What is Lavandula?
Lavandula is the Latin genus referring to Lavender. There are about 39 different recognized species of this plant. Countless variations have been produced due to the ability to cross pollinate with other members in the Lavender species. Lavandula was thought to originate in Asia but the greatest plant diversity is found in the western regions of the world.
The Lavandula species is a member of the mint family known as Lamiaceae or Labiatae. This plant family is made up of many different culinary herbs which are fragrant or aromatic and have lipped flowers. They are all relatively easy to cultivate and easily propagated by stem cuttings. Their foliage is whorled with each leaf appearing opposite at right angles from the next in pairs along the stem. The stems themselves are square in shaped if cross cut.
Lavandula Anatomy - Structure and Parts of Lavender Flower
Lavandula produces Lavender colored flowers at the end of long spikes or stems which are symmetrical bilaterally with 5 united petals or lobes with a tubular calyx and asymmetric corolla.
The corolla (petals) is the part that drops off when the Lavender is dried. The calyx (bud) is the tubular structure that remains to produce seed if the plant is able to. The calyx color is what gives dried Lavender buds their color.
The Lavandula flower heads look like a whorl (ring) of flowers but are really two crowded clusters opposite each other going up the stem (also referred to as verticillastrate.) There are tiny green bracts too that cradle each of the flower clusters and are more noticeable in French Lavender flowers. Different Lavender plant varieties have resulted in different Lavender flower colors from white, pink, purple, blue, violet, yellow/green and red.
Lavandula is a very drought tolerant subshrub with shallow roots. Ideal for taking hold on rocky hillsides in gritty poor alkaline soils. The foliage can be bright green, gray, silver or fuzzy with highly aromatic foliage when brushed against or crushed. Whether you call it Lavandula or Lavender it is excellent for water conserving landscape plantings. Planting Lavender is easy when you follow these tips.