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Lavender Flower – lavandula Stoechas linn

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Description

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An evergreen shrub, it usually grows to 30–100 cm (12–39 in) tall and occasionally up to 2 m (7 ft) high in the subspecies luisieri. The leaves are 1–4 cm long, greyish and tomentose. The inflorescence is crowned by a lump of purple and oblong-egg-shaped bracts , which are about 5 cm long. The underneath flowers form a tight rectangular in cross-section. The upper of the five teeth has a wrong-heart-shaped appendage. The crown is blackish-violet, up to 8 mm long and indistinct two-lipped.

The flowers, which appear in late spring and early summer, are pink to purple, produced on spikes 2 cm long at the top of slender, leafless stems 10–30 cm (4–12 in) long; each flower is subtended by a bract 4–8 mm long. At the top of the spike are a number of much larger, sterile bracts (no flowers between them), 10–50 mm long and bright lavender purple (rarely white). It blooms in spring and early summer, from the month of March, depending on the climate where it inhabits.

The Latin specific epithet stoechas comes from the Greek stoichas meaning “in rows”. It is also the Greek name for this species.

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Lavandula stoechas is used commercially in air fresheners and insecticides. Flower spikes have been used internally for headaches, irritability, feverish colds and nausea, and externally for wounds, rheumatic pain and as an insect repellent. The lavender also produces essential oils, which are not used economically. The infusion of its dry inflorescences are febrifuge and fight the affections of the chest and bronchi. It is used as antiseptic, digestive, antispasmodic, healing and antibacterial. The flowers are used in aromatherapy, to prepare infusions and essential oils that contain ketones (d-camphor and d-fenchone) and alcohols (borneol and terpineol).

Since its introduction into Australia, it has become an invasive species, widely distributed within the continent. It has been declared a noxious weed in Victoria since 1920. It also is regarded as a weed in parts of Spain.

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