Herb: Cretan Thyme

Latin name: Thymus caespititius

Family: Labiatae

Medicinal use of Cretan Thyme:

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.

Description of the plant:


10 cm
(4 inches)

July to


Habitat of the herb:

Dry stony slopes and gullies.

Edible parts of Cretan Thyme:

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.

Other uses of the herb:

The essential oil obtained from the leaves is also used in perfumery, as a mouth wash, medicinally etc.

Propagation of Cretan Thyme:

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/June in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry stony slopes and gullies.

Known hazards of Thymus caespititius:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.