Common Names:- None

Synonyms:- Micromeria calostachya

Meaning:- Thymbra (L) An ancient Latin name used by the Roman naturalist and
philosopher Pliny for a savoury, thyme-like plant.
                 Calostachya (Gr) Beautiful spike.

General description:- Dwarf, somewhat aromatic shrub.

Stems:- To 50 cm, with axillary leaf-clusters, densely branched, erect or

Leaves:- 5-12 ?1·5-3 mm, oblong-lance-shaped, entire, densely and shortly
covered in soft grey hairs (grey-tomentose), stalkless (sessile).

Flowers:- Bracteoles 2 mm, narrow, parallel-sided, greyish, velvety to densely
woolly or pubescent. Calyx c. 3mm, marked with dots, depressions or translucent
glands, shortly matted soft wool-like hairiness, throat hairless inside. Corolla 5·5-6
mm, white, upper lip shorter than the lower, tube only slightly longer than the calyx.


Key features:-
1) Leaves tomentose.
2) Calyx c. 3 mm, the throat glabrous inside.
3) Corolla 5·5-6 mm.

Habitat:- Crevices and ledges of limestone cliffs, rocky slopes, screes. 0-100 m.
with Asperula tournefortii, Brassica cretica, Ebenus cretica, etc.

Distribution:- Cretan endemic, Rare, known only from a few locations in the east.

Flowering time:- May-June.

Photos by:- Steve Lenton                      

                        FAMILY AND GENUS DESCRIPTIONS


General description:- Herbs or shrubs, often glandular and aromatic.

Leaves:- Usually simple, without stipules (exstipulate), opposite.

Flowers:- Irregular having only one plane of sym­metry (zygomorphic), usually in
contracted and modified cymes in the axils of opposite bracts or floral leaves,
forming pseudowhorls (verticillasters), which in turn are arranged in simple or
compound spike-like, cymose, corymbose, paniculate or capitate inflorescences;
rarely in true cymes. Bracts leaf-like, or much reduced or modified (usually called
floral leaves when conspicuous). Bracteoles usually small, sometimes absent.
Calyx usually 4- or 5-lobed, often 2-lipped with the upper lip 3-toothed and the lower
2-toothed. Corolla with united petals (sympetalous); limb usually 5-lobed, often 2-
lipped with the upper lip 2-lobed and the lower lip 3-lobed, rarely all 5 lobes forming
the lower lip. Stamens usually 4, arranged in two pairs of unequal length,
(didynamous), rarely 2. Ovary superior, 2-carpellate (having only female organs) but
appearing equally 4-lobed when mature due to further partition; style single, usually
branched above, apparently rising from the base of the ovary (gynobasic).

Fruit:- Four 1-seeded nutlets.

Sexual dimorphism occurs in several genera, with female flowers, which are
normally smaller, occurring in addition to the usual hermaphrodite flowers on the
same or on different plants.

The calyx may be entire or shallowly to deeply lobed or toothed, and in the key, the
calyx-tube is regarded as extending from the base of the calyx up to the lowermost
sinus. The number of veins refers to the lower part of the tube.


General description:- Small shrubs.

Leaves:- Floral leaves imbricate.

Flowers:- Inflorescence dense, narrow, spike-like. Bracteoles linear to lanceolate.
Calyx dorsally flattened, 2-lipped, 13-veined; upper lip 3-toothed; lower lip 2-toothed.
Corolla 2-lipped, the tube straight; upper lip pointing upwards at a slight angle from
the vertical (porrect), distinctly notched at the apex (emarginate); lower lip 3-lobed.
Stamens included. Anther-cells parallel.

Key features:-
1) Calyx with 13 veins.

Conservation status (for threatened species): Rare (R) according to the Red Data
Book of Rare and Threatened Plants of Greece (1995)
Rare (R) according to IUCN 1997.
Protection status (for threatened species): Greek Presidential Decree 67/1981.