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(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
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Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
House Leek (crassulaceoe)
Anemone (wood)



Thyme








(Thymus vulgaris, Linn.), a very diminutive perennial shrub, of
the natural order Labiatae, native of dry, stony places on Mediterranean
coasts, but found occasionally naturalized as an escape from gardens in
civilized countries, both warm and cold. From early days it has been
popularly grown for culinary purposes. The name is from the Greek word
thyo, or sacrifice, because of its use as incense to perfume the
temples. With the Romans it was very popular both in cookery and as a
bee forage. Like its relatives sage and marjoram, it has practically
disappeared from medicine, though formerly it was very popular because
of its reputed properties.

Description.--The procumbent, branched, slender, woody stems, which
seldom reach 12 inches, bear oblong, triangular, tapering leaves from
1/4 to 1/2 inch long, green above and gray beneath. In the axils of the
upper leaves are little pink or lilac flowers, which form whorls and
loose, leafy spikes. The seeds, of which there are 170,000 to the ounce,
and 24 ounces to the quart, retain their germinating power for three
years.

Cultivation.--Thyme does best in a rather dry, moderately fertile,
light soil well exposed to the sun. Cuttings, layers and divisions may
be made, but the popular way to propagate is by seed. Because the seed
is very small, it should be sown very shallow or only pressed upon the
surface and then sprinkled with finely sifted soil. A small seedbed
should be used in preference to sowing in the open ground first, because
better attention can be given such little beds; second, because the area
where the plants are ultimately to be can be used for an early-maturing
crop. In the seedbed made out of doors in early spring, the drills may
be made 4 to 6 inches apart and the seeds sown at the rate of 5 or 6 to
the inch. A pound should produce enough plants for an acre. In hand
sowing direct in the field, a fine dry sand is often thoroughly mixed
with the seed to prevent too close planting. The proportion chosen is
sometimes as great as four times as much sand as seed. Whether sown
direct in the field or transplanted the plants should finally not stand
closer than 8 inches--10 is preferred. When first set they may be half
this distance. In a small way one plant to the square foot is a good
rate to follow. The young plants may be set in the field during June, or
even as late as July, preferably just before or just after a shower. The
alternate plants may be removed in late August or early September, the
alternate rows about three weeks later and the final crop in October.

Thyme will winter well. In home garden practice it may be treated like
sage. In the coldest climates it may be mulched with leaves or litter to
prevent undue thawing and freezing and consequent heaving of the soil.
In the spring the plants should be dug, divided and reset in a new
situation.

When seed is desired, the ripening tops must be cut frequently, because
the plants mature very unevenly. But this method is often more wasteful
than spreading cloths or sheets of paper beneath the plants and allowing
the seed to drop in them as it ripens. Twice a day, preferably about
noon, and in the late afternoon the plants should be gently jarred to
make the ripe seeds fall into the sheets. What falls should then be
collected and spread in a warm, airy room to dry thoroughly. When this
method is practiced the stems are cut finally; that is, when the bulk of
the seed has been gathered. They are dried, threshed or rubbed and the
trash removed, by sifting. During damp weather the seed will not
separate readily from the plants.

Of the common thyme there are two varieties: narrow-leaved and
broad-leaved. The former, which has small grayish-green leaves, is more
aromatic and pleasing than the latter, which, however, is much more
popular, mainly because of its size, and not because of its superiority
to the narrow-leaved kind. It is also known as winter or German thyme.
The plant is taller and larger and has bigger leaves, flowers and seeds
than the narrow-leaved variety and is decidedly more bitter.

Uses.--The green parts, either fresh, dried or in decoction, are used
very extensively for flavoring soups, gravies, stews, sauces,
forcemeats, sausages, dressings, etc. For drying, the tender stems are
gathered after the dew is off and exposed to warm air in the shade. When
crisp they are rubbed, the trash removed and the powder placed in
stoppered bottles or tins. All parts of the plant are fragrant because
of the volatile oil, which is commercially distilled mainly in France.
About one per cent of the green parts is oil, which after distillation
is at first a reddish-brown fluid. It loses its color on redistillation
and becomes slightly less fragrant. Both grades of oil are used
commercially in perfumery. In the oil are also crystals (thymol), which
resemble camphor and because of their pleasant odor are used as a
disinfectant where the strong-smelling carbolic acid would be
objectionable.

Besides common thyme two other related species are cultivated to some
extent for culinary purposes. Lemon thyme (T. citriodorus, Pers.),
like its common relative, is a little undershrub, with procumbent stems
and with a particularly pleasing fragrance. Wild thyme, or
mother-of-thyme (T. serpyllum, Linn.), is a less grown perennial, with
violet or pink flowers. It is occasionally seen in country home gardens,
and is also used somewhat for seasoning.






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