Thymus vulgaris

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Thymus vulgaris
Thymus vulgaris1.JPG
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Thymus
T. vulgaris
Binomial name
Thymus vulgaris
Flowering thyme Flowering thyme.JPG
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) Brot de farigola2.JPG
A shoot of a common thyme plant in the wild (Castelltallat)

The Latin specific epithet vulgaris means “common” in the sense of “widespread”. [4]


Numerous cultivars and hybrids have been developed for ornamental purposes. Nomenclature can be very confusing. [5] French, German and English varieties vary by leaf shape and colour and essential oils. [6] The many cultivars include 'Argenteus' (silver thyme). [7]

The cultivar 'Silver Queen', with white-margined leaves, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. [8] [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

Oregano Species of flowering plant

Oregano is a species of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae. It was native to the Mediterranean region, but widely naturalised elsewhere in the temperate Northern Hemisphere.

Thyme Herb

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.

<i>Salvia officinalis</i> Species of plant

Salvia officinalis, the common sage or just sage, is a perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae and native to the Mediterranean region, though it has been naturalized in many places throughout the world. It has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and in modern times it has been used as an ornamental garden plant. The common name "sage" is also used for closely related species and cultivars.

<i>Tilia platyphyllos</i> Species of tree

Tilia platyphyllos, the large-leaved lime or large-leaved linden, is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae (Tiliaceae). It is a deciduous tree, native to much of Europe, including locally in southwestern Great Britain, growing on lime-rich soils. The common names largeleaf linden and large-leaved linden are in standard use throughout the English-speaking world except in the British Isles, where it is known as large-leaved lime. The name "lime", possibly a corruption of "line" originally from "lind", has been in use for centuries and also attaches to other species of Tilia. It is not, however, closely related to the lime fruit tree, a species of citrus.

<i>Calluna</i> Flowering plant in the heather family

Calluna vulgaris, common heather, ling, or simply heather, is the sole species in the genus Calluna in the flowering plant family Ericaceae. It is a low-growing evergreen shrub growing to 20 to 50 centimetres tall, or rarely to 1 metre (40 in) and taller, and is found widely in Europe and Asia Minor on acidic soils in open sunny situations and in moderate shade. It is the dominant plant in most heathland and moorland in Europe, and in some bog vegetation and acidic pine and oak woodland. It is tolerant of grazing and regenerates following occasional burning, and is often managed in nature reserves and grouse moors by sheep or cattle grazing, and also by light burning.

<i>Lavandula stoechas</i> Species of flowering plant

Lavandula stoechas, the Spanish lavender or topped lavender (U.S.) or French lavender (U.K.), is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, occurring natively in several Mediterranean countries, including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

<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.

<i>Syringa vulgaris</i> Lilac, a species of flowering plant

Syringa vulgaris, the lilac or common lilac, is a species of flowering plant in the olive family Oleaceae, native to the Balkan Peninsula, where it grows on rocky hills. Grown for its scented flowers in spring, this large shrub or small tree is widely cultivated and has been naturalized in parts of Europe, Asia and North America. It is not regarded as an aggressive species. It is found in the wild in widely scattered sites, usually in the vicinity of past or present human habitations.

<i>Aquilegia vulgaris</i> Species of plant

Aquilegia vulgaris is a species of columbine native to Europe. It is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1.2 m tall, with branched, thinly hairy stems. The leaves are biternate; each leaf has three groups of three leaflets. The flowers, in various shades of purple, blue, pink and white, are pendent or horizontal with hooked spurs, and appear in early summer.

<i>Lysimachia nummularia</i> Species of flowering plant in the primrose family Primulaceae

Lysimachia nummularia is a species of flowering plant in the primrose family Primulaceae. Its common names include moneywort, creeping jenny, herb twopence and twopenny grass.

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

Lavandula angustifolia, formerly L. officinalis, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the Mediterranean. Its common names include lavender, true lavender or English lavender ; also garden lavender, common lavender, and narrow-leaved lavender.

<i>Clethra alnifolia</i> Species of flowering plant

Clethra alnifolia, the coastal sweetpepperbush or summersweet, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Clethra of the family Clethraceae, native to eastern North America from southern Nova Scotia and Maine south to northern Florida, and west to eastern Texas. It is a deciduous shrub which grows in wetlands, bogs and woodland streams.

<i>Malva trimestris</i> Species of plant

Malva trimestris, common names annual mallow, rose mallow, royal mallow, regal mallow, and common annual tree mallow is a species of flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region.

<i>Thymus citriodorus</i> Species of flowering 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 amount 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>Genista tinctoria</i> Species of flowering plant in the pea and bean family Fabaceae

Genista tinctoria, the dyer's greenweed or dyer's broom, is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. Its other common names include dyer's whin, waxen woad and waxen wood. The Latin specific epithet tinctoria means "used as a dye".

<i>Geranium macrorrhizum</i> Species of flowering plant

Geranium macrorrhizum is a species of hardy flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the genus Geranium, family Geraniaceae. It is native to the South east Alps and the Balkans. Its common names include bigroot geranium, Bulgarian geranium, and rock crane's-bill.

<i>Viscaria vulgaris</i> Species of flowering plant

Viscaria vulgaris, the sticky catchfly or clammy campion, is a flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae.

<i>Linum flavum</i> Species of flowering plant

Linum flavum, the golden flax or yellow flax, is a species of flowering plant in the family Linaceae, native to central and southern Europe. It is an erect, woody perennial growing to 30 cm (12 in) tall by 20 cm (8 in) broad, with dark green, semi-evergreen leaves, and terminal clusters of bright yellow, five-petalled flowers in spring. The Latin flavum means "pure yellow".

<i>Primula marginata</i> Species of flowering plant

Primula marginata, the silver-edged primrose, is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, native to the European Alps. It is an evergreen or semi-evergreen perennial growing to 15 cm (5.9 in) tall by 30 cm (12 in) broad, with rosettes of leathery serrated leaves, and stalks bearing umbels of slightly scented lavender flowers in spring. Parts of the plant, including the edges of the leaves, may be covered by a mealy-white bloom, hence the Latin and common names.

<i>Thymus pulegioides</i> Species of flowering 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).


  1. "Bonnie Plants Thyme" . Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  2. "Thymus vulgaris". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA . Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  3. 1 2 RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN   978-1405332965.
  4. Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN   978-1845337315.
  5. Totally Thyme
  6. Herbs 2000: Thymus vulgaris
  7. Thymus argenteus
  8. "RHS Plant Selector - Thymus 'Silver Queen'". RHS. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  9. "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 102. Retrieved 23 December 2018.