The lavenders (Lavandula) are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. An Old World genus, distributed from Macaronesia (Cape Verde and Canary Islands and Madeira) across Africa, the Mediterranean, South-West Asia, Arabia, Western Iran and South-East India. It is thought the genus originated in Asia but is most diversified in its western distribution. The genus includes annuals, herbaceous plants, subshrubs, and small shrubs. The native range extends across the Canary Islands, North and East Africa, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia and India. Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens worldwide, they are occasionally found growing wild as garden escapees, well beyond their natural range. However, since lavender cross-pollinates easily, there are countless variations within the species. Flowers yield abundant nectar from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations.
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