Thyme is any of several species of culinary and medicinal herbs of the genus Thymus, most commonly Thymus vulgaris.
The most important species and cultivars of Thymus are:
1. Thymus citriodorus (citrus thyme) – various lemon, orange, and lime thymes.
2. Thymus herba-barona (caraway thyme) – a culinary herb with a very strong caraway scent.
3. Thymus praecox (mother of thyme, wild thyme) – cultivated as an ornamental plant.
4. Thymus pseudolanuginosus (woolly thyme) – grown as a ground cover.
5. Thymus serpyllum (creeping thyme) – a dwarf-growing thyme; great for walkways.
6. Thymus vulgaris (called Common thyme, English thyme, or garden thyme) – the most commonly used Thyme as a culinary herb that also has medicinal uses.
Thyme – including Common Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – performs best when planted in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil. It is generally planted in the spring, and thereafter grows as a perennial. It tolerates drought well, and will withstand the freezes of winter.
A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), or by the sprig, or by the tablespoon or teaspoon of just the leaves. Fresh thyme is typically sold in bunches of leaved-sprigs snipped from the plant. Thyme retains its flavor when dried better than many other herbs.