Thyme or Thymus vulgaris is an evergreen aromatic shrub used as herb and its use dates back to Egyptian times.Its stems and leaves are used as a culinary herb in various dishes either whole or in dried form.The leaves are used for preparation of decoctions or for brewing tea and it posses many health benefits.
Thyme has been used by ancient Egyptians for embalming (the art and science of preserving humans to forestall decomposition) and funerals.Thyme was believed to be a source of courage by ancient Greeks who burnt it as incense in their temples. Romans used it to purify and give aromatic flavor to liqueurs and cheese.
Thyme or Thymus Vulgaris is a broad category but has two main types
- Ornamental thyme
- Culinary thyme
Most of the varieties of thyme are ornamental and aromatic.There are three main varieties of culinary thyme :
- French thyme
- Lemon thyme
- Caraway thyme
Kingdom – Plante
Sub Kingdom – Tracheobionata (Vascular Plant)
Super Division – Spermatophyta (Seed Plant)
Division – Magnoliophyta (Flowering Plant)
Class – Magnoliopsida (Dicotledons)
Subclass – Asteridae
Order – Lamiales
Family – Laamiaceae (Mint Family)
Genus – Thyme
Species – Vulgaris
Scientific name : Thymus vulgaris
Thyme is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows 15 – 30 cm tall and 40 cm wide having narrow stems.It consists of oval evergreen or grey green leaves which are arranged in opposite pairs on the entire stem. Its leaves are small about 4 to 20 mm long and are highly aromatic. Thyme has dense terminal heads of flowers with an uneven calyx of three lobed upper lip.They are yellow , white or either purple in early summers. This genus consists of 350 species and has several members which are being cultivated as culinary herbs and ornamental plants.
Origin and Distribution of Thyme
Thyme is commonly known as garden thyme or German thyme , is a native to southern Europe from the western Mediterranean to southern Italy.
Favorable Conditions for Growing Thymus Vulgaris
Thyme can thrive in hot conditions.It loves full sun and doesn’t need constant watering and attention, it enters a dormant state over winter but new leaves start coming out from early spring.
- Soil : Thyme plants need well drained soil which is fertilized by organic matter, like compost.
- Sun : Thyme can be grown in areas with plenty of sun light and ground temperature up to 72°F . If planted indoors, find a sunny window for your thyme.
- Water : Thyme has most of the varieties which are drought resistant so watering on a regular basis is not required.Water only when the soil is completely dry.
- Spacing : Plant thyme saplings 12 -24 inches apart.
- Companion plant : Thyme can be planted with rosemary because both have similar watering needs and both can thrive sunny conditions.
You can plant strawberries, cabbages, tomatoes, eggplants, broccoli and brussel sprouts alongside in the garden.