Wild Thyme

Thymus polytrichus

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  2. Wildflowers
  3. Wild Thyme


Wild Thyme is by far the most widespread and abundant of the thyme species. Walk across a chalk grassland in summer and its fragrance will punctuate the warm air around you - a delightful, sensory experience. Often forming mats low to the ground, it can also be found growing in short-turfed pastures and meadows, and on cliffs, walls and rocky places.

How to identify

An aromatic, creeping perennial, Wild Thyme has oval leaves that appear in pairs along its stems, and densely packed heads of pinky-purple flowers that appear from June to September.

Where to find it

Widespread in the south-east of England, patchy distribution elsewhere but can be found in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Areas of rare and unique wildlife, chalk grasslands have been likened to rainforest for the diversity of species they hold. But they are being lost at an alarming rate due to changes in land use causing the decline of grazing: it's estimated that we've lost 80% of our chalk grassland over the last 60 years. The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland nature reserves for the benefit of the rare wildlife they hold. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from scrub-cutting to stockwatching.

Local information

The Chilterns Chalk Grassland project was a BBOWT project to restore and enhance this habitat on 12 nature reserves for the benefit of many species including wild thyme. These reserves included College Lake, Chinnor Hill, Oakley Hill, Dancersend and Warburg Nature Reserve. Current BBOWT projects include the Living Landscapes and the Bernwood Forest project.

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Species information

Common name
Wild Thyme
Latin name
Thymus polytrichus
Height: up to 5cm
Conservation status