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 lends a floral and slightly sweet flavour to most dishes, and is sometimes paired with sheep's-milk and goat's-milk cheeses. For most cooking applications the dried buds, which are also referred to as flowers, are used. Some chefs experiment with the leaves but only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, from which the scent and flavour of lavender are derived. In the United States, both lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones and marshmallows.Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Lavender is also used extensively as herbal filler inside sachets used to freshen linens. Dried and sealed in pouches, lavender flowers are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and to deter moths. Dried lavender flowers have become recently popular for wedding confetti. Lavender is also popular in scented waters and sachets.
An absolute gem, among the top materials for blending. Lavander 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. Blends beautifully with almost all, special mention has to be made for Lavender forming excellent combination with Geranium and Moss(the base of Fougere Family).