Lavender vs. Lavandin, isn’t a fight but more of a comparison. To most people, lavender is any plant in the genus Lavandula. However, there are 47 species of lavender in the genus Lavandula. Furthermore, each of those species combined contain hundreds of different cultivars of lavender. However, to distinguish between some of the species you will often here words like “French Lavender” or “English Lavender.” You may also here the words Lavandin or True Lavender used. Or even, true lavender vs. hybrid lavender. All of these words are typically used to separate two of the most commons species of lavender. Lavandula Angustifolia AKA English Lavender AKA True Lavender and Lavandula X Intermedia AKA French Lavender AKA Lavandin AKA Hybrid Lavender.
We will start with the Lavandins. What is a Lavandin? A Lavandin is a lavender from the species Lavandula X Intermedia. The X signifies this species is a hybrid lavender. It is a cross between Lavandula Angustifolia (AKA English or True Lavender) and Lavandula Latifolia (AKA Spike Lavender).
Lavandins have characteristics of both species that make it. Lavandis are long stemmed. Typically, but not always they have a a spike shaped flower head. They are sweet smelling (from the angustifolia lavender) but often have some camphor undertones (from the latifolia lavender). Lavandins tend, but not always, to be lighter grayish purple. Overall Lavandins are great for sachets, bouquets, and dried lavender for scent. They are not great for culinary uses due to their camphor content.
The other species of lavender that is most common is Lavandula Angustifolia. AKA True Lavender AKA English Lavender. Lavandula Angustifolia tends to have shorter stems than lavandins, smell sweeter, have darker colors, and taste very sweet and floral. Most Lavandins will have stems 24″ or longer while true lavenders will have 12-18″ stems. These lavenders often, but not always, have darker blueish purples buds compared to the grayish purple of the lavandins. Angustifolia lavender is not a hybrid and can cross pollinate with other cultivars in its species. Thus there are about 100 different cultivars in this species.
True lavender is great for cooking, and can be used in almost all of the way lavandins can. However, lavandins tend to have a stronger scent.
One of the main reasons it is important to distinguish between lavender and lavandin is due to their essential oils. Lavender essential oils have been shown to reduce anxiety and help with sleep. However, lavandins contain camphor which can be invigorating, which can be great, but not when you are trying to relax. Thus, most often you will see lavandin oil and lavender oils seperated in the essential oil marketplace. Lavandins are great for products like soaps and lotions and many people prefer this type of essential oil due to their familiarity with the lavandin scent. Most people think of the lavandin scent as lavender because that is the smell they are most familiar with. If you have ever owned a sachet or used dried lavender for scent it is most likely lavandin. Thus, lavandins are great for making lavender products. However, for aromatherapy, relaxation and sleep aides lavender is much more helpful.
In our shop, the varieties Super and Grosso are Lavandins. All other varieties are lavenders. Read more information about the different varieties here.
Lavandins and Lavenders are both great for their scent, decoration, and their potent essential oils. However, lavandins are best used for their strong scent and long stems while lavenders are best for culinary purposes, aromatherapy, decoration. We hope this was helpful, let us know if you have any questions.