Wild thyme

Latin name: Thymus polytrichusWild thyme

Height: 5cm

Where: Hills and mountains, particularly on rocky ledges and drier places

When: Flowers June to September

Cushions of these tiny purple flowers speckle the rocky places on our hillsides all summer long. Though not as strongly scented as their garden-cultivated cousins, you can still get a whiff of the Mediterranean if you rub their evergreen leaves between your fingers.

Scottish people have used this little herb for thousands of years, both to flavour their food and to make a medicinal tea – tae girse as the Shetlanders call it. Some believed it could help to cure nightmares, but for most it makes a soothing drink for an upset stomach.

We are not alone in our appreciation of wild thyme. Bees love its scent and nectar too.

Any natural place contains an infinite reservoir of information, and therefore the potential for inexhaustible new discoveries.

Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods