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Lavender
Lavandula species

Jeanne Rose

Regarding the yield of Lavender oil and hydrosol, it depends on the following factors: terroir (soil, climate, altitude) age of the plants, time of day of harvest, species and variety, is it a 'landscape' A quality hydrosol can not be produced from a dried plant, and a quantity of essential oil can be produced from just-dried plants. Only the first cutting of the season (late June or mid July) is used for the distillation even though Lavender will produce a 2nd set of flowers, the 2nd set will be loaded with camphor are considered of no use and should be used only for the dried flower market.

Distilling should be done as soon as possible after cutting and be processed the same day as it was harvested. Steam pressure of 7 lb is good although some stills will accept more pressure. In a well-designed still, distillation can be accomplished in 30 minutes with the bulk of the oil coming over in the first 20 minutes. Yield of oil is .2 to .5% but location and condition of the plants plays an enormous part. "Landscape" plants will often produce 1% by weight of oil but it will be camphoraceous which is not acceptable. Plants on good ground will produce about 3 tons greenery per acre in their 5th year and about 1 kilo of essential oil per 250 lbs of flowers. Lavender oil is characterized by having NO CAMPHOR and should have a proportion of linaloöl to esters of 2•1.

Although, some Lavender oils have as much as 40-50% esters with less linaloöl. Most quality California Lavenders are about 40% linaloöl to 25% esters in the form of linalyl acetate.

©All Rights Reserved 2003, 2004. No part of this article may be used
without prior permission from The Aromatic Plant Project.
©Author's Copyright and Jeanne Rose, info@aromaticplantproject.com



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