Large thyme

Thymus pulegioides

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This low-growing, perennial aromatic herb is found on chalk grassland as well as occasionally on dunes and heathland.

How to identify

It has woody, square stems with hairs on each of the ‘corners’. The flowers are pink-purple and 6mm long and grouped in an oblong head. Leaves are 12x6mm and aromatic when crushed.

Where to find it

Throughout southern England into East Anglia, not in the southwest.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Large thyme is found on chalk downland - patchworks of chalk grassland, heath, scrub and ponds found on chalk hills. Areas of rare and unique wildlife, chalk grasslands, in particular, have been likened to a 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 and downland 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.

Species information

Common name
Large thyme
Latin name
Thymus pulegioides
Up to 25cm tall
Conservation status