The Lavenders Lavandula are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to the Mediterranean region south to tropical Africa and to the southeast regions of India. The genus includes annuals, herbaceous plants, subshrubs, and small shrubs. The native range extends across the Canary Islands, North and East Africa, south Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia, and India. Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens world-wide, they are occasionally found growing wild, as garden escapees, well beyond their natural range. Because Lavender cross-pollinates easily, however, there are countless variations within the species. Lavender flowers yield abundant nectar which yields a high-quality honey for beekeepers. Lavender monofloral honey is produced primarily in the nations around the Mediterranean, and marketed worldwide as a premium product. Lavender flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Lavender is also used to flavour baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), as well as used to make "lavender sugar". Lavender flowers are occasionally sold in a blend with black, green, or herbal tea, adding a fresh, relaxing scent and flavour. Chefs in and around Provence, France, have been incorporating this herb into their cuisine for centuries, either alone or as an ingredient of herbes de Provence. Lavender lends a floral, slightly sweet, and elegant flavour to most dishes, and pairs beautifully with various sheep's and goat's cheeses. For most cooking applications it is the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) of lavender that are used, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, which is where both the scent and flavour of lavender are best derived. The French are also known for their lavender syrup, most commonly made from an extract of lavender. In the United States, both French lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones.