Specialty Crop Grant FY 2012 Research Results

Lavender Association of Western Colorado

Specialty Crop Grant FY 2012

Research Results and Findings of Lavender Essential Oils

Produced by Western Colorado Growers


English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and the hybrid lavandin (L. x intermedia) cultivars have been successfully grown and harvested in western Colorado for 10 or more years.  While the worldwide market for the essential oil of lavender is substantial, no research has been conducted in Colorado to determine the yield or quality of oil of the various cultivars available for production in Colorado.

hi res Paola pic

Sage Creations Organic Farm in Palisade Colorado


Lamborn Farmstead in Paonia Colorado

This research project was designed to answer:

  • which cultivars produce the largest quantity of essential oil;
  • which cultivars produce the highest quality of essential oil;

We also researched and compiled information on:

  • the average yield of dried buds per variety; and
  • winter survival per variety.

Essential Oil Research

The Lavender Association of Western Colorado, led by Dr. Curtis Swift and his team of research assistants, Travis Bondurant and Honora Carr, spent the summer of 2013 harvesting, distilling and analyzing the results of the GC/MS reports generated on 11 cultivars of English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and lavandins  (L. x intermedia).


Green Acres U-Pick Farm in Palisade Colorado

Austin and Jasmine

Austin and Jasmine harvesting lavender at Green Acres U-Pick Farm

Nine cultivars were harvested from the main lavender research farm Green Acres U-Pick in Palisade, Colorado. One cultivar ‘Maillette’ was harvested from Sage Creations Organic Farm in Palisade, Colorado.  One cultivar ‘Royal Velvet’ was harvested from A Pinch of Lavender farm in Palisade, Colorado.  Floral stems from each cultivar were harvested in sufficient quantity to provide seven liters of material.  The decision was made to use fresh lavender flowers and stems per the ISO standards.

Curtis holding lavender

Freshly harvested english lavender

In July of 2013, the floral stems of 11 cultivars of Lavandula angustifolia and L. x intermedia were distilled and evaluated by Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry to determine the content of their constituents. The results were compared with the International Standards for Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Lavandin (L. x intermedia ‘Grosso’).

Curtis distilling

Dr. Curtis Swift distilling lavender essential oil during 2013 Colorado Lavender Festival.

Bob Korver talks about distilling

Bob Korver talks about distilling at 2013 Distilling Conference in Grand Junction Colorado

To see the entire report, please click on the link below.

Specialty Crop Grant Final Report April 2014 July 2016