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Thymus polytrichus britannicus

Creeping Thyme, Mother-of-Thyme
Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Ground covers, Herbs, Perennials


Diminutive Mediterranean members of the mint family with tiny, usually heavily scented leaves and masses of little flowers in whorls. Well suited to an herb garden or rock garden; prostrate, mat-forming types make good small-space groundcovers. Attractive to bees. Botanical names are constantly undergoing revision and often confusing.

Thymus polytrichus britannicus

Usually sold as T. serpyllum. Variable species to 1–3 in. high and 6 in. to 3 ft. wide. Round leaves range from glossy green to soft gray and can be variegated or have golden highlights. Flowers come in various shades of pink and white.

There are two basic types of creeping thyme: those that grow a foot or more wide and are suited to filling large spaces, and those that grow slowly to 6–12 in. wide and are more suited to filling between pavers where foot traffic is light. The first group includes pink flowering ‘Coccineum’, ‘Creeping Pink,’ and ‘Reiter’. The second group includes 1-in.-high ‘Minus’, nonblooming ‘Elfin’, ‘Pink Chintz’, ‘White Moss’, and ‘Mint Thyme’. 

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