What Is The Difference Between Lavandin And Lavender

Lavandin and lavender, two staples in the world of aromatherapy and perfumery, often confuse enthusiasts and professionals alike due to their similar appearances and overlapping uses. Despite their similarities, these plants possess distinct characteristics that set them apart. Originating from different botanical backgrounds, each plays a unique role in various industries, from cosmetics to culinary arts.

Lavandin is a hybrid plant, born from the cross-pollination of true lavender and spike lavender. This genetic blend results in a robust plant that is larger and possesses a sharper, more camphor-like scent compared to its parent, true lavender, which is renowned for its soothing aroma and therapeutic qualities. Understanding these differences is crucial for utilizing their respective benefits effectively.

While both plants are celebrated for their fragrant flowers and essential oils, they serve distinct purposes that cater to different needs and preferences. Lavandin, with its potent aroma and higher oil content, is often favored in the manufacturing of soaps and candles, whereas lavender is preferred in therapeutic and relaxation products due to its calming properties.

Origins and History

Lavender Overview

Origin and Historical Use

Lavender, scientifically known as Lavandula angustifolia, has been cherished for centuries, with its origins tracing back to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India. This herb is renowned for its fragrant purple flowers and has been used since ancient times, not only for its pleasant aroma but also for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. Historical records suggest that lavender was used by the Romans for bathing, cooking, and scenting the air, and by medieval herbalists to soothe spirits and support sleep.

Lavandin Development

Hybridization History

Lavandin, or Lavandula x intermedia, is a hybrid species derived from true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia). The crossbreeding, which occurred naturally in the wild areas where both parent species coexisted, was later honed by cultivators seeking to combine the robustness of spike lavender with the aromatic qualities of true lavender.

Differences in Cultivation

Lavandin plants are more vigorous and yield more abundant flowers and essential oils than their lavender counterparts, which make them particularly appealing for commercial cultivation. They thrive in well-drained soils and full sun, making them suitable for a broader range of climatic conditions than true lavender, which prefers cooler, rockier settings.

Botanical Differences

Plant Characteristics

Visual Distinctions

Lavender typically grows to a height of about 60 centimeters and features narrow, grey-green leaves with tubular flowers that can range from pale lilac to deep violet. Lavandin, on the other hand, grows taller, up to one meter, and has broader leaves and larger flower spikes, which contribute to its greater visual impact in a garden setting.

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Growth Patterns

Lavender plants form dense, bushy shrubs with a rounded shape, ideal for borders and decorative paths in gardens. Lavandin plants are more sprawling, with a tendency to spread out and occupy more space, which often leads them to be used in larger landscape projects or for commercial purposes where ample room is available.

Genetic Composition

Key Genetic Differences

The genetic makeup of lavandin includes characteristics from both of its parent plants. This hybrid vigor often results in greater resistance to disease and pests, as well as an ability to adapt to slightly more varied conditions than lavender.

Impact on Growth and Properties

The hybrid nature of lavandin not only affects its growth and aesthetic attributes but also its oil composition, which is richer in camphors than that of lavender. This difference plays a significant role in how the plants are used, particularly in the production of essential oils and scented products.

Aromatic Profiles

Lavender Scent

Description of Scent

True lavender’s scent is famously calming and relaxing, with a floral, sweet, and slightly woody fragrance. It is often associated with cleanliness and tranquility and is used extensively in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, alleviate stress, and aid in sleep.

Common Uses in Products

The essential oil derived from lavender is a staple in the cosmetic and wellness industries, appearing in a vast array of products such as soaps, perfumes, aromatherapy oils, and lotions. It is also used in household cleaners and fresheners for its gentle, pleasing scent and natural antibacterial properties.

Lavandin Scent

Scent Characteristics

Lavandin oil is more robust and pungent than lavender oil, with a sharper, more penetrating aroma due to its higher camphor content. This makes it less desirable for therapeutic and relaxation purposes but valuable in products where a stronger fragrance is beneficial.

Usage in Industries

Due to its potent aroma and higher yield, lavandin oil is commonly used in the fragrance industry for soaps, candles, and air fresheners. It’s also favored in the manufacturing of cleaning products, where its stronger scent and antimicrobial properties are particularly effective.

Therapeutic Benefits

Lavender Benefits

Health and Wellness Applications

Lavender is highly regarded for its calming effects on the mind and body. It is frequently used in aromatherapy to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and decrease stress levels. Its oil, when diluted and applied topically, can also provide relief from skin irritations and mild burns. Furthermore, inhaling lavender scent has been found to lower heart rate and blood pressure, positioning it as a natural remedy for calming nervous system disturbances.

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Scientific Backing

Numerous studies support lavender’s efficacy in health and wellness. Research indicates that inhaling lavender oil vapors can significantly alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Another study highlights its potential in improving sleep patterns in individuals suffering from insomnia. These benefits are attributed to the compound linalool, which is present in high concentrations in lavender oil.

Lavandin Benefits

Comparative Advantages

Lavandin, with its robust growth and higher oil yield, is often chosen over lavender for large-scale production. Its oil contains a higher concentration of camphor, which is effective in treating respiratory issues when used in aromatherapy.

