Open the Advanced Search

Breckland Thyme

Thymus serpyllum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
5 centimetres tall
Grassland, heathland, meadows, riversides, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes.

Purple, 2 petals
Flowers appear in compact clusters. They are tubular and pinkish-purple. Occasionally white flowers are produced. The lower lip of the flower is 2-lipped. Flowers each measure between 4 and 6mm long. Pollinated by flies, bees, butterflies and moths.
A dry, 4-parted fruit. The seeds mature in August and September.
Very small, dark green, oval, toothless and stalkless (or almost stalkless) leaves in opposite pairs along the stems. The leaves are up to 8mm in length. Evergreen.
Strongly fragrant.
Other Names:
Breckland Wild Thyme, Creeping Thyme, Elfin Thyme, Mother of Thyme, Wild Thyme.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Thymus serpyllum, also known as wild thyme or creeping thyme, is a perennial herb native to Europe and Asia. It is typically found in grassland, meadows, and rocky areas. The plant has a low-growing, creeping habit and produces small, pink or purple flowers. It is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens, rock gardens, and as a ground cover, due to its tolerance to dry and poor soils. Some cultivars of Thymus serpyllum have been developed for gardening, with different flower colors and leaf forms. This plant is hardy and easy to grow and can be propagated by division or seed. It's also known for its culinary and medicinal uses. It has a strong aroma and it is used as a spice, it is also used in traditional medicine to help with respiratory issues and digestive problems. It is also used as a tea.


Breckland Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is a low-growing perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. This plant has been used for centuries for its culinary and medicinal properties, and its delicate and fragrant aroma makes it a popular ingredient in many dishes. In this blog, we will explore the history, uses, and benefits of Breckland Thyme, and how it can be incorporated into your life.

History of Breckland Thyme

Breckland Thyme has been used for thousands of years, dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans. They used this herb as a medicinal plant, as well as a flavoring in their food. During the Middle Ages, Breckland Thyme was grown in monastic herb gardens, and was often used in remedies to treat various ailments such as coughs, colds, and digestive issues.

Uses of Breckland Thyme

Breckland Thyme is widely used in the culinary world, and its strong flavor and aroma make it an ideal ingredient in many dishes. It is particularly popular in Mediterranean and French cuisine, where it is often used to flavor meat dishes, soups, stews, and sauces. The leaves of the plant can be dried or fresh and are easily added to a variety of dishes for added flavor.

In addition to its culinary uses, Breckland Thyme has a long history of medicinal use. It has been used to treat respiratory problems, digestive issues, and skin conditions, and is considered a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. Breckland Thyme essential oil is also commonly used in aromatherapy, and is believed to help relieve stress, improve mental clarity, and boost the immune system.

Benefits of Breckland Thyme

One of the key benefits of Breckland Thyme is its high antioxidant content, which helps to protect the body from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. This herb is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, iron, and calcium.

In addition to its nutritional benefits, Breckland Thyme has been shown to have a number of health-promoting properties. It has been used to treat respiratory problems such as coughs and colds, and is believed to help boost the immune system and improve the body's ability to fight off infections.

How to Incorporate Breckland Thyme into Your Life

Breckland Thyme can easily be incorporated into your life in a variety of ways. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Use it in cooking: Add fresh or dried Breckland Thyme to your favorite dishes for added flavor and aroma.

  2. Make a tea: Brew a cup of tea using Breckland Thyme leaves to help soothe respiratory problems and improve digestion.

  3. Use it in aromatherapy: Add a few drops of Breckland Thyme essential oil to your diffuser or bath water for a relaxing and stress-relieving experience.

Breckland Thyme is a versatile and flavorful herb that has been used for centuries for its culinary and medicinal properties.

Growing Breckland Thyme

Breckland Thyme is a hardy and easy-to-grow herb that is well suited to a variety of growing conditions. It is a low-growing plant that spreads quickly, making it a great choice for ground cover or rock gardens.

When growing Breckland Thyme, it is important to choose a location with well-draining soil and full sun. This herb is also very drought-tolerant and can handle periods of dry weather, making it a low-maintenance plant.

To propagate Breckland Thyme, you can either sow seeds or take cuttings from established plants. When growing from seed, it is best to sow them in the spring or early summer, and to keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated. When taking cuttings, it is best to take them from the current season's growth and to root them in a mixture of sand and water.

Caring for Breckland Thyme

Breckland Thyme is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for. It requires very little water, and can tolerate periods of drought. When growing this herb, it is important to prune it back regularly to keep it bushy and to encourage new growth.

In the winter, Breckland Thyme may die back, but it will re-emerge in the spring. If you live in a climate with harsh winters, it is a good idea to provide a protective mulch to help keep the roots from freezing.

Cooking with Breckland Thyme

Breckland Thyme is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes to add flavor and aroma. Here are some suggestions for incorporating Breckland Thyme into your cooking:

  1. Roasted meats: Add a sprig of fresh Breckland Thyme to your roasting pan to infuse your meats with flavor.

  2. Herbed butter: Mix softened butter with chopped Breckland Thyme leaves for a delicious herbed butter that can be used on grilled meats, vegetables, or bread.

  3. Salad dressings: Add a touch of Breckland Thyme to your salad dressing for a burst of flavor.

  4. Soups and stews: Add a sprig of fresh or dried Breckland Thyme to your soups and stews for a fragrant and flavorful touch.

  5. Marinades: Use Breckland Thyme in marinades for meats, poultry, or fish to infuse them with flavor.

  6. Herbed breads: Mix chopped Breckland Thyme into your bread dough for a delicious herbed bread.

Incorporating Breckland Thyme into your cooking is easy, and its delicate and fragrant aroma will add a touch of sophistication to any dish. So why not try using this versatile herb in your next recipe and see what amazing flavors you can create?

Health Benefits of Breckland Thyme

Breckland Thyme has a number of health benefits, and has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Here are some of the ways that Breckland Thyme can benefit your health:

  1. Respiratory health: Breckland Thyme is a natural expectorant, and can help to soothe respiratory problems such as coughs, colds, and bronchitis.

  2. Immune system support: Breckland Thyme is believed to help boost the immune system, and can help to protect the body from infections and diseases.

  3. Digestive health: Breckland Thyme is a natural antispasmodic, and can help to soothe digestive problems such as indigestion, bloating, and gas.

  4. Skin health: Breckland Thyme has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and can be used to help treat skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

In conclusion, Breckland Thyme is not only a delicious herb, but it also has a number of health benefits that can help to improve your overall well-being. Whether you are looking to soothe respiratory problems, boost your immune system, or improve your skin health, Breckland Thyme is definitely worth considering. So why not add this amazing herb to your life today?

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map