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Overview

Brief Summary

Thymus vulgaris is the source of the herb thyme. It is a native of southern Europe, although it now grows more widely both wild and in cultivation. The essential oil contains thymol, which is often included in pharmaceutical preparations as an antiseptic. The Thyme plant is a small, bushy sub-shrub that grows to around 45 cm tall. The grayish or green leaves are very small (4 to 8 mm long). The white, pink, or violet flowers are borne in rounded or ovoid terminal clusters.

(Vaughan and Geissler 1997)

Thyme is an insect-pollinated perennial, diploid plant. It is gynodioecious. i.e., natural populations include both hermaphrodite and female individuals. Hermaphrodites have large, protandrous (i.e., male parts mature first) flowers producing substantial amounts of both pollen and seeds; females have smaller, shorter-lived flowers with no stamens. Hermaphrodite Thyme plants produce significantly larger flowers than do females. The frequency of females in populations is highly variable. Thyme exhibits a pattern that is uncommon among gynodioecious plant species in that there is a combination of very high female frequency with hermaphrodites having significant female function (more typically, the hermaphrodites in gynodioecious species function largely as males).

(Manicacci et al. 1998; Ehlers and Thompson 2004)

  • Author(s): Bodil Ehlers, K. and J.D. Thompson. 2004. Temporal variation in sex allocation in hermaphrodites of gynodioecious Thymus vulgaris L. (Lamiaceae). Journal of Ecology 92(1): 15-23.
  • Manicacci, D., A. Atlan, J.A.E. Rossello, and D. Couvet. 1998. Gynodioecy and reproductive trait variation in three Thymus species. International Journal of Plant Sciences 159(6): 948–957.
  • Vaughan, J.G. and C.A. Geissler. 1997. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants (revised and updated edition). Oxford University Press, New York.
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Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats, Cultivated, Native of West Mediterranean Region"
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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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"Tamil Nadu: Dindigul, Nilgiri"
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Subshrub
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Ecology

Associations

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Chrysolina americana grazes on live leaf (at shoot tip) of Thymus vulgaris
Remarks: season: 5-6,9-early 4

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Thymus vulgaris

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Thymus vulgaris

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 9
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Thymus vulgaris

Flowering thyme

Thymus vulgaris (common thyme, garden thyme 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.[1]

It is useful in the garden as groundcover, where it can be short-lived, but is easily propagated from cuttings.[1] It is also the main source of thyme as an ingredient in cooking and as an herbal medicine.

A shoot of a common thyme plant in the wild (Castelltallat)

Cultivars[edit]

Numerous cultivars and hybrids have been developed for ornamental purposes. Nomenclature can be very confusing. [2] French, German and English varieties vary by leaf shape and colour and essential oils. [3] The many cultivars include 'Argenteus' (silver thyme). [4]

The cultivar 'Silver Queen', with white-margined leaves, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[5]

See also[edit]

  • Thyme (discussion of culinary and medicinal uses)
  • Thymol, a disinfectant extract of essential oils

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  2. ^ Totally Thyme
  3. ^ Herbs 2000: Thymus vulgaris
  4. ^ Thymus argenteus
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Thymus 'Silver Queen'". Retrieved 6 June 2013. 

Other sources[edit]

  • L. H. Bailey; Manual of Cultivated Plants.
  • M. Easter; International Thymus Register and Checklist.


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