Lavandula, popularly known as lavender is a genus name for over 47 flowering plant species in the family Lamiaceae (mint family). It is native to Cape Verde and the Canary Islands as well as from Europe, all through the Mediterranean, Northern and Eastern Africa, Southwest Asia to Southeastern parts of India.
The various species serve as ornamental and landscaping plants, culinary herbs and spices, or grown commercially for lavender essential oil extraction as well as for monofloral honey making (premium honey). It also has herbal medicinal applications, among other roles.
For culinary uses, you can use both the dried buds (flowers) and greens. Lavender greens are subtle herbs used in flavoring savory veggies and meats dishes or making mild teas
Can rabbits eat lavender?
Yes. Rabbits can eat lavender plants (greens and buds or flowers). They are safe to these pets together with other herbs like dill, cilantro, rosemary, sage, parsley, oregano, tarragon, lemon balm, peppermint, and etcetera.
However, most rabbits and even deer dislike lavender and other spicy or pungent scented herbs as well as plants such as lantana, catmint, hyssop, milkweed, bee balm, chives, onions, leeks, and garlic. Note that garlic, onions, chives or leeks are harmful or poisonous to rabbits.
Nutritionally, this herb has vitamin A, calcium, iron, as well as many vital phytochemicals and antioxidants. One such phytochemical is limonene, hailed for its ability to support secretion of digestive enzymes in the liver and may help in carcinogen detoxification.
If your rabbit happens to love Lavandula, give him only a small amount, i.e., sprinkle some lavender greens or flower buds to their veggie mix to add flavor, variety, and texture. Both dried and fresh leaves are safe.
However, due to their subtle scent, some bunnies may prefer this plant’s greens over flower buds, while others may eat both the two.
Please don’t give them excessive begin with a small amount as you monitor how their tummies respond after a day.
Finally, lavender essential oil, which has over 100 phytochemicals with linalyl acetate, linalool, tannins, caryophyllene, being the significant constituents, isn’t ideal for bunnies. They will not even like it. Besides, you don’t have a reason to want to give them this essential oil.
Do wild rabbits eat lavender?
As already hinted, lavender is one of the herbs that bunnies tend to avoid, a reason why it is serves as one of the bunny repellent plants. Therefore, if you have it in your garden, these animals, including your domestic bunnies, are unlikely to damage it.
More on lavender
Of the 47 different species, the most commonly cultivated species is English lavender or Munstead (L. angustifolia), whose aromatic fragrance is sweet with citrusy or lemony undertones. It serves as a spice or condiment in salads, dressings, desserts, or pasta or spicing tea (buds and greens).
Other lesser popular are French or fringed (L. dentate), topped or Spanish (L. stoechas), Lavandin or Dutch (L. ×intermedia), and fernleaf or Egyptian lavender (L. multifida) species.
Besides species, some of the common cultivars are Sweet Romance, Grosso, Provence, Royal Velvet, Buena Vista, Melissa, Ellagance Ice, and Thumbelina Leigh.
Medicinally, some lavender uses include in aromatherapy. Also, it may help in preventing dementia, and some cancer forms and its essential oil may help treat some hair and skin conditions.
However, there is no evidence for it’s some of its purported benefits like managing depression, migraines, otitis, menstrual pain, eczema, colic in infants, among other herbal uses.
As you try to offer your rabbits a variety of foods (greens, herbs, fruits non-leafy veggies, etc.), don’t forget to stick to the right diet proportion even if they seem to like the new food you are offering.