Basil Thyme (Acinos arvensis )

Botanical Name:Acinos arvensis
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Acinos
Species: A. arvensis
Class: Magnoliopsida

Synonyms :  Acinos thymoides – Moench., Calamintha acinos – (L.)Clairv., Satureja acinos – (L.)Scheele.
Common Names: Basil Thyme, Mother of Thyme, Spring Savory

Habitat: Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia to the Mediterranean and east to W. Asia.  Dry sunny banks and in fields on chalky, gravelly and sandy soils .Ground Cover; Cultivated Beds;

Approximately 3500 species in 220 genera, distributed worldwide, but mostly in the Mediterranean region and SW Asia. China has 807 species in 96 genera.

Description;
Herbs,(Forb/herb ) sometimes subshrubs or shrubs , annual or perennial , usually aromatic . Stems and branches usually 4-angled. Leaves opposite, rarely whorled or alternate, simple to pinnately dissected or compound , without stipules. Inflorescences generally compound, sometimes flowers solitary and axillary ; verticillasters 2- to many flowered, subtended by leaves or bracts. Flowers bisexual , zygomorphic, rarely subactinomorphic, bracteolate or not. Calyx persistent , 5-toothed, 2-lipped; upper lip 3-toothed or entire (deciduous in Scutellaria) ; lower lip 2- or 4-toothed; tube sometimes hairy annulate inside. Corolla limb usually 2-lipped; upper lip 2-lobed and lower 3-lobed, rarely upper lip entire and lower 4-lobed, also rarely limb (4- or) 5-lobed; tube hairy annulate inside. Stamens epipetalous , 4 or 2, free , rarely filaments connate , sometimes one staminodial; anther 1- or 2-celled, usually dehiscing longitudinally; disc persistent. Ovary superior, 2-celled and each cell 2-ovuled and style subterminal , or ovary 4-parted and each lobe 1-ovuled and style gynobasic (from bases of ovary lobes) with 2-cleft apex. Fruit usually 4 dry nutlets . Seeds with or without endosperm.Flowers: Bloom Period: June. • Flower Color: blue-violet

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It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation:
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Succeeds in any well-drained soil, though it prefers a light well-drained dry soil in full sun. Prefers sandy and alkaline growing conditions. Dislikes shade. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -15°c. A short-lived perennial, but the plants usually self-sow when they are growing in a suitable position.

Propagation:-
Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame. If you have sufficient seed then you could try sowing in situ in April or May. Germination should take place within a month. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Very easy.

Edible Uses;-
Edible Parts: Leaves.

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Edible Uses: Condiment.

The flowering tops are used as a flavouring and in salads. Said to be similar to thyme in odour but milder and more pleasant. The plant is only faintly aromatic and does not really make a very good substitute for thyme.

Medicinal Action &  Uses:-
Diuretic; Odontalgic; Rubefacient; Stomachic.

Basil thyme was a great favourite of the ancient herbalists, though it is little used medicinally at present. The herb is diuretic, odontalgic, rubefacient and stomachic. The essential oil has been applied externally as a rubefacient, whilst one drop of it put into a decayed tooth is said to alleviate the pain. The plant has also been added to bath water, especially for children, and is said to be a strengthener and nerve soother. The flowering plant is harvested in the summer and is normally used fresh in infusions.

A stimulant, diuretic herb that benefits the digestive system and irritates the tissues, causing a temporary improvement in local blood supply.  Basil thyme was a great favorite of the ancient herbalists, though it is little used medicinally at present. The essential oil has been applied externally as a rubefacient, whilst one drop of it put into a decayed tooth is said to alleviate the pain. The plant has also been added to bath water, especially for children, and is said to be a strengthener and nerve soother.  Internally used for shortness of breath, melancholy, and improving the digestion.  Externally, oil was once distilled to treat bruises, toothache, sciatica, and neuralgia.

Other Uses
Ground cover.

The plant makes a good ground cover.

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.

Fesources;
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Acinos+arvensis
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=ACIARV
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Acinos_arvensis
http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/A/Acinos_arvensis/
http://www.henriettesherbal.com/pictures/p01/pages/acinos-arvensis-1.htm

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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