Thymus serpyllum

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaLamiaceaeThymusThymus serpyllum


A small prostrate perennial herb confined to dry sandy heaths and grasslands overlying chalk drift, and on inland dunes, especially in areas disturbed by rabbits or sheep. Lowland.



World Distribution

European Boreo-temperate element, with a continental distribution in W. Europe; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Broad Habitats

Acid grassland (includes non-calcareous sandy grassland)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 2

Reaction (Ellenberg): 5

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.3

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16.2

Annual Precipitation (mm): 606

Life form information

Height (cm): 4

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Extensively creeping and rooting at nodes

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 9

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.11

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.