Lavandula minutolii is an attractive winter-flowering shrub for the conservatory with aromatic, feathery grey leaves and spikes of blue flowers.
About this species
Lavandula minutolii was named by the German naturalist Carl Bolle in 1860 to commemorate Julius von Minutoli (1804-1860), an amateur artist, scientist and Prussian civil servant who travelled to and wrote about the Canary Islands.
Two varieties of Lavandula minutolii are recognised, L. minutolii var. minutolii, and L. minutolii var. tenuipinna.
Geography & Distribution
The species is found only on the Canary Islands, from sea level to 1,500 m. Lavandula minutolii var. minutolii is found on Gran Canaria and L. minutolii var. tenuipinna on Tenerife.
Lavandula minutolii is a small, attractive, aromatic, woody shrub up to around 1 m high. The narrow greyish-green, aromatic leaves are deeply divided and covered with minute woolly hairs, giving an almost feathery effect. The spikes of violet-blue flowers are carried well above the foliage on long, slender stems. The flowers are small, 8–9 mm across, violet-blue, and produced from January or, at elevations above 800 m, from March.
Lavandula minutolii var. tenuipinna differs slightly in having broader leaves with secondary lobing and smaller flowers.
Threats & Conservation
Lavandula minutolii var. minutolii is only locally abundant and has been assessed as Near Threatened (NT) according to IUCN Red List criteria. Lavendula minutolii var. tenuipinna is considered Vulnerable (VU) D1+2 because it is restricted to a small area on Tenerife.
Lavandula minutolii is occasionally cultivated as an ornamental.
Lavandula minutolii requires protection from frost and flowers from late January onwards in the conservatory.
This species at Kew
The Duchess Border
The Duchess Border (named after Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge, who lived at Cambridge Cottage) is backed by a high south-facing wall, behind which is the Duke’s Garden. Since mid-1990, the Duchess Border has been a testing ground for a collection of lavender species and other Mediterranean plants. They are grown to test their hardiness, ease of propagation and growth habits.
Lavandula minutolii var. minutolii, painted by Christabel King, in The Genus Lavandula (Image: Christabel King)
JSTOR Plant Science(includes images of Lavandula minutolii)
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