claimed to ward off the Plague. This practice may have worked, as the Plague was transmitted by fleas, which lavender is known to repel.
Spanish Lavender oil (L. stoechas) can cause complications in pregnant women.
Botanical Name: Lavandula angustifolia, L. stoechas
Common Names: Lavender
Stem Length: 30 to 60 cm
Country of Origin: Mediterranean
Available Colours: Purple