Saint John's Wort Plantor

Saint John's Wort Plantor

Saint John's Wort Plant

Perforate St John's wort is a herbaceous perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its reddish stems are erect and branched in the upper section, and can grow up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) high. The stems are woody near their base and may appear jointed from leaf scars.The dots are conspicuous when held up to the light, giving the leaves the "perforated" appearance to which the plant's Latin name refers. The flowers measure up to 2.5 cm (0.98 in) across, have five petals and sepals, and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots.


St John's wort is named as such because it commonly flowers, blossoms and is harvested at the time of the summer solstice in late June, around St John's Feast Day on 24 June. The herb would be hung on house and stall doors on St John's Feast day to ward off evil spirits and to safeguard against harm and sickness to people and live-stock. Alternatively, there may be a connection with the Knights Hospitaller. The genus name Hypericum is possibly derived from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture), in reference to the tradition of hanging plants over religious icons in the home during St John's Day. H. perforatum is affected by phytoplasma diseases, and when infected with Candidatus phytoplasma fraxini it undergoes several phytochemical changes and shows visible symptoms, including yellowing and witches' bloom symptoms. Naphthodianthrone, flavonoid, amentoflavone, and pseudohypericin levels are reduced; chlorogenic acid levels increased. Additionally, phytoplasma diseases greatly reduced the essential oil yield of the plant.

When looking for a low-growing native plant for the forefront of our perennial sun garden, I became interested in St. John’s wort. Many of the sun-loving natives in our garden are tall and tend to become leggy as the growing season progresses. St. John’s wort seemed to be a possible native filler plant that could hide the leafless bottom portion of tall plant stems.When I asked gardeners about the pros and cons of St. John’s wort, they gave mixed reviews. Some said that the nonnative species are invasive; some said even the native species are invasive. There even seemed to be confusion about which species are native. After beginning my research, I realized that one reason for the confusion is that there are almost 500 different species of Hypericum, many of which are commonly referred to as St. John’s wort. Plants of the genus Hypericum were apparently gathered and burned to ward off evil spirits on the eve of St. John’s Day, thus giving rise to the genus common name of St. John’s wort. To avoid the confusion of overlapping common names for different species, it is advisable to use the Latin name when identifying Hypericum for purchase. (Source: piedmontmastergardeners.org)


Hypericum perforatum (Perforate St. John's Wort) is an upright perennial with showy, star-shaped, yellow flowers, 1 in. wide (2.5 cm), from early to late summer. Borne in pyramidal clusters, they are produced in great numbers, up to 25–100 per stem. Each flower presents 5 petals, peppered with black dots around the edge and a prominent tuft of yellow tipped stamens. The stalk-less, oblong or linear, pale green leaves display scattered translucent dots that make the leaf look perforated when held up to the light - hence the common name. Hypericum plants have been used for centuries as herbal treatments for a variety of medical problems including externally for wounds, inflammations, burns, skin disorders, and nerve pain and internally for anxiety, depression and insomnia. The active ingredient in the leaves and flowers is hypercin.

For example, St. John’s wort (H. perforatum) is used in both phytotherapy and herbalism. In the former, the preparations often are industrially produced extracts from the leaves and plant tops that have been standardized according to hypericin and hyperforin content (or sometimes one or the other). These… (Source: www.britannica.com)


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