dutch garden

Lavender common names are a mess

Three relatively common types are called French, Spanish, and English Lavender, respectively. Sounds informative, right? No.

This is Lavandula stoechas. It’s got the leaves you might expect, but a different sort of flower. It’s native to the Mediterranean, including parts of both Spain and France, and is usually what people mean when they say Spanish Lavender. Some historical texts call it French Lavender. 

This is L. dentata. Its leaves are “toothed” (hence the name) in contrast to the simple leaves that “ordinary” lavenders have. It’s called French Lavender, and it’s native to Spain. It is not the perfume/culinary lavender grown in France.

This is L. angustifolia. Different flowers, see? And the simple leaves you expect. This is the true, or common lavender, the classic one for perfume and such. It’s called English Lavender, of course, since it’s the one that grows in those crazy beautiful fields in Provence, France:

Just to muddy the waters further, there’s also L. latifolia, which is usually called Spike Lavender I believe. It and its hybrids with L. angustifolia are used in perfumes etc. as well. It has wider simple leaves that are maybe sometimes a little toothed on the edge, just to confuse a little, but at least they didn’t name it after a country it has little to do with.

Oh - but lavandin, the hybrid, is called Dutch Lavender! As far as I can tell there is no good reason for this! The main difference there seems to be that it does a bolder branchy thing with its flower spikes. There are other Lavandula species, but now I’m tired.

This has been a Lavender Education post, or Why Common Names Are Really Dumb Sometimes (But I Like Them Anyway).

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Alice Gets in Dutch (1924) / Over the Garden Wall (2014)

A continuation of similarities between the “Babes in the Wood” episode of OTGW and early Disney animation. Wiggly animals run rampant in shorts from this time, but I thought this clip from Alice Gets in Dutch is a nice comparison. 

(part 1) / (pt. 2)

Pieter de Hooch - Woman with basket of beans in kitchen garden

1651

oil on canvas

Kunstmuseum Basel