Learn 10 Differences between Lavender and Lavandin, their benefits, and their uses in medicine, cosmetics, and aromatherapy.
They are two types of aromatic plants that share many similarities; however, several key differences that are important to understand.
In my area, both herbs are popular and grow abundantly in parks and gardens. Their pleasant scent and aroma often attract insects, bees, and people who enjoy their calming and uplifting fragrance. I use them in homemade cosmetics to make soap, bath bombs, oil, or salve. And also, in the kitchen, making lavender milk tea or biscuits.
While many call both herbs lavender, they are different plants with different characteristics and properties.
Let's dive deeper.
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1. Species (Genus Lavandula)
Currently, there are over 45 species of lavender plants worldwide. They differ in color, flowers, size, smell, properties, and use. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), commonly known as English or true lavender, and lavandin are two of the most common species of the same Lavandula genus. However, unlike Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), lavandin is a hybrid made of hybridization of the two plants - Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia.
Lavandin (Lavandula intermedia) is sometimes mistakenly called French lavender. Instead, it is hybrid lavender, spike lavender or grosso.
In case you are confused, I compiled a list of plants that look like lavender.
2. Appearance hybrid lavender vs lavender
You can see a few differences at first sight.
True lavender typically grows in a more compact and rounded shape, with narrow greyish leaves; the lavandin plant is more robust with broader silvery green leaves.
True lavender's light to medium purple flower heads are smaller and tightly clustered together, forming a spike-like shape at the top of the stems. For most people, it has the classic “true” flower shape with slender spikes made up of a whorl of tiny buds and flowers.
"Grosso," on the other hand, has larger and more open flowers, with a looser cluster of blooms that are dark purple or bluish.
The stems of true lavender are thinner and more delicate than those of lavandin, with a woody texture and a grayish-brown color. The stems of true lavender also tend to be more branched, with a more complex structure that can sometimes form a small bush or shrub.
3. Scent (Lavandin vs English lavender)
Lavandin and lavender are both scented herbs; however, their aroma differs.
Lavender produces a more subtle, sweet, and floral aroma with a slightly herbaceous undertone. Often described as calming and soothing, its lavender aroma is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep.
Lavandin, on the other hand, has a higher camphor content that makes its scent stronger and more pungent. While lavandin is also used in aromatherapy, it is more popular in cleaning products or as an insect repellent.
However, its distinctive aroma makes it popular for use in perfume and cosmetics.
Lavender is a slower-growing plant that requires more care and attention, while lavandin grows faster and is more resistant to pests and diseases.
It can take lavender several years to reach its full size, while lavandin is a more vigorous and faster-growing plant that can reach its full size in just a few years.
Both plants prefer well-drained soil and full sun exposure and can tolerate drought and high temperatures once established.
Lavandin is a hybrid plant that is primarily grown for its essential oil. One of the factors that can influence the growth and cultivation of lavandin is altitude. Some studies have suggested that lavandin plants grown at higher altitudes may produce higher-quality essential oil with a more complex aroma and greater therapeutic value.
5. Medicinal benefits and their uses in aromatherapy (Lavandin oil Vs. Lavender Essential Oil)
Calming and relaxing properties of true lavender are often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and stress. English Lavender oil has sedative effects and can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It is thanks to its high levels of linalool and linalyl acetate. In addition, it possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that are useful for treating minor burns, insect bites, and skin irritations.
One key difference between true Lavender essential oil and oil produced from Lavandin is that Lavandin oil contains a much higher percentage of camphor, responsible for its antiseptic and expectorant properties. As a result, the lavandin oil has strong antiseptic properties and can disinfect wounds, cuts, and bruises. Moreover, lavandin essential oil serves as respiratory support that helps to lose phlegm and mucus and relieves cough and cold. In addition, lavandin makes a useful insect repellent.
Another key difference is that Lavandin varieties can produce up to three times more essential oil per kilogram of plant material compared to lavender varieties.
6. Lavender and lavandin culinary uses
However, you can use both in the kitchen in different ways due to their unique flavors and aromas.
English lavender's floral and slightly sweet flavor often complements sweet dishes, such as desserts, syrups, jams and lavender cakes. You can also find its petals in lavender sugar to flavor tea, lemonade, or cocktails.
On the other hand, the stronger and more camphorous flavor of lavandin often flavors savory dishes such as meats, stews, soups, or marinades. You can also add it to vinegar, oils, or pickles.
7. Uses lavandin and lavender in cosmetics
Both lavender and lavandin have cosmetic applications but for different purposes due to their unique benefits and scent profiles.
Lavender may be the single most popular essential oil and is likely one of the first oils I add to my homemade skincare.
The lavender essential oil can help calm and balance the skin, reduce redness and irritation, and promote a healthy complexion. Its therapeutic benefits are also used in hair care products to help soothe and condition the scalp and add shine and fragrance to the hair. I use lavender water quite regularly to enhance my hair.
Lavandin essential oil, on the other hand, is also used in cosmetics but is more of a fragrance component. It has a stronger scent and a more intense aroma than lavender. It adds a fresh note to perfumes and makes it popular in bath and body products for its uplifting and refreshing scent and in air fresheners.
You can propagate both lavender species from cuttings taken from a mature plant and rooting in well-draining soil.
While lavandin cuttings root more easily, true lavender can also grow from seeds.
On average, true lavender can live for up to 15 years or more, while lavandin has a shorter lifespan of around 8 to 10 years. However, with proper care and maintenance, both plants can live longer.
soil preparation and regular watering can help extend their lifespan. Pruning can also help prolong the lifespan of lavender plants by preventing the accumulation of woody growth and promoting healthy new growth.
10. History of Lavandin vs Lavender
The lavender family has a long and rich history of uses with meanings and symbols. The Latin word "lavare," which means "to wash," gave rise to the name "lavender." People commonly used lavender to scent and freshen up bathwater in ancient times. The Romans, for instance, added lavender to their bathwater; during medieval times, people used it to freshen up and disinfect linens and clothes. Lavender remains a popular ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and other personal care products due to its pleasant scent and natural antibacterial properties.
Lavandin, on the other hand, is a relatively recent addition to the world of lavender cultivation. The Lavandin plant originated in the valleys of France and was initially found growing wild. It was later discovered that it yields a greater crop than True Lavender. Following World War II, there was a demand for a more economical alternative to lavender that could be used for cheaper cleaning products, which is when Lavandin gained popularity. Lavandin production eventually became more profitable than true lavender, as it is easier to cultivate and has a much higher essential oil yield.