Herb: Lemon Thyme


Latin name: Thymus x citriodorus


Synonyms: Thymus serpyllum citratus, Thymus serpyllum citriodorum


Family: Labiatae



Medicinal use of Lemon 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. The leaves contain an antioxidant and regular use of the raw leaves has been shown to increase average life expectancy by about 10%. The essential oil obtained from this plant is thought to be less irritant than other thyme oils and so it is used in aromatherapy to treat asthma and other respiratory complaints, especially in children.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
10 cm
(4 inches)

Flovering:
July to
August


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Lemon Thyme:

Leaves - raw in salads or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. A delicious lemon flavour. 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. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves. It has a pleasant lemon-like flavour and is very refreshing.

Other uses of the herb:

The essential oil obtained from the leaves and flowering stems is used in perfumery, as a mouth wash, medicinally etc. The aromatic leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri and herbal pillows. The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position. They are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.

Propagation of Lemon 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. This species is a hybrid and will not breed true from seed. 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:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Thymus x citriodorus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.