Lavandula minutolii is an attractive winter-flowering shrub for the conservatory with aromatic, feathery grey leaves and spikes of blue flowers.
Detail of an illustration of Lavandula minutolii by Christabel King (© Christabel King)
Lavandula minutolii Bolle
Near Threatened (NT) (Lavandula minutolii var. minutolii) and Vulnerable (VU) (L. minutolii var. tenuipinna) in the monograph The Genus Lavandula, following IUCN Red List criteria.
Dry scrub on open rocky slopes.
Lavender oil can cause dermatitis.
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.
Lavandula multifida var. minutolii (Bolle) Kuntze, Lavandula foliosa Christ
Geography and 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 and 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
Lavandula minutolii can be seen growing in the Princess of Wales Conservatory and in the Duchess Border (along the wall between the Grass Garden and Duke's Garden).
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 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.
Curtis's Botanical Magazine
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (Editor: Martyn Rix) provides an international forum of particular interest to botanists and horticulturists, plant ecologists and those with a special interest in botanical illustration.
Now well over 200 years old, the Magazine is the longest running botanical periodical featuring colour illustrations of plants.
Each four-part volume contains 24 plant portraits reproduced from watercolour originals by leading international botanical artists. Detailed but accessible articles combine horticultural and botanical information, history, conservation and economic uses of the plants described.
Published for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
Bramwell, D. & Bramwell, Z. (2001). Wild Flowers of the Canary Islands. 2nd edition. Rueda, Madrid.
Upson, T. & Andrews, S. (2004). The Genus Lavandula. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). Lavandula minutolii. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Available online (accessed 1 September 2011).
Kew Science Editor: Martyn Rix
Copyediting: Malin Rivers
Although every effort has been taken to ensure that the information contained in these pages is reliable and complete, notes on hazards, edibility and suchlike included here are recorded information and do not constitute recommendations. No responsibility will be taken for readers’ own actions.