Research and Applications

Recent studies suggest that lavandin oil can be a powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent. Its use in soaps and cleaning products not only imparts a strong fragrance but also helps in reducing bacterial and fungal growth.

Cultivation and Production

Lavender Cultivation

Geographical Preferences

Lavender thrives in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun. It is native to the Mediterranean region but has been successfully cultivated in various parts of Europe, North America, and Australia. The ideal growing conditions include open areas with plenty of sunlight, minimal moisture, and good air circulation.

Harvesting Techniques

Harvesting lavender involves cutting the flower spikes when they are in full bloom, which is typically in late June or early July. The timing of the harvest is crucial for optimizing the oil content and fragrance of the flowers. Harvesting is often done in the morning after the dew has evaporated but before the sun is at its strongest, which helps preserve the delicate essential oils.

Lavandin Production

Scale and Methods

Lavandin is cultivated primarily for its essential oil, which is used extensively in the fragrance and cosmetic industries. The production involves planting large fields that can be mechanically harvested, which is more cost-effective due to lavandin’s ability to thrive in less ideal conditions and its higher yield per plant.

Economic Impact

The economic benefits of growing lavandin are significant, especially in regions unsuitable for traditional lavender farming. Its ability to adapt to various soil types and environments allows for broader cultivation, contributing to the local economy through both agriculture and related industries like distillation and product manufacturing.

Uses in Products

Culinary Uses

Lavender in Cooking

Lavender is a beloved herb in the culinary world, known for its sweet, floral flavor with hints of mint and citrus. It is used to enhance desserts like ice cream and cakes, as well as savory dishes such as stews and marinades.

Lavandin Flavor Profiles

Though less commonly used in cooking than lavender, lavandin can impart a robust flavor to dishes where a stronger herb presence is desired. Its slightly camphorous edge makes it suitable for more aromatic recipes, like roasted meats and heavier pastries.

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Cosmetic and Therapeutic Products

Essential Oils and Skincare

Lavender oil is a staple in skincare, renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is used in creams, lotions, and balms to soothe skin conditions like eczema and acne. Lavandin oil, while similar, is typically used in less concentration in skincare due to its stronger scent and higher camphor content.

Differences in Product Formulations

Products formulated with lavender oil are often marketed for their therapeutic properties, particularly for stress relief and relaxation. Lavandin oil-based products are more commonly found in cleansing agents and air fresheners, where their antimicrobial properties and potent aroma are beneficial.

Market Impact

Commercial Demand

The demand for lavender has been consistently strong, driven by its popularity in aromatherapy and natural health products. Lavandin, while less known, has carved a niche in industrial applications where volume and cost-efficiency are prioritized.

Market Trends for Lavender

Lavender’s market is bolstered by the growing consumer interest in natural and organic products. Its appeal spans across generations and geographies, making it a staple in global wellness and cosmetic industries.

Lavandin’s Economic Footprint

Lavandin has significantly impacted the markets for essential oils and industrial fragrances. Its cultivation supports rural economies, especially in regions that are less suited for traditional crops.

Sustainability Issues

Environmental Impacts

Both lavender and lavandin are considered environmentally friendly crops. They require minimal water and pesticides, which contributes to sustainable agricultural practices.

Sustainable Practices in Cultivation

Farmers are increasingly adopting organic cultivation methods to enhance sustainability. These practices include using natural pest controls and organic fertilizers, which help maintain soil health and biodiversity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between lavandin and lavender?

Lavandin is a hybrid of true lavender and spike lavender, known for its robust size and strong, camphor-like scent. Lavender, on the other hand, is prized for its delicate fragrance and therapeutic qualities, making it ideal for use in relaxation and wellness products.

Can lavandin be used in cooking like lavender?

While lavandin can be used in culinary applications, its intense and somewhat pungent aroma makes it less suitable than lavender, which is favored for its sweet, floral flavor that enhances dishes without overpowering them.

Is lavandin better than lavender for essential oils?

Lavandin produces more oil, which is beneficial for large-scale production and is often used in cleaning products and air fresheners. However, lavender’s oil is preferred for therapeutic uses due to its soothing and medicinal properties.

How do you identify lavandin from lavender?

Lavandin plants are generally larger and have a more pronounced, woody stem compared to lavender. The flowers of lavandin are also larger and the overall aroma is sharper, with a noticeable camphor note.


Lavandin and lavender, each with their unique qualities and uses, cater to diverse needs in both personal and commercial applications. Recognizing the differences between these two can enhance one’s ability to choose the right plant for specific uses, whether it be for culinary, therapeutic, or manufacturing purposes. Understanding these nuances not only enriches one’s appreciation of these aromatic plants but also optimizes their use in everyday life.

In conclusion, whether one opts for the robust lavandin or the gentle lavender, each choice offers its own array of benefits and pleasures. Their distinctive characteristics allow them to shine in different contexts, making both essential in the realms of aromatherapy, culinary arts, and beyond.

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