Origin: Europe, Asia, and northern/eastern Africa

Family: Lamiaceae
Scientific Name: Lavandula angustifolia (also L. officinalis)

Folk Names: Spike, elf leaf, nard, nardus,

Other Common Varieties:
Spike lavender (S) (Lavandula spika): wider/rougher leaves, more mentally-stimulating;
Lavendin (x) (Lavandula x intermedia): hybrid of true and spike lavenders;
French lavender (F) (Lavandula stoechas)


Element: Air
Day: Wednesday
Planet: Mercury
Zodiac: Gemini, Virgo, Aquarius
Associated Celebrations: Midsummer
Deities: Hecate, Mercury, Saturn, and Vesta

Magical Properties: Chastity, communication, creativity, divination, happiness, healing, legal, longevity, love, meditation, peace, protection, purification, relaxation, spirituality

Substitutions: Chamomile, rose, valerian


In Ancient Rome lavender was often considered a type of nardus, despite being unrelated to true spikenard - Pliny the Elder referred to L. stoechas as “false nard”. The Romans used nardus in perfumery, spiced wine, and soaps. At the time, a pound of flowers cost roughly the same as a farm labourer’s monthly wage.

In the Middle Ages, it was believed that carrying lavender gave one the ability to see ghosts. It was associated with love, and believed to be an anaphrodisiac. by the Renaissance period, it was believed that wearing lavender with a sprig of rosemary would preserve a woman’s chastity.

Lavender was introduced to England in the Elizabethan period. Queen Elizabeth was said to always keep a jar of lavender preserve at her table, and it was also popular as a strewing herb and in linen cupboards. Soap-maker William Yardley managed to gain a monopoly on lavender in England by the 1770s.

In Victorian England, lavender perfume was incredibly popular amongst sex workers, who used it to attract and identify themselves to potential clients.

Magical Uses


Flash Point: 78°C
Scent Type: Floral
Perfume Note: Middle; middle/top (x), top (S)
Part Used: Flowers
Extraction Method: Steam distillation
Scent Description: Floral-herbaceous scent with balsamic-woody undertones

Aromatherapeutic Uses

Balance and calmness.
True Lavender: used to treat burns, insect bites, allergies, acne. Sedating: helps with anxiety and insomnia. Antispasmodic
Spike Lavender (S): used to help respiratory ailments and infections, and for mental stimulation.
Lavendin (x): stronger antiseptic properties than other varieties. Very similar in scent to true lavender, but quicker/cheaper to produce, thus often used as a substitute.
French Lavender (F): some analgesic properties, often used to help with sore muscles, aches, and pains.



There are over 40 recognised species of lavender, ranging from annuals and short-lived perennials through to more long-living perennials.

Type: Herbaceous shrub
Plant Height: 1m-2m
Leaves: Often narrow and grey-ish, most are covered in very fine hairs
Flowers: Compact purple-ish flowers form on raised leafless stems; the individual flowers are tubular with 5 petals

Etymology: The name ‘lavender’ has been related to two Latin words: lavare (to wash) and livere (blueish). Angustifolia is Latin for “narrow leaf”.

In the Garden

Type: Perennial
Sow: Autumn
Light: Bright light
Water: Keep moderately dry
Soil: Well-drained

Companion Planting: Chamomile; basil, lemon balm, oregano, rosemary, sage.