I want to address one of my pet peeves: the increasingly frequent and erroneous use of Lavandula angustifolia as the latin binomial for true lavender. This malapropism was first encountered at an aromatherapy conference about six years ago, when a grower who was a newcomer to essential oil distillation used the term during her presentation. I thought it was an isolated incident and an understandably nervous mistake on her part. Since then, I have witnessed the species epithet angustifolia used repeatedly by various aromatherapy professionals, both verbally and in writing. Much to my horror, this incorrect name for lavender was even used on the ARC exam! How can we expect to be taken seriously as a profession when half of us don’t even know the botanical name for our most popular essential oil bearing plant?
For the record, there is no “n” in augustifolia. The correct species name for true lavender (clonal) is Lavandula augustifolia, meaning august or venerable leaves. Many other plants that were classified long ago share this species epithet. Please reference The Genus Lavandula (T. Upson and S. Andrews), the professional botanist’s definitive text on lavender.