Botanist's Glossary

Thyme - Thymus vulgaris

  • Description
    • Thyme is a grayish, bushy, very aromatic subshrub, which grows up to 15 to 30 cm and keeps its leaves all year round. The leaves are very small and grow in opposite pairs. Its small tubular flowers are pale or bright pink, with two lips, and grow on terminal spikes. Several species of thyme exist in the Mediterranean region: Thymus vulgaris, or common thyme, grows from Liguria, in Italy, to Spain, and is most widely found in Mediterranean France.
  • Traditions
    • In ancient times, thyme was not always correctly identified (but Pliny, in the first century, mentioned thyme found in La Crau, France). Various thymes were recognized as having properties that were good for the digestive and respiratory systems, and they are still used in popular medicine in southern France. Thyme has been used as a herb for thousands of years and has now regained an important role in medicine due to its essential oil, which has antibacterial and anti-infective properties.
  • Properties
    • Thyme essential oil has purifying properties.