Thymus biflorus Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don
Low growing suffruticose herb, tufted or lax. Stems ascending-erect, unbranched, slender, 10-30 cm, glabrous, pubescent or hirsute with spreading or retrorse hairs. Leaves narrowly to broadly ovate, thickish-textured, entire, apically acute, 5-10 x 3-5 mm with a prominently thickened marginal vein extending all round the leaf, gland-dotted below with or without a sparse covering of short eglandular hairs, sessile or almost so, distant or almost imbricate. Verticillasters few-flowered, rather lax. Bracts small, linear. Pedicels erect-spreading, 1-3 mm. Calyx narrow tubular, 3-4 mm, prominently ribbed, with spreading eglandular hairs and with or without sessile oil globules; teeth slightly unequal, narrow triangular-linear, subulate, ciliate, up to 1.5 mm; tube bearded at throat. Corolla rose to mauve, 6-7 mm; upper lip emarginate; lower lip longer than upper. Stamens included; thecae glabrous, spreading, with a thickened connective. Nutlets 1 x 0.6 mm, brown, oblong, apically rounded, not trigonous.
Fl. Per.: Almost throughout the year.
Type: Nepal, Buchanan-Hamilton.
Distribution: E. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, NW India, Himalayas to Bhutan and China (see comments below).
A frequent plant growing in a wide variety of habitats, from the plains up to c. 2400 m. It varies substantially in general facies and in the density and type of indumentum, but in other characters relatively little. It is one of a complex of very wide-ranging taxa which stretches from China to Afghanistan and, with a disjunction, to W and SW Arabia and E and southern Africa. Despite the attempts of various authors to classify the complex, the problem seems almost intractable. Our plant may be the same as the one in the W and SW of the Arabian peninsula and E and S Africa - some facets of it, the Arabian plant, certainly are most similar to our plant.
The earliest name in the complex is Micromeria imbricata (Forssk.) Christen. (type locality N Yemen) and if a wide circumscription is taken of the species complex, this would be the correct name for our plant.