Thymus ×citriodorus (Pers.) Schreb.

Lemon Thyme

Small shrub with young stems erect or ascending at first but eventually becoming prostrate and rooting at the nodes. Stems hairy on all 4 surfaces and the angles. Leaves petiolate, to 12 mm long, slightly rolled under, ovate to obovate to almost round, glossy above, margin usually ciliate at the base, upper leaf surface glabrous, lower with small hairs at least on the midrib. Flowers in a narrow (about 15 mm), interrupted 'spike'; female; bracts similar to the leaves; corolla lilac, paler in variegated plants.

The plants are typically lemon-scented. However, it is incorrect to assume that all lemon-scented thymes derive from this species, or that plants lacking a lemon scent do not.This taxon is believed to be a hybrid between T. vulgaris and T. pulegioides. If so, any hybrid between these two species would bear the same name, in which case the common Lemon Thyme might best be given the cultivar name T. 'Citriodorus' within T. ×citriodorus. A number of cultivars have been attributed to T. ×citriodorus without good reason to believe that T. vulgaris features in their ancestry. The situation will remain confused until more genetic studies are available.

Shrubby habit; broad leaves; elongated spike of flowers; lemon scent.

Source: Lumley, P. (2002). Thymus. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Thymus ×citriodorus 'Argenteus'

Similar to 'Aureus' but with smaller leaves that are glossy green with very pale cream variegations; lateral veins easy to see. Very little fragrance. Inflorescence as for T. 'Aureus'. [T. 'Variegatus']

Readily reverts to all green leaves.

Thymus ×citriodorus 'Aureus'

Chimaera with greenish yellow margins or irregular patches on leaves and calyces. Flowers paler than in unvariegated plants. Lemon-scented.

Reverts easily to green.

This cultivar name is wrongly used in Australia. The original T. 'Aureus' is believed to have uniformly yellowish leaves, not gold-edged ones. Since this plant is not in Australia and a name for the Australian plant has not been registered, it seems prudent to retain 'Aureus' for now.

Thymus ×citriodorus 'Silver Strike'

As above but leaves mostly smaller, ovate to obovate, ciliate. Inflorescence only 1 cm wide. Very little fragrance.

Occasionally reverts to green.

Apparently an Australian name.

Thymus ×citriodorus 'Variegatus'

Similar to T. 'Aureus' but leaves margined or tipped very pale cream, irregular area of grey separating the margin from the glossy green centre; lateral veins easy to see.Very little fragrance. Flower spike as for T. 'Aureus'.

Readily reverts to green.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Asteranae
order      Lamiales
family       Lamiaceae
genus        Thymus L.