Thymus pulegioides, lemon thyme seeds
lemon thyme seeds
Thymus pulegioides belongs to the family of the Laminaceae, the labiates. In our region the plant is known as lemon thyme. The lemon thyme is distributed in whole Europe. It is well adapted to life on poor grasslands and other meager areas. The roots go deep into the soil and the leaves are small to avoid the loss of too much water through transpiration. The lemon thyme grows as a small, perennial and herbaceous plant. It gets 5 to 20 cm high. The bottom part of the shoot is sometimes lignified. The shoot is tetragonal and slightly violet. The small leaves are simple, lanceolate and get just 1,5 cm long and 0,5 cm wide. T. pulegioides is sometimes also known as broad- leafed thyme. The several violet and zygomorphic flowers are clustered in inflorescences and attract insects for pollination by offering a great amount of nectar. A single flower is just 6 mm long. The fruit of the lemon thyme is a schizocarp. The fruit has a so called elaiosome that functions as a reward for ant that distribute the fruits. Today Thymus vulgaris is preferred in kitchen and in medicine. But nevertheless the lemon thyme has also some good qualities. All in all the broad leafed thyme contains the same substances than Thymus vulgaris, just in a lower concentration. Many myths are known that are told from this plant. Thymus pluegeoides shall protect the cows and raise the production of milk if the farmer collects the lemon thyme at midsummer night and hangs it into the stable. Furthermore a nosegay of lemon thyme in the house shall protect the inhabitants from lightning stroke and other catastrophes. Already Hildegard von Bingen knew about the healing effect of T. pulegioides.
The lemon thyme is good against cough and problems of the gastrointestinal tract. One can make a tea from the plant. T. pulegioides is winterhardy and can tolerate temperatures down to minus 18°C. The lemon thyme needs light for germination. Therefore one should only press the seeds slightly into the substrate. At a sunny place germination occurs after 3 weeks if the temperature is constantly at about 20°C. A direct sowing outside is also possible, however one should wait until the last frost is over.
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