Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is a versatile and low-growing herb that belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to Europe and has become popular worldwide due to its culinary uses, aromatic fragrance, and ground-covering abilities. There are several fascinating varieties of creeping thyme, each with unique characteristics and uses. Here’s a closer look at some of these varieties:
1. Traditional Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpyllum):
- Description: Traditional creeping thyme features tiny, aromatic leaves and produces clusters of pink, lavender, or white flowers.
- Uses: It is commonly used in culinary dishes, herbal teas, and medicinal remedies. It also makes an excellent ground cover due to its spreading nature.
2. Elfin Thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’):
- Description: Elfin thyme is a dwarf variety with even smaller leaves and a more compact growth habit. It produces delicate lavender-pink flowers.
- Uses: It is ideal for small spaces, rock gardens, or as a border plant. Its diminutive size makes it perfect for filling gaps in between stones.
3. Woolly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus):
- Description: Woolly thyme has fuzzy, silver-gray leaves that create a soft, velvety appearance. It produces pink or purple flowers.
- Uses: This variety is often used in ornamental landscaping, especially in dry and sunny areas. The fuzzy leaves provide an interesting texture.
4. Mother of Thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Mother of Thyme’):
- Description: Mother of thyme features dark green leaves and vibrant magenta flowers. It has a spreading habit and forms dense mats.
- Uses: It is popular for ground cover and is excellent for preventing soil erosion on slopes. It is also used in culinary applications and herbal teas.
5. Coccineus Thyme (Thymus praecox ‘Coccineus’):
- Description: Coccineus thyme has bright green leaves and produces vibrant, carmine-red flowers.
- Uses: It is often cultivated for its decorative appeal and is suitable for rock gardens, pathways, and container plantings.
6. Pink Chintz Thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’):
- Description: Pink Chintz thyme features dark green leaves and abundant light pink flowers.
- Uses: It is widely use as a ground cover in sunny areas and is particularly attractive when in bloom. It is also suitable for planting between pavers.
7. Doone Valley Thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Doone Valley’):
- Description: Doone Valley thyme has golden-yellow foliage and produces pink flowers.
- Uses: This variety is value for its colorful leaves, making it a striking ornamental ground cover. It contrasts well with other green plants in the garden.
When choosing a creeping thyme variety, consider your specific gardening needs, such as space, sunlight, and soil conditions. Each variety offers unique aesthetic and culinary benefits, making them a popular choice for gardeners and cooks alike.