Thyme, thymus capitatus

Thyme is picky in growing on Ikaria, since the granite that covers most of its surface is not suitable for it. Nevertheless on the few limestone areas of the island, it flourishes as if its trying to compensate for the rest of the places it cannot grow upon.

We pick Thyme by selecting only the top few centimeters of the plant that correspond to leaves stems and flowers that sprouted just the previous spring. This stimulates the plant as well and we keep going back to the same plants, since the pruning makes them furious and puff up even more next year.

This is the only plant we pick where wearing gloves is not optional. Its essential oil is so strong that exposure of high concentration on the skin will cause extreme rash and burning. A sniff of its smell or a taste of a drop convinces everyone of the abilities of this powerful antibiotic.