Thymus citriodorus

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Thymus citriodorus
Starr 070906-8846 Thymus citriodorus.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Thymus
Species:
T. citriodorus
Binomial name
Thymus citriodorus
(Pers.) Schreb.
Synonyms

Thymus × citriodorus
T. serpyllum citratus
T. serpyllum citriodora
T. serpyllum citriodorum

Contents

Thymus citriodorus, the lemon thyme or citrus thyme, is a lemon-scented evergreen mat-forming perennial plant in the famly Lamiaceae. There has been a great deal of confusion over the plant's correct name and origin. Recent DNA analysis suggests that it is not a hybrid or cross, but a distinct species as it was first described in 1811. [1] [2]

T. citriodorus is an evergreen sub-shrub, growing to 0.1 metres (3.9 in) in height by 0.3 metres (12 in) in spread. It prefers full sun and well draining soil. The bloom period is mid to late summer, with pink to lavender flowers that are a nectar source for bees and butterflies. [3]

Uses

Thymus citriodorus and its cultivars are grown as ornamentals, culinary herbs, and medicinal plants. In landscaping, the plants are often used as groundcovers or for planting in beds, between stepping stones, and in containers. In xeriscaping it is useful in hot, arid regions. The plant is drought-tolerant once established. [4] As nectar-producing plants, they are cultivated in bee and butterfly gardens. [3]

The leaves are eaten raw in salads or used as a fresh or dried flavoring herb in cooking and for herbal teas. [3] Other uses include essential oil, folk remedies, antiseptics, respiratory aids, aromatherapy, deodorants, perfumes, skincare and cosmetics. [3]

Taxonomy and synonyms

Thymus citriodorus has had many different names over time, including Thymus × citriodorus, Thymus fragrantissimus, Thymus serpyllum citratus, Thymus serpyllum citriodorum, and more. It was also believed at one time that the plant was a hybrid of European garden origin, between Thymus pulegioides and Thymus vulgaris. DNA analysis has shown that T. citriodorus is not part of the DNA tree that includes T. pulegioides and T. vulgaris. [2]

Cultivars

'Variegata' - Golden lemon thyme. Variegated Lemon Thyme Thymus citriodorus variegata Leaves 3264px.JPG
'Variegata' - Golden lemon thyme.

Cultivars are selected for foliage color, and aromas of different citrus fruits. The following are sold by various nurseries, often under the synonyms, so scientific naming is not reliable:

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<i>Thymus praecox</i> species of plant

Thymus praecox is a species of thyme. A common name is mother of thyme, but "creeping thyme" and "wild thyme" may be used where Thymus serpyllum, which also shares these names, is not found. It is native to central, southern, and western Europe.

<i>Lavandula angustifolia</i> Species of plant

Lavandula angustifolia, formerly L. officinalis, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the Mediterranean.

<i>Thymus vulgaris</i> species of plant

Thymus vulgaris 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.

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<i>Thymus pulegioides</i> species of plant

Thymus pulegioides, common names broad-leaved thyme or lemon thyme, is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to Europe. Growing to 5–25 cm (2–10 in) tall by 25 cm (10 in) wide, it is a small spreading subshrub with strongly aromatic leaves, and lilac pink flowers in early summer. The specific epithet pulegioides highlights its similarity to another species within Lamiaceae, Mentha pulegium (pennyroyal).

Citrus taxonomy Botanical classification of the genus Citrus

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References

  1. IPNI Listing
  2. 1 2 "Thymus citriodorus". Plant Heritage. 12 (2). Autumn 2005.
  3. 1 2 3 4 PFAF: taxonomy/treatment. Accessed 12.1.2011
  4. High Country gardens: Low Water Plants . accessed 12.1.2011
  5. 1 2 3 4 Sunland Herbs
  6. Halcyon Plants: Thymus fragrantissimus 'Orange' - Orange thyme.