Real Lavender – How To Recognize It

For thousands of years, real lavender has been one of the most important and valuable medicinal and spice plants, although the plant is now rarely found both in culture and in the wild. Numerous cultivars and hybrids have taken their place, but they can neither be used in the kitchen nor in medicine. Therefore, in this article, you will find information on how to recognize real lavender.

Real lavender versus lavender

True lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) faces its greatest competition from the hybrid lavender, a cross between true and high spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia). This cultivated lavender is also the one that is mostly grown in the endless lavender fields of Provence and Tuscany. In the garden and in the wild – although the lavender does not become wild – you can distinguish the two species primarily by their height and their leaves. The following table gives you an overview.

When buying, pay attention to additives such as “fine” or “extra”.

If you want to buy lavender oil, pay attention to the additives “fine” or “extra” – only then do you actually buy real lavender oil. Since the yield of the pure oil from real lavender is very meager, it also achieves correspondingly high prices and is often replaced in the industry by the inferior oil of lavender or even by artificial flavorings. These may smell similarly beguiling, but they do not have the same medicinal or culinary effect.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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