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English Thyme

December 8, 2016 Back to Picks >

In Southern Herb Growing, by Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay, thymes are described as falling into three broad groups: �upright subshrubs 12 to 18 inches tall, creeping herbs up to 6 inches, and very flat creepers only 1 to 2 inches tall. The culinary thymes are in the upright subshrub category, and nearly all are cultivars of common thyme, T. vulgaris. � Thus, English Thyme, which may also be called �Common Thyme� or �Garden Thyme�, or a special cultivar called �Broadleaf English� are all very closely related.

With close to 400 varieties of thyme identified thus far, it must be noted that these little herbs are indeed notorious cross-pollinators, just like the mints, so new hybrids appear every year.

The English Thyme, however, is a favorite of cooks, along with narrow-leaf French, lemon, and winter thymes. Thymes in general like well-drained soil and plenty of sunshine, as well as great air circulation. The upright varieties are quite woody and can form considerable mounds in a few years. Light, regular pruning will keep the mound healthy — severe pruning in an effort to overcome woody stems almost always kills the plant entirely.

Thyme is one of the basic seasonings throughout the world�s cuisines. While its leaves are small, they have a strong flavor, and should be used sparingly.