Information on Wild Thyme

Common Name: Wild Thyme
Scientific Name: Thymus polytrichus
Irish Name: Tím chreige
Family Group: Lamiaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Wild Thyme is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Wild Thyme is a low-growing, spreading, mat-forming perennial which has a strong scent when crushed.  It grows on dry grassland, in coastal dunes and on heaths and from June to September it displays numerous pink-purple two-lipped flowers (3-4mm long) in dense ovoid heads on creeping stems.  Two sides of the stems are hairy, two sides are almost without hairs. The leaves are hairy, oval and untoothed.  Wild Thyme is the main larval foodplant of the Large Blue Butterfly, now reintroduced in the UK (from Sweden) after near extinction.  This plant is a native which belongs to the family Lamiaceae. 

My earliest record of this wildflower is in 1977 in the Burren and I photographed it in the Burren in 2005 and at Ballyteigue, Co Wexford in 2007.  

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Thyme, Wild
Thyme, Wild

Widely used by cooks and herbalists, the oil in Thyme leaves contains thymol which is used as an antiseptic and also a preservative. 

 'I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows;
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine.'

William Shakespeare.  (1564-1616)
A Midsummer Night's Dream.