Thymus praecox

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Thymus praecox
Thymus praecox.JPG
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Thymus
T. praecox
Binomial name
Thymus praecox

Thymus praecox is a species of thyme. A common name is mother of thyme, [1] 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.



Thymus praecox is in the genus Thymus belonging to the Serpyllum section. It has sometimes been reclassified as T. polytrichus. [2]

Subspecies and cultivars

Thymus praecox subspecies and cultivars include:

Thymus praecox near Seydisfjordur, Iceland. It is known locally as blodberg, meaning "bloodstone". Thymus praecox - Iceland - 2007-07-05.jpg
Thymus praecox near Seyðisfjörður, Iceland. It is known locally as blóðberg, meaning "bloodstone".
Thymus praecox in July in Lonsoraefi, Iceland. Plant in Lonsoraefi area, Iceland.jpg
Thymus praecox in July in Lonsoraefi, Iceland.



Thymus praecox is cultivated as an ornamental plant, used as an evergreen groundcover in gardens and pots. When maintained at a lower height it is used between paving stones in patios and walkways. It is drought tolerant when established.

This thyme species (and Thymus serpyllum) has escaped cultivation in North America, and is a weed or invasive species in some habitats in the United States. [1]


This thyme has a strong scent similar to Oregano. It can be used in cuisine.

Like other species of thyme, T. praecox is characterized by substantial differences in essential oil composition from plant to plant. Plants which differ in this way are known as chemotypes and a geographical population will generally contain a mix of chemotypes. For example, studies of chemotypes in Greenland, Iceland, Norway, England, Scotland, and Ireland show that chemotypes span those countries rather than being geographically localized. [5] [6] Some of those areas contain greater chemotype diversity than others. [7]

Related Research Articles

Oregano Perennial herb

Oregano is a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is native to temperate Western and Southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region.

Thyme Herb with culinary, medicinal and ornamental uses

Thyme is the herb of some members of the genus Thymus of aromatic perennial evergreen herbs in the mint family Lamiaceae. Thymes are relatives of the oregano genus Origanum. They have culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses, and the species most commonly cultivated and used for culinary purposes is Thymus vulgaris.

Thymol Chemical compound found in plants including thyme

Thymol (also known as 2-isopropyl-5-methylphenol, IPMP) is a natural monoterpenoid phenol derivative of cymene, C10H14O, isomeric with carvacrol, found in oil of thyme, and extracted from Thymus vulgaris (common thyme), Ajwain and various other kinds of plants as a white crystalline substance of a pleasant aromatic odor and strong antiseptic properties. Thymol also provides the distinctive, strong flavor of the culinary herb thyme, also produced from T. vulgaris.

<i>Thymus</i> (plant) genus of plants

The genus Thymus contains about 350 species of aromatic perennial herbaceous plants and subshrubs to 40 cm tall in the family Lamiaceae, native to temperate regions in Europe, North Africa and Asia.

<i>Thymus serpyllum</i> Species of plant

Thymus serpyllum, known by the common names of Breckland thyme, Breckland wild thyme, wild thyme, creeping thyme, or elfin thyme, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to most of Europe and North Africa. It is a low, usually prostrate subshrub growing to 2 cm (1 in) tall with creeping stems up to 10 cm (4 in) long. The oval evergreen leaves are 3–8 mm long. The strongly scented flowers are either lilac, pink-purple, magenta, or a rare white, all 4–6 mm long and produced in clusters. The hardy plant tolerates some pedestrian traffic and produces odors ranging from heavily herbal to lightly lemon, depending on the variety.

NVC community CG7 is one of the calcicolous grassland communities in the British National Vegetation Classification system. It is one of three short-sward communities associated with heavy grazing, within the lowland calcicolous grassland group, and is regarded as the eastern counterpart of "typical" chalk grassland.

A chemotype is a chemically distinct entity in a plant or microorganism, with differences in the composition of the secondary metabolites. Minor genetic and epigenetic changes with little or no effect on morphology or anatomy may produce large changes in the chemical phenotype. Chemotypes are often defined by the most abundant chemical produced by that individual and the concept has been useful in work done by chemical ecologists and natural product chemists. With respect to plant biology, the term "chemotype" was first coined by Rolf Santesson and his son Johan in 1968, defined as, "...chemically characterized parts of a population of morphologically indistinguishable individuals."

