Botanical Name : Santolina chamaecyparissus
Species: S. chamaecyparissus
Habitat :Lavender cotton is native to the western and central Mediterranean.
It is a small evergreen shrub growing to 50 cm (20 in) tall and 2 to 3 ft. wide. Densely covered in narrow, aromatic, grey-green leaves, in summer it produces masses of yellow, button-like composite flowerheads, held on slender stems above the foliage. The disc florets are tubular, and there are no ray florets.The blooming time is July to August. Zone: 6 to 9
This plant was once also esteemed for its stimulant properties, and the twigs have been used for placing amongst linen, etc., to keep away moths. All the species of Santolina have a strong resemblance to one another, except S. fragrantissima, which differs in having the flowerheads in flat inflorescences termed corymbs, the flowers all being at the same level, instead of singly at the apex of the twigs.
This plant is valued in cultivation as groundcover, or as an edging plant for a hot, sunny, well-drained spot, though it may be short-lived. It dislikes winter wetness.
Numerous cultivars have been produced, of which ‘Nana’, a dwarf form growing to 25 cm (10 in), has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Meri.
The Arabs are said to use the juice of this plant for bathing the eyes. Culpepper tells us that Lavender Cotton ‘resists poison, putrefaction and heals the biting of venomous beasts.’ It is now chiefly used as an edging to borders, spreading like a silvery carpet close to the ground.
Cotton lavender has many potential uses. Most commonly, the flowers and leaves are made into a decoction used to expel intestinal parasites. An oil used in perfumery can also be extracted from the plant. Branches may be hung up in wardrobes to repel insects, and leaves are also suitable for use in pot pourri and in herbal tobacco substitutes. In cosmetics it is used as a tonic.
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