Wild thyme characteristics

What is a wild thyme plant?

Characteristics of wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum L.)

Common name: Creeping thyme, wild thyme, mother-of-thyme.

wild thyme
Wild thyme is a high mountain thyme that is very characteristic for its violet flowers and because its leaves are wider than those of thyme.

Spanish: Serpol, tomillo silvestre, tomillo serpol o sanjuanero.

Scientific name: Thymus serpyllum L. (Syn. T. angustifolius)

Etymology: The word serpyllum derives from the Greek and means to snake, alluding to the creeping habit of the plant.

Family: Labiatae

Distribution and habitat of wild thyme

Shrub native to Europe, predominant in the northern and central countries of the continent as a wild plant.

Cultivated in gardening as an aromatic and medicinal plant.

It grows in habitats similar to thyme (Thymus vulgaris), but with more humidity: rocky terrains, roadsides, uncultivated lands, etc.

Plant description

Perennial plant of the Labiatae family, a relative of thyme (Thymus vulgaris).

Creeping stems, and erect at the end, up to 25 cm. high.

Entire leaves, oval and larger than those of thyme.

Labiate flowers gathered in terminal inflorescences. It blooms from May until the end of summer.

Plant composition

The plant’s richness in essential oils stands out, giving it a balsamic smell.

wild thyme flowers
Wild thyme, photo where you can see the shape of its leaves.
  • Essential oil (1%): thymol (30%), carvacrol (20%) and cimol mainly; p-cymene, zingiberene, limonene.
  • Rosmarinic, caffeic, ursolic acid
  • Tannins (7%)
  • Bitter principle: Serpillina

Uses of wild thyme

This plant from the Labiatae family is used as:

  • Ornamental plant: Cultivated for its scented flowers and its rusticity.
  • Seasoning: Wild thyme is an aromatic herb, ideal for seasoning stews and roasts.
  • Honey plant: It is highly appreciated by bees, which produce monofloral honey through pollination of its flowers.
  • As a medicinal plant
This article was endorsed by Julián Masats - Technical agricultural engineer specialized in horticulture and gardening.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

1 December, 2023

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