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Lavender Facts & History

Lavender is a member of the mint family, Laminaceae, in the genus Lanvendula.

Plants in the genus Lavandula are cultivated throughout the world, but are native from southern Europe into Africa.

Lavender use has been documented for over 2500 years.

The ancient Egyptians used lavender during mummification to perfume the corpse.

In ancient Greece, lavender was called Nardus after the Syrian city of Naarda, and was commonly called Nard.  It was incorporated in treatments for many things, such as insomnia, and backaches.

Lavender is referred to in the Bible as spikenard.

The ancient Romans used lavender oils for cooking and scenting the air, and so often for healing baths that the word lavender comes from the Latin verb lavare which means “to wash”.

In Medieval and Renaissance France, women who took in washing for hire were knows as “lavenders”, washing clothes in lavender and laying them to dry on lavender bushes.

In London in the 17th century, lavender was used as a remedy for the Great Plague.

Queen Elizabeth of England required fresh lavender flowers throughout her residence.

In the Americas, the Shakers were the first to grow lavender commercially.

There are five main types of lavender:  English Lavender, French Lavender, Spanish Lavender, Portuguese Lavender, and Lavandin, which is a natural hybrid.

According to the U.S. Lavender Growers Association, there are more than 45 species of lavender and more than 450 different varieties.

Lavender is deer and gopher resistant, bee and butterfly attractive, drought and snow tolerant, colorful, and fragrant.

While most lavender flowers come in shades of purple, some varieties have flowers that are white, yellow, or pink.

All lavender is edible, as it is a perennial herb, and lavender has been used in the preparation of food for hundreds of years.  The flower bud is used for cooking, and dried buds are about three times stronger than fresh buds.  The stem and leaves are bitter and tough.

Lavender Facts & History: Our Farm
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