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Common Name: Cretan Thyme
Thymus caespititius is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 0.10 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
S.W. Europe - Portugal, N.W. Spain.
Dry stony slopes and gullies[
|Pollinators||Bees, Flies, Lepidoptera
Prefers a light, well-drained calcareous soil and a sunny position[
]. Plants tolerate occasional walking on and can be grown in cracks in paths, they also succeed on walls[
]. Thymes dislike wet conditions, especially in the winter. A layer of gravel on the soil around them will help protect the foliage from wet soils[
Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[
There is at least one named variety. 'Celery' is a low compact grower that forms small mounds of growth. The leaves have a celery-like flavour[
The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to honey bees[
This is a very difficult genus taxonomically, the species hybridize freely with each other and often intergrade into each other[
The plant is sometimes used as a condiment in cooked foods. The fresh leaves have a tangerine-like scent and can be used with or instead of lemon-scented thyme, Thymus citriodorus[
]. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly[
The leaves, and especially the essential oil contained in them, are strongly antiseptic, deodorant and disinfectant[
]. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use[
The essential oil obtained from the leaves is also used in perfumery, as a mouth wash, medicinally etc[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring or autumn[
]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
Cuttings of young shoots, 5 - 8cm with a heel, May/early summer in a frame[
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, mid summer in a frame[