Are All Lavender Varieties Edible?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Olga
Posted on: June 16, 2005

I have been given the impression that the genus of Lavendula itself as an herb is edible. I have been reading however, that some varieties are best for aromatherapy while others are considered culinary. My question is, is all lavender edible?

There are hundreds of varieties and species of lavender and not all have the same food quality. The oil of some varieties contain a relatively large camphorous component which to many people is undesirable in food. As a general rule the english lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia) have the least amount of camphor and the sweetest and flavour and scent. But in France, it is the lavandins (L. x intermedia) that are mostly grown for oil and for the famous "herbes de provence" herb mix used in cooking. Although lavandins have more camphor than L. angustifolia, the difference is slight and generally not noticeable in food. It is when you get away from the english and lavandin varieties that you get into varieties that have high camphor. Varieties such as fernleaf (L. multifida), spike (L. latifolia) and french (L. stoechas) and spanish (L. dentata) all have high camphor and may not be acceptable to everyone when used in food.

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