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Wild Thyme

Thymus polytrichus

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
Gardens, grassland, heathland, rocky places, scrub.

Purple, 2 petals
Small, pinkish-purple, 2-lipped flowers that are borne in clusters at the ends of their branches. Often forming carpets of pink over the ground.
A dry 4-sided fruit, splitting open upon ripening.
Evergreen and carpet-forming plant. Tiny, hairy, oval, untoothed, bluish-green leaves.
Slightly aromatic.
Other Names:
Many-haired Thyme.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Thymus polytrichus, also known as many-haired thyme, is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region. It is typically found in rocky areas, hillsides and scrubland. The plant has a compact growth 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 polytrichus 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.


Wild Thyme (Thymus polytrichus) is a fragrant and hardy herb that has been used for centuries in cooking and medicinal purposes. This herb is a member of the mint family and is native to the Mediterranean region and parts of Asia.

The name "Thyme" comes from the Greek word "thumos," meaning "to fumigate" or "to perfume," and it is easy to see why. Wild Thyme has a strong and pungent aroma that is both refreshing and soothing. The leaves of the plant are small and oval, ranging from green to gray-green in color, and are covered in tiny hairs that give the plant a velvety texture.

In cooking, Wild Thyme is used to add flavor to a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, sauces, and marinades. Its pungent flavor pairs well with other herbs such as rosemary and basil, and it is also used in traditional Mediterranean dishes such as bouquet garni, which is a bundle of herbs used to flavor soups and stews.

In addition to its culinary uses, Wild Thyme has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It is believed to have antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems, skin infections, and digestive issues.

Wild Thyme is a hardy plant that grows well in rocky soils and can withstand dry conditions. It is a low-growing herb that spreads quickly, making it a great choice for rock gardens and borders. It is also a popular herb for cultivation in pots, as it is easy to care for and requires little attention.

To grow Wild Thyme, it is best to plant it in a well-draining soil in a sunny location. It is drought-tolerant and does not require much water, making it a great choice for low-maintenance gardening. It is also a low-maintenance herb in terms of pruning, as it only needs to be trimmed back once or twice a year to keep it neat and tidy.

Wild Thyme is a versatile and fragrant herb that is both flavorful and beneficial. Whether you are using it to add flavor to your cooking, or to treat a variety of ailments, it is a must-have herb for any gardener or cook.

Aside from its culinary and medicinal uses, Wild Thyme is also prized for its beauty. In the summer months, the plant is covered in small, pink or purple flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. These insects help to pollinate the plant, ensuring a healthy and productive herb garden.

One of the benefits of Wild Thyme is its low maintenance nature. Unlike many other herbs, it does not require frequent watering, and it is drought-tolerant, making it a great choice for gardeners who are looking for low-maintenance plants. Additionally, it is resistant to pests and diseases, making it a great choice for gardeners who want to avoid the use of chemicals in their gardens.

In traditional herbal medicine, Wild Thyme has been used for a variety of purposes, including as a cough suppressant, a remedy for indigestion, and as a natural insecticide. In aromatherapy, the essential oil of Wild Thyme is used to help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as to improve mental clarity and focus.

If you are interested in incorporating Wild Thyme into your cooking or herbal remedies, it is important to note that the flavor of the herb can vary depending on the growing conditions and the time of year. It is best to harvest Wild Thyme just before the plant begins to flower, as this is when the leaves are the most flavorful and fragrant.

Wild Thyme is a versatile and low-maintenance herb that is not only useful in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes, but is also beautiful and beneficial to the environment.

It's also worth mentioning that Wild Thyme is a great herb for adding to homemade household and personal care products. Its essential oil can be used to make natural remedies for various skin conditions, including acne and eczema, and it can also be used to make natural insect repellents.

For those interested in growing Wild Thyme, it is best to start with seeds or cuttings in the spring or early summer. The plant can be propagated by division, which is simply dividing the roots into smaller sections and planting them in separate pots. Wild Thyme also responds well to being propagated from stem cuttings, making it a great plant for sharing with friends and family.

When planting Wild Thyme in your garden, it is important to choose a well-drained location that receives plenty of sun. The plant can grow in a variety of soil types, but it is best to amend the soil with compost or other organic matter to improve its quality and provide the plant with the nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy.

When harvesting Wild Thyme, it is best to pick the leaves just before the plant flowers, as this is when the plant is at its most flavorful and aromatic. You can use the leaves fresh or dry them for later use. To dry Wild Thyme, simply place the leaves on a piece of paper or a wire rack in a warm, dry location until the leaves are crisp and brittle.

It's also important to note that Wild Thyme is an excellent choice for rock gardens and alpine gardens, as it can thrive in well-drained soil and hot, sunny conditions. Its small size and attractive flowers make it a great choice for adding color and texture to these types of gardens.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, Wild Thyme has also been used for spiritual purposes throughout history. In ancient Greece, Wild Thyme was used in religious rituals and was believed to have mystical properties. In medieval Europe, the plant was used in love spells and was said to bring good luck to those who possessed it.

When using Wild Thyme for cooking or for making herbal remedies, it is important to use caution, as the essential oil of the plant can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. Additionally, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before using Wild Thyme for medicinal purposes, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any underlying health conditions.

In conclusion, Wild Thyme is a versatile, low-maintenance herb that offers a wide range of benefits, both in the kitchen and in the garden. Whether you are using it to add flavor to your cooking, to make natural remedies, or simply to enjoy its beauty and fragrance, Wild Thyme is an herb that is sure to bring joy and benefits to your life.


Wild Thyme at Devil's Dyke on Newmarket racecourse, Suffolk on the 25th June 2022.


Music credits
The Chance by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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