I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania some time of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight
Shakespeare from "A Midsummer-Night’s Dream"
Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum)
Wild Thyme is a
perennial, more thickset than the Garden Thyme, though subject to many
varieties, according to the surroundings in which it grows.
Bees are especially fond of the Thyme blossoms, from which they extract
much honey. Spenser speaks of the 'bees-alluring time,' and everyone is
familiar with Shakespeare's the 'bank whereon the wild thyme blows,' the
abode of the queen of the Fairies. It was looked upon as one of the
fairies' flowers, tufts of Thyme forming one of their favourite
In some parts it was a custom for girls to wear sprigs of Thyme, with
mint and lavender, to bring them sweethearts!
Thyme has also been associated with death. It is one of the fragrant
flowers planted on graves (in Wales, particularly), and the Order of
Oddfellows still carry sprigs of Thyme at funerals and throw them into
the grave of a dead brother. An old tradition says that Thyme was one of
the herbs that formed the fragrant bed of the Virgin Mary.
In medicine, Wild Thyme or Serpolet has the same properties as Common
Thyme, but to an inferior degree. It is aromatic, antiseptic, stimulant,
antispasmodic and diuretic.