Satureja thymbra - L.
Common Name Thyme-Leaved Savory
Family Lamiaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sunny positions on dry rocky hills[50, 148].
Range S.E. Europe - Balkans, Crete, Greece.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Satureja thymbra Thyme-Leaved Savory

Satureja thymbra Thyme-Leaved Savory
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Satureja thymbra is a SHRUB growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


 Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

The leaves have a thyme-like flavour and are used as a seasoning for pulses, savoury breads, brine-cured olives, vegetables etc[4, 177, 183, 238]. The leaves and young shoots are used as a tea substitute. It is said that this make one of the best-tasting of all herb teas[183].
Medicinal Uses

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Antibacterial;  Aromatic;  Digestive;  Expectorant;  Tonic.

The leaves are antibacterial, aromatic, digestive, expectorant and tonic[148, 238]. They are used internally to treat minor digestive discomfort and bronchial congestion[238]. The leaves are harvested during the growing season and can be used fresh or dried[238].


Other Uses
Cleanser;  Essential.

A strong infusion of the herb is used in the autumn to clean wine barrels in preparation for the new vintage[183]. An essential oil is obtained from the plant, it contains 19% thymol[4] and is also rich in carvacrol[238]. It is used in the pharmaceutical industry[238]..
Cultivation details
Requires a sunny position in a well-drained soil[200]. Plants are intolerant of soils that remain damp[200]. Prefers a neutral to alkaline soil[238]. This species is not very hardy outdoors in Britain, plants suffer damage at temperatures below freezing but they can be grown as annuals, flowering and setting seed in their first year[200]. Plants will be hardier in soils that are very well drained and also if the soil is a bit on the poor side[K]. A good bee plant[148]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
Seed - surface sow in April in a greenhouse. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination can be slow and erratic[1] but usually takes place within a month[K]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. It is usually possible to plant out into their permanent positions during the summer, but if the plants have not grown sufficiently, or if you live in an area of cold winters, it might be best to grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm taken at a node, July/August in a frame. Pot up in autumn and overwinter in a frame, planting out in late spring or early summer of the following year. A high percentage usually succeed[78]. Cuttings of young wood, preferably with a heel, April/May in a frame[1, 37]. Plant out in the summer if the plants grow well, otherwise overwinter them in a cold frame and plant out in late spring or early summer of the following year[K]. Division in early spring as growth commences[78, 200]. This works best if soil has been mounded up into the bottom 20cm of the plant early in the previous summer[78]. Pot up the divisions and grow them on in a cold frame until they are established. Plant them out in the summer.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Readers comment
Kathi   Tue Jan 16 2007
It´s an especially strong and antibiotic herb which I found to be the best helping against an upcoming cold, influenza or immune weakness - it´s the primal herbal tea that I will drink whenever I feel something is coming up, and I always find it very very helpful and enstrenghtening. I´m bringing it with me from visits to Greece; these sun-blessed herbs are much stronger and hotter than the Satureja thymbra which is cultivated in Central Europe.
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Subject : Satureja thymbra  

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