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Toxic parts

A comment has been made in one report on medicinal uses that the plant should be used with caution[1]. No explanation was given. It quite possibly refers to overuse of the essential oil. All essential oils, since they are so concentrated, can be harmful in large doses[K].

Edible uses


Leaves and flowering tops - raw in salads, used as a garnish or added as a flavouring to cooked foods, going especially well with mushrooms and courgettes[2][3][1][4][5][6]. It is an essential ingredient of the herb mix 'bouquet garni'[6]. It retains its flavour well in long slow cooking[7]. The leaves can be used either fresh or dried[5]. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly[7]. A nutritional analysis is available[8]. An aromatic tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[1][5]. Pungent and spicy[5].

Unknown part


Material uses

An essential oil from the leaves is frequently used in perfumery, soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes, medicinally etc[9][1][10][11][6]. It has fungicidal properties[12] and is also used to prevent mildew[8].

The leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri[6]. The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position[13]. Plants are best spaced about 30cm apart each way[14].

The dried flowers are used to repel moths from clothing[3] whilst the growing plant is said to repel cabbage root fly[15][16].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Common thyme has a very long history of folk use for a wide range of ailments[8]. It is very rich in essential oils and these are the active ingredients responsible for most of the medicinal properties[8]. In particular, thyme is valued for its antiseptic and antioxidant properties, it is an excellent tonic and is used in treating respiratory diseases and a variety of other ailments[17].

The flowering tops are anthelmintic, strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, deodorant, diaphoretic, disinfectant, expectorant, sedative and tonic[3][18][1][7][8]. The plant is used internally in the treatment of dry coughs, whooping cough, bronchitis, bronchial catarrh, asthma, laryngitis, indigestion, gastritis and diarrhoea and enuresis in children[6]. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women[6]. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tonsillitis, gum diseases, rheumatism, arthritis and fungal infections[6]. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use[6]. Thyme has an antioxidant effect, thus regular use of this herb improves the health and longevity of individual body cells and therefore prolongs the life of the body[254, K]. The essential oil is strongly antiseptic[3]. The whole herb is used in the treatment of digestive disorders, sore throats, fevers etc[3].

The essential oil is one of the most important oils used in aromatherapy[18][19]. Its keyword is 'Bacterial'[19]. It is used especially in cases of exhaustion, depression, upper respiratory tract infections, skin and scalp complaints etc[6]. The oil can cause allergic reactions and irritation to the skin and mucous membranes[6].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed can keep for three years in normal storage[3].

Division in spring or autumn[7]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 - 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame[7]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[7].


Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Thymus vulgaris. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a light, dry calcareous soil and a sunny position[3][18][9][20][21]. Succeeds in dry soils, poor soils and tolerates drought once it is established[22]. Plants can be grown on old walls. Thymes dislike wet conditions, especially in the winter. A layer of gravel on the soil around them will help protect the foliage from wet soils[6].

Thyme is hardy to about -15°c[7], though it is even hardier when grown on old walls are in well-drained poor light soils[3]. Thyme is commonly grown in the herb garden, there are many named varieties[23]. It is also harvested commercially for its essential oil[8]. The leaves are very aromatic[22]. It is sometimes grown as an annual from seed when used for culinary purposes[7]. The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to honey bees[3][18][7]. Thyme is a good companion for most plants[16][24], it is said to repel cabbage root flies when grown near brassicas[15][16].

This is a very difficult genus taxonomically, the species hybridize freely with each other and often intergrade into each other[7].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Thymus vulgaris. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Thymus vulgaris.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Thymus vulgaris
Imported References
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type

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"image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki."image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


  1. ? Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  3. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  5. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  6. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  7. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  8. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
  9. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
  11. ? 11.011.1 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
  15. ? Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
  16. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.1 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  18. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  19. ? Westwood. C. Aromatherapy - A guide for home use. Amberwood Publishing Ltd ISBN 0-9517723-0-9 (1993-00-00)
  20. ? Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
  21. ? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
  22. ? 22.022.1 Chatto. B. The Dry Garden. Dent ISBN 0460045512 (1982-00-00)
  23. ? Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
  24. ? Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)

"image:Thymus vulgaris0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

Facts about "Thymus vulgaris"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyLabiatae +
Belongs to genusThymus +
Functions asGround cover +
Has common nameCommon Thyme +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part + and Leaves +
Has edible useSeasoning +, Unknown use + and Tea +
Has environmental toleranceHigh wind +
Has fertility typeBee +, Flies + and Lepidoptera +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has hardiness zone7 +
Has imageThymus vulgaris0.jpg +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useEssential +, Fungicide +, Pot-pourri + and Repellent +
Has mature height0.2 +
Has mature width0.3 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAnthelmintic +, Antiseptic +, Antispasmodic +, Aromatherapy +, Carminative +, Deodorant +, Diaphoretic +, Disinfectant +, Expectorant +, Sedative + and Tonic +
Has primary imageThymus vulgaris0.jpg +
Has search namethymus vulgaris + and x +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceNeutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy nameThymus vulgaris +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Inhabits ecosystem nicheSoil surface +
Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +