Are You Buying Lavender or Lavandin?

The Young Living lavender farm in France

Why then are the farmers switching to lavandin hybrid grosso or super? First of all, the yield is five to six times more per acre than lavender. It can be harvested with a four-row harvester, making the harvesting cost four times less, and the same machinery can be used to plant and harvest.

The big perfume houses do not care about the camphene content in the lavandin, which alters the smell and gives the feel of the oil a bite on the skin. They prefer Lavandin super over Lavandin grosso, because the camphene in super can run from 8 to 15 percent, whereas the camphene in grosso is anywhere from 19 to 30 percent. The percentages depend on soil, nutrients, sunshine, and rain, which can vary substantially

Oil cartels have discovered how to heat lavandin, flash off the camphene, and then add synthetic linalols and lavandulol to make it smell like lavender. These are the fragrance molecules that create the aroma that is recognized as lavender.

Now that you have a little understanding of business costs, ask yourself, if you were a farmer, would you grow lavender? This helps to explain why you do not see lavender farms being developed around the world, except in China where wages are $2 to $5 per day. If you farm in China, the Chinese government will give you the land free. Tractors are one-third the price, and so is fuel. Farms growing cloned lavender are being developed in northwestern China, the very area that was heavily contaminated from the Chernobyl atomic energy plant explosion a few years ago. This lavender is not even pure Lavandula angustifolia.

I leased my first lavender farm in 1991 in Provence, France, the lavender capital of the world, and then bought our present farm in 2000 in the Simiane Valley. Over the years I have watched a steady negative evolution of the lavender industry.