Rock Thyme, Acinos alpinus
Rock Thyme (Acinos alpinus) is a species of perennial plant that is native to the mountains of southern Europe. In Italy it can be found in most areas with an altitude between 3000 and 8500 feet above sea level. It is found in open fields, rock crevices, and areas with lack of fertile-rich soil. There are two subspecies recognized. A. alpinus meriodionalis has with smaller flowers, and A. alpinus majoranifolius, which grows in smaller bunches.
Rock Thyme is an herbaceous plant that grows to between 15.75 and 19.75 inches in height. The flowers have both male and female reproductive systems (hermaphroditic). This plant is considered a chamaephyte (having dormant vegetative buds that grow just above the ground). The plant has a woody, fuzz-covered stem. The small leaves grow symmetrically in pairs and connect to the stem by a thin slender stalk.
The flowers consist of clusters of 3 to 8 flowers that range from 0.5 to 0.75 inches in length, and are generally violet in color. Depending on altitude, flowering takes place between May and August. The fruit splits into four equal portions upon reaching maturity. The plant is anchored to the ground by a taproot and a series of smaller secondary roots.
Rock thyme is sometimes used in pharmacology for its
ability to increase perspiration and lower temperature. In addition, it can be brewed and served as tea.