Thyme Growing in Jordan
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern herb grown primarily for a spice blend of the same name. There are a few different herbs that are referred to as Za’atar, though they are more commonly identified as Syrian oregano (Oreganum syricum) and pink or thyme-leaved savory (Satureja thrymba).
The plant whose common name is Za’atar and the one believed to be the “true Za’atar” is botanically known as Thymbra spicata. This member of the mint family also goes by the name donkey hyssop and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for over 1,000 years.
Za’atar is a leafy green herb that looks very much like oregano when the plant first begins to grow; its fuzzy, spear-shaped leaves growing in clustered pairs along woody stems. As the plant grows and the stems develop, the leaves grow longer and thinner, more blade-like.