45. Thymus L., Sp. Pl. 590. 1753. L., Gen. Pl. ed. 5: 257. 1754; Benth. in DC., Prodr. 12: 197. 1848; Boiss., Fl. Or. 4: 550. 1879; Briquet in Engler & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. ed. 1, 4, 3A: 311. 1896; Mukerjee in Rec. Bot. Surv. Ind. 14, 1: 95. 1940; Klokov in Komarov, Fl. URSS 21: 470. 1954; Hedge & Lamond in Notes Roy. Bat. Gard. Edinb. 28: 150. 1968; Jalas, Thymus subsect. Pseudomaginati in the Himalayas--- in Ann. Bot. Fennic. 10: 104-122. 1973; Jalas in Rech. f., Fl. Iran. 150: 532. 1982.
Perennial suffruticose herbs or dwarf shrubs, strongly aromatic. Leaves undivided, entire, ± linear-lanceolate to obovate, nerves ± prominent beneath, ciliate near base of lamina, sessile or petiolate. Verticillasters 2-many flowered, borne in axils of upper leaves, forming capitate inflorescence. Bracts very small. Flowers often male-sterile. Calyx strongly bilabiate, 10-13-nerved, densely bearded in throat, tubular to ± campanulate; upper lip broad, 3-toothed, spreading or recurved; lower 2 teeth subulate, prominently ciliate and curved upwards. Corolla bilabiate; tube straight, exannulate; upper lip ± straight, emarginate; lower lip 3-lobed. Stamens 4, ± exserted; thecae 2-locular. Style 2-lobed. Nutlets ovoid or oblong.
A large and very complex genus of many species most of which are in Europe and SW Asia; gynodioecism and hybridization are frequent. Some botanists, adopting a narrow specific concept, have recognized very large numbers of ill-defined species; 136 were dealt with in Flora URSS by Klokov. There is relatively little diversity in our area and only 1 variable species is recognized. The genus is easily distinguished in our area by the creeping habit, entire-margined leaves and the two upcurved ciliate lower calyx teeth.
Thymus vulgaris L., common thyme or garden thyme, with ± erect stems and prominently hairy leaves, is sometimes cultivated in northern parts of the Indian subcontinent as a pot herb or ornamental (cf. Wealth of India, Raw Materials 10: 236. 1976). I have only seen one herbarium specimen of a cultivated garden plant from Pakistan which probably is this species: Islamia College, cultivated, ann. 1929, Qazilbash (KUH).