39 species, including some hybrids, see text.
The lavenders (Lavandula) are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. An Old World genus, distributed from Macaronesia (Cape Verde and Canary Islands and Madeira) across Africa, the Mediterranean, South-West Asia, Arabia, Western Iran and South-East India. It is thought the genus originated in Asia but is most diversified in its western distribution. The genus includes annuals, herbaceous plants, subshrubs, and small shrubs. The native range extends across the Canary Islands, North and East Africa, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia and India. Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens worldwide, they are occasionally found growing wild as garden escapees, well beyond their natural range. However, since lavender cross-pollinates easily, there are countless variations within the species. The color of the flowers of some forms has come to be called lavender. Contents [hide]
1.1 Nomenclature and taxonomy
1.1.2 Current classification
2 Growing lavenders
3.1 Culinary use
3.2 Medicinal use
3.3 Health precautions
3.3.1 Controversy over possible endocrine-disrupting activity 3.4 Other uses
5 Taxonomic table
9 External links
The leaves are long and narrow in most species. In other species they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, sometimes multiple pinnate and dissected. Flowers are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage. Flowers may be blue, violet or lilac. The calyx is tubular, with five lobes. The corolla is often asymmetric. Nomenclature and taxonomy
Historically L. stoechas, L. pedunculata and L. dentata were described in Roman times (Lis-Balchin 2002). From the Middle Ages onwards, the European species were considered two separate groups or genera, Stoechas (LL. stoechas, pedunculata, dentata) and Lavandula (LL. spica, latifolia), until Linnaeus combined them, believing the name lavandula derived from the Latin 'lavare' to wash, referring to the use of infusions of the plants. He only recognised 5 species in the Species Plantarum (1753), L. multifida and L. dentata (Spain) and L. stoechas and L. spica from Southern Europe. L. pedunculata was included within L. stoechas. By 1790 L. pinnata and L. carnosa were recognised. The latter was subsequently transferred to Anisochilus. By 1826 de Lassaras described 12 species in three sections, and by 1848 eighteen species were known. One of the first modern major classifications was that of Dorothy Chaytor in 1937 at Kew. The six sections she proposed for 28 species still left many intermediates that could not easily be assigned. Her sections included Stoechas, Spica, Subnudae, Pterostoechas, Chaetostachys and Dentatae. However all the major cultivated and commercial forms resided in the Stoechas and Spica sections. There were four species within Stoechas (Lavandula stoechas, L. dentata, L. viridis and L. pedunculata) while Spica had three (L. officinalis (now L. angustifolia), L. latifolia and L. lanata). She believed that the garden varieties were hybrids between true lavender L. angustifolia and spike lavender (L. latifolia).  Current classification
Currently Lavandula is considered to have 3 subgenera (Upson and Andrews 2004), Lavandula, Fabricia and Sabaudia. In addition there are numerous hybrids and cultivars in commercial and horticultural usage. A number of other species within Lamiaceae are closely related (outgroups) including Ocimum...