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Crafting Green Roofs

Thymus serpyllum – Wild Thyme

Green Roof Plants / March 26, 2013

Wild Thyme is a low, creeping herbaceous perennial. Only growing to about 4″ tall, this evergreen shrub makes for great ground cover. Although native to Europe, Asia and Northern Africa, Thyme has been naturalized in most of North America. Spotted growing in between zones 4 and 8, the plant will flourish in full sun with average to well-drained soils. Soggy soils can make Wild Thyme susceptible to root rot. In early summer a sea of purple flowers appear. These clusters of flowers may range from lilac to magenta. Don’t let the tiny appearance of these flowers fool you, they are strongly scented, giving off an herbal-like lemony scent. The flowers attract wild honeybees and butterflies. In Europe the Large Blue Butterfly relies on the presence of Wild Thyme because they feed almost exclusively on it.

The leaves are oval and slender, with a slight glossy appearance. The oil found within the leaves is an antiseptic, disinfectant, expectorant, and a diuretic. It is most commonly used to treat respiratory infections, but is also used to fight cramps & spasms, cuts & ulcers, headaches or weak digestion. Thyme is also a popular herb used in the culinary arts and may also be made into tea.Thyme is one of many valuable plants that is suitable for urban farming on bio-diverse non-irrigated extensive green roofs in less polluted areas.

By Jorg Breuning

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