Thursday, March 20, 2008

WeHo Field Guide: Lavender

Spring has sprung in West Hollywood, and as the flowering plants around the neighborhood bloom, so does my curiosity about the treasures to be found within a two mile radius of my new home. So, in honor of the vernal equinox (yes, it's today), I'm compiling a West Hollywood Field Guide showcasing the natural wonders of the 'hood.

First up? Lavender.

Lavender is apparently a very popular landscaping plant in the neighborhood; there's a bush at nearly every other residence, and the scent of all of them combined is enough to overwhelm pedestrians to the point of light-headedness.

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Some fun facts about lavender:

  • Lavender is a genus of flowering plants in the mint family
  • Lavender is native to the south Mediterranean, tropical Africa, and southeast India
  • Dried lavender can be used as potpourri -- or moth repellant!
  • Lavender oil (located in the bud of the plant) has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and was used in hospitals during WWI to disinfect floors, walls and other surfaces. Lavender oil is also rumored to relieve headaches, if applied to the temples.
  • Lavender oil can also heal acne (when diluted 1:10 with water) or soothe burns
  • Lavender produces tons of nectar, and is therefore popular among bees
  • It's also an allergen (which explains my perpetual state of stuffiness)
  • Lavender can grow almost anywhere, but thrives in rocky soil and dry, sunny climates

2 comments:

James said...

Just so happens that I planted some lavendar seeds this year.

michelle said...

great to add to perennial bed, easy to grow!