Lavandula stoechas

Lavandula stoechas

Lavandula stoechas (French Lavender, Spanish Lavender, Stoechas Lavender, or Topped Lavender) occurs naturally in the Mediterranean region. A perennial shrub, it usually grows to 30-100 cm tall and wide. The leaves are 1-4 cm long, greyish tomentose. The flowers are pinkish-purple (lavender-coloured), produced on spikes 2-3 cm long at the top of slender leafless stems 10-30 cm long; each flower is subtended by a bract 4-8 mm long. At the top of the spike are a number of much larger, sterile bracts (no flowers between them), 10-50 mm long and bright lavender purple (rarely white).

Cultivation

more fragile than Common Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), as it is less winter hardy, but harsher and more resinous in its oils. Stoechas Lavender is used commercially in air fresheners and insecticides.

Control

Since its introduction into Australia, it has become an invasive species, spread throughout the continent. It has been declared a noxious weed in Victoria since 1920. To control small patches, completely remove or cut off main roots near the base of the plant. Cutting or slashing the plant will only result in re-growth. Large areas are best ploughed in the spring.

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