Lavender

Lavender, a small shrub native to the Mediterranean region and widely grown for its fragrant flowers. The shrub grows one to three feet (30 to 90 cm) tall. It produces cylindrical spikes of tiny flowers, usually of the shade of blue called lavender, although pink, purple, and white varieties also are grown.

Lavender is grown commercially in England and France for its flowers, which are distilled to produce oil of lavender, a substance used in perfumes and in lavender water. The dried flowers are used in sachets and potpourris. The two main species used for this purpose are English lavender and Spanish, or French, lavender.

Lavender is usually grown from stem cuttings. It grows best in a light, well-drained soil, and is most fragrant when grown in poorly fertilized soils.

Lavender belongs to the mint family, Labiatae. English lavender is Lavandula angustifolia ; Spanish, L. stoecha.

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