Thursday, July 14, 2011

Diversity Within a Species: Wild Thyme Polymorphisms

Wild Thyme, Thymus polystrichus
Wild Thyme (Thymus polystrichus, also Thymus praecox) is an attractive and aromatic, mat forming, perrenial of dry grasslands and heaths (1). Its dense heads of pink-purple flowers are visible now, having appeared in June and persisting until September. It is indigenous to the North Atlantic region of Europe, being found from Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Britain to Norway and Greenland (2). A study of the essential oil components of plants from throughout this range revealed 17 chemotypes of T. polystrichus exist, with most diversity of types being found in the plants southern range (Scotland, Ireland and England) (3).

  1. Sterry, 2004. Collins Complete Guide to Irish Wildlife p. 238
  2. Pigott, 1955. Journal of Ecology 43 pp. 365–387
  3. Schmidt et al., 2004. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 32 pp. 409–421

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