Lemon Thyme

Botanical Name: Thymus citriodorus
Family:Lamiaceae
Kingdom :Plantae
Division :Magnoliophyta
Class :Magnoliopsida
Order :Lamiales
Genus :Thymus

SynonymsThymus serpyllum var. albus ,   Thymus serpyllum ssp. chamaedrys

Common Names:  Lemon Thyme, Creeping Lemon Thyme, Lemon-Scented Thyme
Habitat:It is not  native to USA but introduced and now grows in Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), New Hampshire (NH), New York (NY), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VA) and Washington (WA) .

Description: The lemon thyme is generally described as a Perennial Subshrub or Shrub.It is a compact, upright shrub that grows to a height of 8 to 12 inches. The leaves are tiny and heart shaped, ringed with a splash of yellow. As the name implies, lemon thyme has a bit of a citrus tang, but is milder than most other thyme. This makes it a natural choice for seasoning seafood dishes and even sweets. The citrus flavor also helps to lighten fatty dishes.
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Bees are attracted to lemon thyme and it gives honey a good flavor. It grows on dry, well drained soil. It produces dark pink flowers which bloom in late summer and it is the small green leaves that smell strongly of lemon. It is not as hardy as other thymes so may need protecting in winter with a layer of leaf mold or straw. This is a good variety for growing in containers. The dried, scented leaves make a useful, fragrant addition to pot pourri or scented sachets.

Cultivation :
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden. Requires a light well-drained preferably calcareous soil in a sunny position. Succeeds in dry soils. Thymes dislike wet conditions, especially in the winter. A layer of gravel on the soil around them will help protect the foliage from wet soils. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. This is a very difficult genus taxonomically, the species hybridize freely with each other and often intergrade into each other. Often cultivated in the herb garden for its leaves, there are some named varieties. The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to honey bees. A good companion for most plants. Special Features:Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Suitable for dried flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. This species is a hybrid and will not breed true from seed. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 – 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Edible Uses : Leaves – raw in salads or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. A delicious lemon flavour. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves. It has a pleasant lemon-like flavour and is very refreshing

Its light perfume fills the air as it hangs drying from hooks.Both grilled fish dishes and creamy potato gratins are perfect blank canvases for lemon thyme. This wonderful, aromatic herb is also amazing with chicken.

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A sweetly scented, evergreen herb and a cultivated form of wild thyme. It is a popular culinary herb due to its mild citrus flavor and is often used in stuffings, with chicken dishes or added to fruit salads and jellies.

Medicinal Uses: Herbal tea made from thyme is said to help speed recovery from a hangover.
Used to make pediatric oral preparations that are tasty and sweet to relieve an “upset tummy”.  It is also in ointments and in “sleep pillows”.
The natural, volatile oils also work as a digestive aid. These same pungent oils make lemon thyme a favorite in aroma therapy for the treatment of asthma. – Sally’s Place.

The leaves, and especially the essential oil contained in them, are strongly antiseptic, deodorant and disinfectant. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use. The leaves contain an antioxidant and regular use of the raw leaves has been shown to increase average life expectancy by about 10%. The essential oil obtained from this plant is thought to be less irritant than other thyme oils .

Other Uses :  The essential oil obtained from the leaves and flowering stems is used in perfumery, as a mouth wash, medicinally etc. The aromatic leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri and herbal pillows. The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position. They are best spaced about 30cm apart each way[

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://www.liketocook.com/50226711/weekend_herb_blogging_lemon_thyme.php
http://www.info-galaxy.com/Herbs/General_Index/Filter/Lemon_Thyme/lemon_thyme.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Thymus+x+citriodorus

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