Large thyme

Large Thyme

Brian Eversham

Large thyme

Scientific name: Thymus pulegioides
The aromatic fragrance of Large thyme can punctuate a summer walk over a chalk grassland. It is an evergreen that grows low to the ground, with erect spikes of tiny, lilac flowers appearing over summer.

Species information


Height: up to 25cm

Conservation status


When to see

June to September


Large thyme, also known as 'Broad-leaved thyme', is a low-growing, evergreen and aromatic shrub that is mainly found on chalk grassland, as well as on sand dunes and heathland.
Walk across a chalk grassland in summer and its fragrance will punctuate the warm air around you - a delightful, sensory experience. The erect spikes of tiny, lilac flowers appear from June to September.

How to identify

Large thyme has woody, square, reddish stems with hairs on each of the 'corners' of the lower parts of the stem.
Its tiny flowers are pinky-purple and grouped in an oblong head. Its oval leaves sit in opposite pairs on the stem and are aromatic when crushed.


Found in Southern England and East Anglia, but absent from the South West.

Did you know?

The thyme most commonly used in cooking is the Mediterranean herb, Thymus vulgaris. Occasionally, this species can be found growing on old walls and banks having been thrown-out with garden rubbish.