lavender

/lav"euhn deuhr/, n.
1. a pale bluish purple.
2. any Old World plant or shrub belonging to the genus Lavandula, of the mint family, esp. L. angustifolia, having spikes of fragrant, pale purple flowers.
3. the dried flowers or other parts of this plant placed among linen, clothes, etc., for scent or as a preservative.
4. Also called lavender water. toilet water, shaving lotion, or the like, made with a solution of oil of lavender.
[1225-75; ME lavendre < AF < ML lavendula, var. of livendula, nasalized var. of *lividula a plant livid in color. See LIVID, -ULE]

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Any of about 20 species of evergreen shrubs that make up the genus Lavandula in the mint family, the leaves and flowers of which contain scented oil glands.

The spikes of flowers are purple, less commonly pink or white. Native to the Mediterranean, lavender is cultivated widely. Several species yield essential oil for fine perfumes and cosmetics. The narrow fragrant leaves and flowers are dried for use in sachets and potpourris. Lavender is widely used in aromatherapy for its clean, fresh scent.

Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas).

W.H. Hodge

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plant
      any plant of the genus Lavandula, comprising about 30 species of the mint family Lamiaceae, native to countries bordering on the Mediterranean. English lavender (L. angustifolia, also called L. officinalis, L. spica, or L. vera) is cultivated widely for its essential oil and for its narrow fragrant leaves and spikes of purple flowers that are dried and used in sachets. French lavender (L. stoechas) and L. lanata, native to Spain, are also widely cultivated. The ancient Romans used lavender in their baths, and the dried flowers have long been used to scent chests and closets.

      Lavender is a small evergreen shrub with gray-green, hoary, linear leaves, and light-purple flowers sparsely arranged on spikes at the tips of long, bare stalks. The fragrance of the plant is caused by shining oil glands imbedded among tiny star-shaped hairs with which the flowers, leaves, and stems are covered. The plants in cultivation do not produce seed, and propagation is by slips or by dividing the roots. In Britain and the United States, lavender is cultivated for its essential oil, while in the south of Europe the flowers are an object of trade.

      Lavender oil is obtained by distillation of the flowers and is used chiefly in fine perfumes and cosmetics. It is a colourless or yellow liquid, the fragrant constituents of which are linalyl acetate, linalool, pinene, limonene, geraniol, and cineole. Lavender water, a solution of the essential oil in alcohol with other added scents, is used in a variety of toilet preparations.

      Spike oil, or spike lavender oil, is distilled from a somewhat inferior grade of lavender having grayer leaves. Oil of spike is used in painting on porcelain, in soap manufacture, and to scent other products.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lavender — Lav en*der, n. [OE. lavendre, F. lavande, It. lavanda lavender, a washing, fr. L. lavare to wash; cf. It. lsavendola, LL. lavendula. So called because it was used in bathing and washing. See {Lave}. to wash, and cf. {Lavender}.] 1. (Bot.) An… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lavender — [lav′ən dər] n. [ME < Anglo Fr lavendre < ML lavandria, akin to lavendula (> Ger lavendel) < L lavare, to wash (see LAVE1): from use as bath perfume] 1. any of a genus (Lavandula) of fragrant European plants of the mint family, having …   English World dictionary

  • lavender — adj. V. «copia lavender» …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • lavender — (n.) fragrant plant of the mint family, c.1300, from Anglo Fr. lavendre, O.Fr. lavendre, from M.L. lavendula lavender (10c.), perhaps from L. lividus bluish, livid. Associated with Fr. lavande, It. lavanda a washing (from L. lavare to wash; see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Lavender — f English (rare): from the vocabulary word denoting the herb with sweet smelling flowers (Old French lavendre, from Late Latin lavendula) …   First names dictionary

  • lavender — ► NOUN 1) a small aromatic evergreen shrub of the mint family, with narrow leaves and bluish purple flowers. 2) a pale blue colour with a trace of mauve. ORIGIN Latin lavandula …   English terms dictionary

  • Lavender — This article is about the genus of flowering plants. For other uses, see Lavender (disambiguation). Lavender Lavender flowers with bracts exhibiting a good example of the color lavender Scientific …   Wikipedia

  • Lavender — Recorded as Lavandar and more usually Lavender, this is an English surname, but one of early French origins. Introduced by the Normans after the famous Conquest of 1066 it is occupational. It derives from the word lavandier , and was applied… …   Surnames reference

  • lavender — I UK [ˈlævəndə(r)] / US [ˈlævəndər] noun Word forms lavender : singular lavender plural lavenders [countable/uncountable] a plant with small purple flowers that smell nice a) [uncountable] dried flowers from a lavender plant, used for example in… …   English dictionary

  • lavender — tikroji levanda statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Notrelinių šeimos dekoratyvinis, medingas, vaistinis augalas (Lavandula angustifolia), paplitęs pietų Europoje. Iš jo gaunamas eterinis aliejus. atitikmenys: lot. Lavandula angustifolia;… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

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