What is the relationship between Lavender, Spike Lavender and Lavandin ?

On my recent educational aromatherapy adventure I spent time in Southern France where I studied with one of my dear teachers Rhiannon Lewis.

I always feel a deep gratitude for the opportunity to study the plants and the essential oils distilled from these plants in their native environment. One of the special treats was to learn more about 2 specific Lavender species and Lavandin.

Perhaps the 2 most popular Lavender species are Lavandula angustifolia (True Lavender) and Lavandula latifolia (Spike Lavender). However, Mother Nature provides many other Lavender species.

Lavandula x intermedia (Lavandin) is a natural cross between True Lavender and Spike Lavender with the help of bees foraging both species. It is thus called a hybrid.

The color of the lavender plant does not identify the True Lavender, Spike Lavender or Lavandin. It is the different morphology of each plant that identifies them.

True Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) –  the ‘mother’ of Lavandin has only single flowering spikes, she never has any other flowering branches.

 

 

 

 

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Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia) – the ‘father’ of Lavandin, is all branched with flowers, and it is also very airy and taller.

 

 

 

 

 

Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) is bigger than the above mentioned Lavender species (his ‘parents’) in the field. Because it is a hybrid, it is always much bigger than its ‘parents’, and has a much stronger aroma. Lavandin has the single flowering spike and the branched flowering spikes on the same plant. One hectare of Lavandin will produce 5 times more essential oil than Lavender species, thus Lavandin essential oil is less expensive, widely available and very popular in the gardens.

Lavandin hybrid is sterile and it cannot reproduce through seed. It reproduces through cuttings, and offers different clones.

The 3 major Lavandin clones (the most cultivated) are:

Lavandula x intermedia clone abrialits chemistry leans more towards Spike Lavender and so its therapeutic properties have more physical qualities, for example muscle and joint pain relief, it soothes insect bites, has anti-infectious properties, …

Lavandula x intermedia clone super – leans more towards True Lavender providing gentle sedative,  and stress relieving effects. It is well suited for the stress management.

Lavandula x intermedia clone grosso – is the most widely cultivated at present, perhaps not for its therapeutic qualities, but for its strong lavender like scent that makes it widely used in the soap, detergents, and other scented products industries, and/or for general (less costly) lavender like ambiance.

Take a closer look to see what is growing in your garden :-).

And by the way, it is not fair to consider Lavandin a ‘pure man lavender’. It is a very versatile essential oil, reflecting qualities of its ‘parents’.

However, to know what is really in your “Lavender” bottle, make sure to look at the Latin name of the plant the essential oil is derived from, and the country of origin (printed on the label under the common name of the oil, or question the retailer in case this information is missing), to make sure you are really getting what you intended to get.

Posted by ramsaromatics

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