Basil Thyme - Clinopodium acinos


Often, the whole plant is only 4 cm, though large plants may be 30 cm. It spreads across the ground, only ascending when it flowers. The oval leaves are usually less than a centimetre long. The purple-mauve flowers are in whorls of around 4 or 5 and have white spots on the lower lip of the corolla.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

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Open habitats in dry grassland, rocky ground or arable fields. In Britain it usually grows on calcareous soils. It is also a rare casual of waste ground, quarries and banks by roads and railways.

When to see it

In flower during May, June, July, August and September.

Life History

Usually an annual herb.

UK Status

This species has declined substantially. In many areas it is no longer found in arable fields, surviving only in less intensively managed habitats.

VC55 Status

Occasional, but possibly now nearly scarce in Leicestershire and Rutland and mainly confined to sparsely vegetated limestone quarries in our region.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map