Naming Lavenders and Rosemary

Our posts on terminology have come to naming Lavenders and Rosemary. As many are hybrids or cultivars, their names often carry clues to their origin…

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Naming Lavenders and Rosemary

We start with Lavenders. While the names of the most recent varieties tend to be more poetic than descriptive and named after family members rather than their discoverer or breeder, older varieties tend to be a little more prosaic – and informative:
• Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ – Hidcote Manor Garden, near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, was created by Lawrence Johnston and is undoubtedly one of the best Arts and Crafts gardens in the country
• Lavendula angustifolia ‘Dwarf Blue’ – Self-explanatory!
• Lavandula angustifolia ‘Imperial Gem’ – Bred in the late 1980s and found to be a slightly hardier alternative to Hidcote, its name simply references its broad qualities
• Lavandula angustifolia ‘Twickel Purple’  – The plant was developed at Kasteel Twickel (Twickel Castle) in the Netherlands


• Lavandula × intermedia ‘Grosso’ – Named, surprisingly, after Monsieur Grosso who bred it!!
• Lavandula x intermedia ‘Alba’ – perhaps the best-known white Lavender
• Lavandula × Chaytoriae ‘Richard Gray’ – Named after a member of the Kew staff where it was bred

Naming Lavenders and Rosemary

You will often see Lavenders describes as ‘English’, French’ or ‘Spanish’. This is the cause of much confusion as these terms have no horticultural validity or significance – they are simply common names that have become so widely used that they have displaced more accurate nomencliture.
Incidentally, Lavandula officinalis, the officinalis indicating its medicinal properties. That name was changed some time ago to Lavandula angustifolia, angustifolia being Latin for narrow leaf.

Rosemary Cultivars

• Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Miss Jessopp’s Upright’ – named after Miss Euphemia Jessopp. Please see an earlier post here ( for the full story