Lavandula (common name lavender) is a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, southern Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, for use as culinary herbs, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia is often referred to as lavender, and there is a colour named for the shade of the flowers of this species.The genus includes annual or short-lived herbaceous perennial plants, and suffrutescent perennials, subshrubs or small shrubs.Leaf shape is diverse across the genus. They are simple in some commonly cultivated species; in others they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, sometimes multiple pinnate and dissected. In most species the leaves are covered in fine hairs or indumentum, which normally contain the essential oils.
Flowers are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage, the spikes being branched in some species. Some species produce coloured bracts at the apices. The flowers may be blue, violet or lilac in the wild species, occasionally blackish purple or yellowish. The calyx is tubular. The corolla is also tubular, usually with five lobes (the upper lip often cleft, and the lower lip has two clefts). The English word lavender is generally thought to be derived from Old French lavandre, ultimately from the Latin lavare (to wash), referring to the use of infusions of the plants.The botanic name Lavandula as used by Linnaeus is considered to be derived from this and other European vernacular names for the plants. However it is suggested that this explanation may be apocryphal, and that the name may actually be derived from Latin livere, "blueish".
Lavender Oil is steam distilled from the freshly cut flowering tops and stalks of Lavandula Officinalis, a wild growing or cultivated plant, native to the Mediterranean countries. Distillation takes place mainly in the south of France where the plants grow at medium altitudes of this mountainous region (from 600to 1500 metres altitude). Distilleries located at high altitude produce oils of higher ester content, not only because of the theory that the high-altitude, wild-growing plants contain more esters, but also because of the fact that high-altitude distillation means lower temperature-boiling. Consequently, the distilled
oil is not exposed to 100”C. hot steam, but perhaps only to 92 or 93”C.
An absolute gem, among the top materials for blending. Lavender has been responsible for many successful fragrances worldwide and is still going strong. There is whole family of Perfumes namely Fougeres that are based on Lavender. Lavender Oil (French type) is a colorless or pale yellow liquid of sweet, floral-herbaceous refreshing odor with a pleasant, balsamic-woody undertone. An almost fruity-sweet top note is of a very short life, and the entire oil is not distinguished by its tenacity in odor. It is used extensively in colognes (citrus-colognes or the well-known lavender-waters), in fougeres, chypres, ambres and countless floral, semi-floral or particularly in non-floral perfume types. The oil blends well with bergamot and other citrus oils, clove oils etc.