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Definition: thyme from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Any of several herbs belonging to the mint family. Garden thyme T. vulgaris, native to the Mediterranean, grows to 30 cm/1 ft high and has small leaves and pinkish flowers. Its aromatic leaves are used for seasoning in cookery. (Genus Thymus, family Labiatae.)


Summary Article: thyme
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(tìm), any species of the genus Thymus, aromatic herbs or shrubby plants of the family Labiatae (mint family). The common thyme, which is used as a seasoning herb and yields a medicinal essential oil containing thymol, is the Old World T. vulgaris, an erect plant with grayish branches. It is cultivated mainly in Spain and in France. A compound derived from T. vulgaris, thymine, is used as a topical antifungal. The wild or creeping thyme, or mother-of-thyme (T. serpyllum), also used medicinally, is an Old World evergreen naturalized in North America and popular as a ground cover, edging, and rock plant. This was the wild thyme mentioned in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. The Greeks used thyme as a temple incense, and it has been prized since ancient times as a honey plant. Thyme is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Lamiales, family Labiatae.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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