This week's Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week was Wild Thyme - Thymas Polytrichus.
Mention wild thyme and many people will think of Shakespeare's play Midsummer Night's Dream and the quote "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows".
The botanical name for wild thyme is Thymas Polytrichus, with polytrichus meaning many hairs. You would have to look very closely, preferably with a magnifying glass or hand lens, to see the hairs on this very small plant. Wild thyme is low growing in clumps with lilac flowers over the small simple leaves on slender stalks. It is aromatic, although I had trouble detecting any scent at all.
It is rare in Scilly. The best place to see it is on the Gugh end of the bar on St Agnes, just above the beach. It likes sandy soils and it is doing very well after the February 2014 storms.
Bees love this plant and It is also associated with a few moths including the aptly named thyme moth, thyme pug and thyme plume. Two of these moths have been recorded on the islands.
The oil which produces the thyme smell is a good antiseptic. The wild thyme is not the same as the one commonly used in cooking which has a stronger flavour.
You can listen to Liz's Wildflower Of The Week below and Liz will have a brand new wildflower for you next Wednesday at 10:30am.