Thymus vulgaris

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Thymus vulgaris
Thymus vulgaris1.JPG
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Domain: Eukaryota
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

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.

<i>Lavandula stoechas</i>

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>Primula vulgaris</i> Species of plant

Primula vulgaris, the common primrose, is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, native to western and southern Europe, northwest Africa, and parts of southwest Asia. The common name is primrose, or occasionally common primrose or English primrose to distinguish it from other Primula species also called primroses. None of these are closely related to the evening primroses.

<i>Syringa vulgaris</i> Lilac, a species of flowering plant in the family Oleaceae

Syringa vulgaris 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 purple flowers in spring, this large shrub or small tree is widely cultivated and has been naturalized in parts of Europe and North America. It is not regarded as an aggressive species, found in the wild in widely scattered sites, usually in the vicinity of past or present human habitations.

<i>Primula auricula</i>

Primula auricula, often known as auricula, mountain cowslip or bear's ear, is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae, that grows on basic rocks in the mountain ranges of central Europe, including the western Alps, Jura mountains, the Vosges, the Black Forest and the Tatra Mountains.

<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>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>Senecio macroglossus</i>

Senecio macroglossus, the Natal ivy or wax ivy, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to southern Africa, from Zimbabwe and Mozambique to eastern South Africa.

<i>Clethra alnifolia</i>

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.

<i>Hesperantha coccinea</i>

Hesperantha coccinea, the river lily, or crimson flag lily, is a species of flowering plant in the iris family Iridaceae, native to Southern Africa and Zimbabwe.

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

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

<i>Thymus citriodorus</i>

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>Lewisia cotyledon</i>

Lewisia cotyledon is a species of flowering plant in the family Montiaceae known by the common names Siskiyou lewisia and cliff maids. It is native to southern Oregon and northern California, where it grows in rocky subalpine mountain habitat.

<i>Pittosporum tobira</i>

Pittosporum tobira is a species of sweet-smelling flowering plant in the pittosporum family Pittosporaceae known by several common names, including Australian laurel, Japanese pittosporum, mock orange and Japanese cheesewood. It is native to Japan, China, and Korea, but it is used throughout the world as an ornamental plant in landscaping and as cut foliage.

<i>Viscaria vulgaris</i>

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

<i>Primula marginata</i>

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>Scindapsus pictus</i>

Scindapsus pictus, the satin pothos, silver pothos, or silver vine, is a species of flowering plant in the arum family Araceae, native to Bangladesh, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and the Philippines.

<i>Thymus pulegioides</i>

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).

<i>Trollius</i> × <i>cultorum</i>

Trollius × cultorum is a group of hybrid flowering plants of garden origin, belonging to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. There are several cultivars, derived from T. europaeus, T. asiaticus and T. chinensis. These are clump-forming herbaceous perennials whose preferred location is heavy, moist or even boggy ground, in full sun or partial shade. Typically growing to 60 cm (24 in) tall, they bear showy double flowers up to 6 cm (2.4 in) in diameter. Flowers appear in shades of cream, yellow and orange. The curved “petals” are actually sepals, surrounding the smaller, nectar-bearing petals. The spherical or cupped shape of the blooms gives rise to the common name globeflower, which they share with other Trollius species.


  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'" . Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  9. "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 102. Retrieved 23 December 2018.