Several lavender species (lavandula) grow naturally in Provence. Two of them are mainly grown and processed by the lavender growers: fine lavender and lavandin.
Fine lavender (or “true”) grows naturally above 700 to 800 meters above sea level. Robust, it resists the climatic constraints of the dry mountains of Provence. Lavender is grown largely for the essential oil. Its fresh and lively scent is highly appreciated by perfumers and cosmetics manufacturers. It is also produced for the making of bouquets sold around the world. A small part is dedicated to the flower, whose chalices “water” Provencal weddings.
Lavandin, larger and more productive, is mainly grown in plain or on plateaus up to 600 meters altitude. It represents more than 90% of the surfaces and volumes produced in the lavender family. It is mainly intended for functional perfumery (soaps, detergents).
A hectare of fine lavender gives 15 to 20 kg of essential oil. For the lavandin, the yields vary between 60 and 150 kg of essential oil per hectare, or 3 to 10 times more!