A brief history of lavandin will help in explaining the recent changes in the market for this important perfumery plant. Lavandin grows in the southern part of France, mostly in the hot barren mountains of Haute Provence, northwest of Grasse, four hours away by car. It is a cross between spike and lavender.
The spike grows at a low altitude, the lavender at a higher one. There is an altitude between 1,500 and 2,100 feet where both spike and lavender can grow. Cross pollination may happen and lavandin is the result.
It is a sterile hybrid. It cannot be reproduced by seed; only by cuttings, which makes its planting less delicate. It is more sturdy than the lavender and its yield in oil is better. The farmers became very interested in the hybrid after the first World War. They took cuttings from the healthiest plants found in nature and started cultivation on a large scale. This Iavandin with an ester content of’ 20 to 22% was called ordinaire.