Thymus vulgaris cultivars

When I first went to see the thymes at Kew, I realised that the thyme known for many years as T. richardii subsp. nitidus 'Albus', had been wrongly assigned to this subspecies.  This thyme grows as a compact bush with tiny narrow leaves, whereas the subspecies of T. richardii all have a creeping habit with woody stems.  As it keys out as a cultivar of T. vulgaris it has been renamed T. vulgaris 'Dorcas' White' and this name has been listed in the RHS Plant Finder since 1998-99.  (Dorcas was a lady of means in the Acts of the Apostles who sewed for the poor and her name now appears on a box of pins.)

 

T. vulgaris 'Dorcas White'

The thyme formerly known as miniature thyme or the invalid name T. compactus albus keys out as a cultivar of T. vulgaris.  It was given the cultivar name 'Snow White' in 1996 and is now known as T. vulgaris 'Snow White'.  It is more compact than T. vulgaris 'Dorcas White'.

T. vulgaris 'Snow White'

 
 

Thymus vulgaris

The golden leaved thyme, for many years known by the invalid name T. ericoides 'Aureus', is similar to the thyme known as T. caespititius 'Aureus', but which bears no resemblance to the species.  In our first study the DNA profiles confirmed that these two names referred to the same plant and also show that they are cultivars of T. vulgaris.  As it is similar to T. vulgaris 'Dorcas White', but with golden leaves, it is now known as T. vulgaris 'Golden Pins' and this name has been listed in the RHS Plant Finder since 1998-99.

 DNA 
 

T. vulgaris 'Golden Pins'

Thymus vulgaris cultivars was published in Plant Heritage Vol. 9 No. 1 Spring 2002.


Thymus vulgaris 'Suditin'

There is a grey-green leaved bushy thyme with pale pink flowers, which has been available in the nursery trade since 1931.  At that time it was known as T. nitidus and more recently it has been known as T. richardii subsp. nitidus and is currently listed by two nurseries in the RHS Plant Finder.  Neither name is correct, as this species is not known to be available in the nursery trade.  Thymus richardii and its subspecies are native to the Balearic Islands and all have a woody creeping habit, whereas the thymes available in the nursery trade with this specific name all have the typical growth habit and leaves of T. vulgaris.  It would therefore seem appropriate to give it a cultivar name within the species T. vulgaris.  When renaming thymes my practice, wherever possible, has been to give a name which easily relates to the old name.  I have discussed names with Dr. Janet Cubey, RHS Principal Botanist and we have agreed on the name Thymus vulgaris 'Suditin' (nitidus backwards), under which it will be listed in the 2006-7 edition of the RHS Plant Finder.


 

T. vulgaris 'Suditin''

Thymus vuigaris 'Suditin' was published in Plant Heritage Vol. 13 No. 1 Spring 2006.

Photographs ©  Mrs. Margaret Easter, no copying or reproduction permitted.

Introduced November 2001, last updated May 2007