Botanical Names for Silver Needle Thyme and Dwarf Sage
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Melinda Rowley, Berkshire Botanic Garden
Posted on: August 7, 2001

I’m trying to find a correct botanical name for two different herbs that we purchased from you this spring. One is Silver Needle Thyme and the other is Dwarf Sage. Because we are a Botanic garden it is important to have correct signage. Thymus sp. is not specific enough. I have already looked in the RHS Plant Finder book for both of these names and found nothing. Your help would be appreciated in identifying these plants.

Dwarf sage is a cultivar of Salvia officinalis. It may have a proper cultivar name, but we do not know what it is.

As far as we know ‘Silver Needle’ thyme does not have a botanical name. But we have never had it keyed out by a specialist. The whole Thymus genus is confusing taxonomically and is in dire need for an overhaul, so we generally assume that it is pointless to have someone key out members of Thymus. Until a revision of the genus is available assigning the plant the cultivar name, Thymus ‘Silver Needle’, may be the only practical option available for now.

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