Thyme

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Thyme
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Thymus_vulgaris.jpg



Common Thyme Thymus vulgaris
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Lamiales
Family:Lamiaceae
Genus:Thymus
Species

About 350 species, including:
Thymus adamovicii
Thymus bracteosus
Thymus broussonetii
Thymus caespititius
Thymus camphoratus
Thymus capitatus
Thymus capitellatus
Thymus carnosus
Thymus cephalotus
Thymus cherlerioides
Thymus ciliatus
Thymus cilicicus
Thymus cimicinus
Thymus comosus
Thymus comptus
Thymus doerfleri
Thymus glabrescens
Thymus herba-barona
Thymus hirsutus
Thymus hyemalis
Thymus integer
Thymus lanuginosus
Thymus leucotrichus
Thymus longicaulis
Thymus longiflorus
Thymus mastichina
Thymus membranaceus
Thymus montanus
Thymus nummularis
Thymus odoratissimus
Thymus pallasianus
Thymus pannonicus
Thymus praecox
Thymus pseudolanuginosus
Thymus pulegioides
Thymus quinquecostatus
Thymus richardii
Thymus serpyllum
Thymus striatus
Thymus thracicus
Thymus villosus
Thymus vulgaris
Thymus zygis

Thyme (Thymus) is a genus of about 350 species of aromatic perennial herbs and sub-shrubs to 40 cm tall, in the family Lamiaceae. They are native to Europe, north Africa and Asia. The stems are thin and wiry; the leaves are evergreen in most species, arranged in opposite pairs, oval, entire, and small, 4-20 mm long. The flowers are in dense terminal heads, with an uneven calyx, with the upper lip three-lobed, and the lower cleft; the corolla is tubular, 4-10 mm long, and white, pink or purple.

Common Thyme, aka Garden Thyme, T. vulgaris is a very commonly used culinary herb. It is a Mediterranean perennial which is best suited to well-drained soils and enjoys full sun.

Citrus Thyme T. x citriodorus (T. pulegioides x T. vulgaris) is also a popular culinary herb, with cultivars selected with flavours of various Citrus fruit.

Woolly Thyme (T. pseudolanuginosus) and Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) are not culinary herbs but are attractive ground covers.

Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is an important nectar source plant for honeybees. All thyme species are nectar sources, but wild thyme covers large areas of droughty, rocky soils in southern Europe (Greece is especially famous for wild thyme honey), as well as in similar landscapes in the Berkshire Mountains and Catskill Mountains of the northeastern US.

Thyme is often used to flavour meats, soups and stews. It is used in French cuisine, where it is an important element in a bouquet garni, as well as in Herbes de Provence. It is also widely used in West Indian cuisine. In Jordan the condiment zahtar contains thyme as vital ingredient.

Thyme should be added early in cooking so that its oils have time to be released.

History

Ancient Egyptians used this herb in enbalming. The Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks the Romans as they used it to purify their rooms.

In medieval times, women would often give knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer. Thyme was also used as incense and placed on coffins during funerals as it was supposed to assure passage into the next life.

According to E. S. Rohde, this enchanted herb was a favourite of the fairies.

External Links

de:Thymian eo:Timiano fr:Thym it:Thymus nl:Tijm sv:Timjan

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