Wash up with lavender
In Roman times, people put lavender flowers in their bath. They smell good, and they even kill some germs. People took this fragrant herb with them when they moved to a new place, spreading the plant throughout Europe. The name “lavender” probably comes from the Latin word lavare, which means “to wash.” You might notice the scent of lavender in perfumes, soaps, and potpourris.
The sweet smell of lavender comes from its oil. Leaves and stems have oil glands, but flowers smell strongest, because they have the most oil glands. Tiny flowers grow together on stalks that rise above the leaves. Depending on the kind of lavender, flowers can be blue, violet, or lilac-colored. Lavender flowers produce abundant nectar. Bees love it! They are one of lavender’s most important pollinators. Lavender honey is a very popular variety of honey.
Lavender flowers are edible—they taste pretty much like they smell. People use lavender in salads, baked goods, candies, and desserts. Some people make lavender flower tea to help a headache. A kind called English lavender is the one that most people use for cooking and baking. It has the sweet, soft flavor most people like. Other varieties can have a strong pine or menthol flavor.