Thymus vulgaris is native to the western Mediterranean area, and now widely cultivated throughout temperate climes where it is believed to have been introduced in the fleece of sheep imported from Greece. For the Greeks, thyme represented style and elegance. Its name may come from the Greek word for courage or the word meaning to fumigate. It was once burned in homes to get rid of stinging insects.
It was believed that fairies made their homes in patches of thyme, and gardeners of old set aside patches for them. In the Middle Ages, it represented chivalry.