The earliest reference I have found is in the 1889 catalogue of Backhouse of York,
where it was listed as T. serpyllum coccineus with the description
"Too much can scarcely be said in praise of this beautiful variety of the mountain thyme forming as it does,
perfect sheets of rich crimson blossoms."
Craven Nursery of Ingleborough listed it in 1902 and 1906 as T. serpyllum coccineus,
describing it as "deep magenta" and Six Hills Nursery of Stevenage listed it from 1910.
It became widely available after the First World War as T. serpyllum coccineus from nurseries such
as Ingwersens, Robinsons, Orchard Neville Nurseries, Stuart Boothman, Blooms of Bressingham, etc.
In 1998 it was listed in the RHS Plant Finder as T. 'Coccineus'.
It was awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
Although most creeping thyme growing in the wild has flowers in various shades of pink and mauve,
in 1998 we found dark crimson flowered thyme growing at Malham in North Yorkshire.
Thymus Coccineus Group
Although many dark crimson flowered thymes listed under the 'Coccineus' cultivar epithet have narrowly ovate leaves,
others have elliptic or ovate leaves and for this reason I felt it would be more appropriate to treat
these plants as part of a cultivar-group.
In addition nurserymen have selected several thymes and given them cultivar names within
T. serpyllum; 'Purple Beauty' (synonym 'Atropurpureus'), 'Red Elf', 'Purpurteppich' and its seedling T. 'Purple Kiss'
and T. 'Hardstoft Red', the cream leaved variegated sport which occurred at Hardstoft Herb Garden in Derbyshire.
I also proposed that the thymes selected by nurserymen and given cultivar names would retain these names within the Coccineus Group,
but without the specific epithet.
Since 2001 other dark crimson thymes have been added to the Coccineus Group, including T.'Bethany', selected by David Ryder
and named for his granddaughter, Arthur Shearing's T. 'Highdown Red' and the American thyme, T. 'Mint'.
There are however some cultivars, either with dark crimson flowers, or with the epithet Coccineus,
which have not been included in the Coccineus Group.
Thymus serpyllum 'Fulney Red' has dark crimson flowers 78A,
but the centre of the flower is white and not 71A.
Six Hills Nursery introduced T. serpyllum coccineus 'Major' in 1914, but as it is most likely to be a hybrid of
T. pulegioides, I renamed it T. 'Coccineus Major' in 2003.
In 2004 I renamed Blooms of Bressingham's purple-pink (78C) thyme, T. serpyllum coccineus 'Minor' (misapplied),
as T. 'Alan Bloom'.
Thymus 'Purple Beauty'