Carvacrol, or cymophenol, C6H3(CH3)(OH)C3H7, is a monoterpenoid phenol. It has a characteristic pungent, warm odor of oregano.

<i>Thymus herba-barona</i> species of plant

Thymus herba-barona is a species of thyme native to Corsica, Sardinia, and Majorca. It is also sometimes known by the common name caraway thyme, as it has a strong scent similar to caraway, for which it can be used as a substitute in any recipe. It can be used in cuisine or as an evergreen ground cover plant for the garden.

NVC community CG2 is one of the calcicolous grassland communities in the British National Vegetation Classification system. It is one of three short-sward communities associated with heavy grazing, within the lowland calcicolous grassland group, and is regarded as "typical" chalk grassland.

NVC community H7 is one of the heath communities in the British National Vegetation Classification system. It is one of two communities categorised as maritime heaths.

NVC community CG10 is one of the calcicolous grassland communities in the British National Vegetation Classification system. Of the upland group of calcicolous grasslands, it is the only one with a short sward associated with heavy grazing.

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

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.

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

Thymus pseudolanuginosus - commonly called woolly thyme - is now also classified as Thymus praecox subsp. britannicus. It was also formerly known as Thymus lanuginosus.

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

Thymus pannonicus, known by its common name Hungarian thyme or Eurasian thyme, is a perennial herbaceous plant, distributed in central and eastern Europe and Russia. It grows over open dry meadows, grasslands, and rocks.

<i>Scrobipalpa artemisiella</i> Species of moth

Scrobipalpa artemisiella is a moth of the family Gelechiidae. It is found in most of Europe, Turkey and Syria through the Caucasus and Central Asia to Irkutsk and Mongolia. It has also been recorded from North America, but this records requires confirmation.

<i>Origanum onites</i> species of plant

Origanum onites, the Cretan oregano, Greek oregano, pot marjoram or Ellinikí rίgani in Greek, is a plant species in the genus Origanum found in Sicily, Greece and Turkey. It has similar flavors as oregano. Its essential oil can be distinguished from other species such as Greek oregano. It has antimicrobial activities.

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

Thymus zygis is a type of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae.

<i>Scythris picaepennis</i> Species of moth

Scythris picaepennis is a moth of the family Scythrididae first described by Adrian Hardy Haworth in 1828. It is found in Europe.

<i>Lagoecia</i> Genus of Apiaceae plants

Lagoecia, wild cumin, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apiaceae. It has only one species, Lagoecia cuminoides, native to the Mediterranean region and as far east as Iran. Its essential oil contains 72.83–94.76% thymol, quite a bit more than thyme itself.


  1. 1 2 "Thymus praecox". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA . Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Brickell, C. & Zuk, J., Editors-in-Chief. The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, First American Edition. (New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 1997; ISBN   0-7894-1943-2).
  3. Thymus polytrichus A. Kern. ex Borbás subsp. britannicus (Ronniger) Kerguélen and Thymus praecox Opiz subsp. arcticus (Durand) Jalas, GRIN Taxonomy for Plants
  4. 1 2 Vidic, D; Cavar, S; Solić, ME; Maksimović, M (2010), "Volatile constituents of two rare subspecies of Thymus praecox", Natural Product Communications, 5 (7): 1123–6, doi: 10.1177/1934578X1000500730 , PMID   20734955, S2CID   19358240
  5. Stahl-Biskup, E (Feb 1986), "The Essential Oil from Norwegian Thymus Species. I. Thymus praecox ssp. Arcticus", Planta Medica, 52 (1): 36–8, doi:10.1055/s-2007-969062, ISSN   0032-0943
  6. Stahl, Elisabeth (1984), "Chemical polymorphism of essential oil in Thymus praecox ssp. Arcticus (Lamiaceae) from Greenland", Nordic Journal of Botany, 4 (5): 597–600, doi:10.1111/j.1756-1051.1984.tb01985.x
  7. Schmidt, A (2004), "Essential oil polymorphism of Thymus praecox subsp. Arcticus on the British Isles", Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 32 (4): 409–421, doi:10.1016/j.bse.2003.10.003