Kirby, Seth Dixon Spice Farms, Dixon, California.
- Additional Readings
Any of a large and diverse group of perennial plants in the genus Thymus (order Lamiales), whose essential oil and leaves are utilized in cooking and medicine. Hundreds of different forms, or ecotypes, of thyme are found in the Mediterranean area, where thyme occurs as a wild plant. Thymus vulgaris (see illustration) is generally considered to be the true thyme (English or garden thyme), and it is the most widely used and cultivated thyme species. Both French thyme and German thyme are varieties of this species. Other species, including T. serpyllum (mother of thyme) and T. herba-barona (caraway-scented thyme), are grown or used in much the same way as T. vulgaris, but they do not have the same flavor or scent characteristics. Most types of thyme are low-growing perennials that do not exceed 38 cm (15 in.) in height. Typically, small smooth-edged leaves that reach 1 cm (0.4 in.) in length are closely spaced on stems that become woody with age. Depending on the soil type and climate, thyme may live 10 years or longer; however, in culture, thyme is replanted every 5 years or less. See also: Horticultural crops; Lamiales
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