Information on Basil Thyme

Common Name: Basil Thyme
Scientific Name: Clinopodium acinos
Irish Name: Lus mhic rí
Family Group: Lamiaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


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


Basil Thyme grows in dry, calcareous, grassy habitats such as quarries, rocky sites and grassy, arable land. It is a downy, square-stemmed plant which grows to about 20 cm tall, bearing extremely pretty, blue-violet, flowers  (8–10 mm) in whorls of two to six at the base of the upper, paired leaves. The corolla of the flower is two-lipped with a white patch on the lower lip. The opposite leaves are oval with a network of veins and only slightly toothed. This plant blooms from May to September, is an introduction and belongs to the Lamiaceae family.   

I first recorded and photographed this plant in a disused quarry near Pollardstown, County Kildare in 2010. 

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

Thyme, Basil
Thyme, Basil

This species is classed as NEAR THREATENED in the Red Data List of Vascular Plants 2016.

Termed a ‘colonist’ by Nathaniel Colgan in his Flora of County Dublin (1904), this plant was first found in Ireland in1840. It was recorded in 1859 by James Townsend Mackay who wrote that it was ‘found in July 1840, in a sandy field at Portmarnock by several of my botanical friends and myself’. Mackay was a native of Kircaldy in Scotland who was appointed Curator of a three acre garden in ‘Ball’s Bridge’ by the Board of Trinity College.