Lavender, or lavandula, is very popular in French cooking. Chefs use it in combination with garlic in the last minutes of cooking meats, especially lamb and poultry. It is also cultivated for its essential oil, which is purported to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lavender is native to the "Old World" it was brought to the Americas during the colonial period. It grows well in temperate climates and is often used as an ornamental plant. The color lavender was, of course, named for the flowers produced by the lavender plant. In ancient Greece lavender was called "nardus" or "nard".