Lavender / Лаванда
Genus: Lavandula L.
About 25-30, including:
The lavenders Lavandula are a genus of about 25-30 species of flowering
plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native from the Mediterranean
region south to tropical Africa and east to India. The genus includes
annuals, herbaceous plants, subshrubs, and small shrubs. The native
range extends across the Canary Islands, North and East Africa, south
Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia, and India. Because the cultivated
forms are planted in gardens world-wide, they are occasionally found
growing wild, as garden escapes, well beyond their natural range.
Cultivation and uses
The most common species in cultivation is the Common Lavender Lavandula
angustifolia (formerly L. officinalis). A wide range of cultivars can be
found. Other commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L.
dentata, and L. multifida.
Lavenders are much grown in gardens. Flower spikes are used for dried
flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds
are used in potpourris. Dried and sealed in pouches, they are placed
among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and as a
deterrent to moths. The plant is also grown commercially for extraction
of lavender oil from the flowers. This oil is used as an antiseptic and
Lavender flowers yield abundant nectar which yields a high quality honey
for beekeepers. Lavender honey is produced primarily in the nations
around the Mediterranean, and marketed worldwide as a premium product.
Lavender flowers can be candied and are used as cake decoration.
Lavender is also used as a herb, either alone or as an ingredient of
herbes de Provence.
The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian
city of Naarda. It was also commonly called nard.
During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which
was about the same as months wage for a farm labourer or 50 haircuts
from the local barber. Lavender was commonly used in Roman baths to
scent the water, and it was thought to restore the skin. When the Roman
Empire conquered southern Britain, the Romans introduced lavender.
During the height of the Plague, glove makers at Grasse would scent
their leathers with lavender oil, and this was claimed to ward off the
Plague. This story could have some validity as the Plague was
transmitted by fleas, which lavender is known to repel.
Lavender has been extensively used in herbalism. An infusion of lavender
is claimed to soothe and heal insect bites. Bunches of lavender are also
said to ward off insects. If applied to the temples, lavender oil is
said to soothe headaches. Lavender is frequently used as an aid to
0