Wednesday, February 4, 2009

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 薰衣草

English Lavender is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the western Mediterranean region, primarily in the Pyrenees and other mountains in northern Spain.

It is a strongly aromatic shrub growing to 1–2 m tall. The leaves are evergreen, 2–6 cm long and 4–6 mm broad. The flowers are pinkish-purple (lavender-coloured), produced on spikes 2–8 cm long at the top of slender, leafless stems 10–30 cm long.

How to grow
English lavender is commonly grown as an ornamental plant. It is popular for its colourful flowers, its fragrance and its ability to survive with low water consumption. It does not grow well in continuously damp soil. It is fairly tolerant of low temperatures, generally considered hardy to USDA zone 5.

Directly sow the seed into the soil and cover lightly as seeds benefit from light and use fertile, loose, well-drained, slightly alkaline soil. Temperature is 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, full sun or partial sun will be fine. Spacing is 18 inches between plants in rows about 18 inches apart. The seed will be germinate 2 weeks or more. Germination rates can be improved by wrapping the seed in a moist paper towel and keeping in a refrigerator for a week prior to sowing.

In addition to its use as an ornamental plant for garden landscaping, the flowers and leaves are also used as an herbal medicine, either in the form of lavender oil or as an herbal tea. The flowers are also used as a culinary herb, most often as part of the French herb blend called herbes de Provence.

Lavender essential oil, when diluted with a carrier oil, is commonly used as a relaxant with massage therapy. Products for home use including lotions, eye pillows—including lavender flowers or the essential oil itself—bath oils, etc. are also used to induce relaxation

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