Thymus herba-barona

Common Name: caraway thyme 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Corsica, Sardinia
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Ground Cover, Herb, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates drought and poor soils of somewhat low fertility. Loose, sandy or rocky soils with excellent drainage are best. Dislikes moist to wet soils where it tends to rot. Cut back stems as necessary to maintain plant appearance or to control growth/spread or to limit unsightly woody stem growth. Plants are evergreen in mild winter climates.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Thymus herba-barona, commonly called caraway thyme, is a creeping, woody based perennial which is used as an ornamental ground cover and/or as a culinary herb. Numerous, thin, somewhat woody stems form a prostrate mat (2-3" tall). Stems are covered with tiny, pointed, glossy dark-green leaves (to 1/4"). Leaves have a strong scent of caraway and may be used to flavor a variety of culinary dishes including potato salads, vegetables, or meats. The English reportedly used this herb to flavor barons of beef. Clusters of tiny, tubular, deep pink flowers appear in summer. Flowers are attractive to bees.

Genus name comes from the Greek word thymos (name used in ancient Greece for a species of Thymus or Satureja).

Specific epithet means herb for flavoring a baron of beef.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to root rot, particularly in moist, poorly-drained soils.


Herb gardens, containers. May be sprawled over small rocks or ledges in rock gardens or over walls. Also effective as a small area ground cover.