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Thymus vulgaris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thymus vulgaris
Thymus vulgaris1.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Thymus
Species: T. vulgaris
Binomial name
Thymus vulgaris
Flowering thyme
Flowering thyme

Thymus vulgaris (common thyme, German thyme,[1] garden thyme[2] or just thyme) is a species of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe from the western Mediterranean to southern Italy. Growing to 15–30 cm (6–12 in) tall by 40 cm (16 in) wide, it is a bushy, woody-based evergreen subshrub with small, highly aromatic, grey-green leaves and clusters of purple or pink flowers in early summer.[3]

It is useful in the garden as groundcover, where it can be short-lived, but is easily propagated from cuttings.[3] It is also the main source of thyme as an ingredient in cooking and as an herbal medicine. It is slightly spicier than oregano and sweeter than sage.

A shoot of a common thyme plant in the wild (Castelltallat)
A shoot of a common thyme plant in the wild (Castelltallat)


Numerous cultivars and hybrids have been developed for ornamental purposes. Nomenclature can be very confusing.[4] French, German and English varieties vary by leaf shape and colour and essential oils.[5] The many cultivars include 'Argenteus' (silver thyme).[6]

The cultivar 'Silver Queen', with white-margined leaves, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[7]

See also

  • Thyme (discussion of culinary and medicinal uses)
  • Thymol, a disinfectant extract of essential oils


  1. ^ "Bonnie Plants Thyme". Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  2. ^ "Thymus vulgaris". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  4. ^ Totally Thyme
  5. ^ Herbs 2000: Thymus vulgaris
  6. ^ Thymus argenteus
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Thymus 'Silver Queen'". Retrieved 6 June 2013.


  • L. H. Bailey; Manual of Cultivated Plants.
  • M. Easter; International Thymus Register and Checklist.

This page was last edited on 14 February 2018, at 14:21
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