Bark of older stems exfoliates to reveal attractive, pale orange inner bark. Summary. Saint-John’s-wort, (genus Hypericum), genus of nearly 500 species of herbs or low shrubs in the family Hypericaceae that are native to temperate and tropical areas. Blooms on new growth. The erect stems are unbranched, except in the upper-third of each plant. It is an aggressive weed that grows in the dry ground of roadsides, meadows, woods, and hedges. The lower stems are woody with shredded gray-brown bark, while the upper stems are green and slightly winged on opposite sides. Stamens are bushy to the point of partially obscuring the petals (hence the species name of prolificum which refe… Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). St. John's wort is an herb also known as Amber, Barbe de Saint-Jean, Chasse-diable, Demon Chaser, Fuga Daemonum, Goatweed, Hardhay, Herbe à la Brûlure, Herbe à Mille Trous, Herbe Aux Fées, Herbe Aux Mille Vertus, Herbe Aux Piqûres, Herbe de Saint Éloi, Herbe de la Saint-Jean, Herbe du Charpentier, Herbe Percée, Hierba de San Juan, Hypereikon, Hyperici Herba, Hypericum perforatum, … Creeping Saint-John’s-wort (H. calycinum), sometimes known as rose of Sharon or Aaron’s-beard, and goldencup Saint-John’s-wort (H. patulum) are both shrubby East Asian species. St. John's wort is available as a supplement in teas, tablets, liquids and topical preparations.St. Features 5-petaled, bright yellow flowers (to 1" diameter) with numerous, yellow stamens. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Also, the herbal supplement St. John’s wort can alter the metabolism of drugs such as protease inhibitors, anticlotting drugs, and antidepressants, and it can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.…, Several herbs, especially St.-John’s-wort and yarrow, are potent against fairies, and hawthorn trees, foxglove, and groundsel are so dear to them that abuse of these plants may bring retribution.…. Common St. John's-wort can be quite invasive, forming dense colonies and crowding out native plants. The plant spreads asexually by creeping rhizomes and readily reseeds itself with seeds that can persist for years in the soil seed bank. A native of partly shaded, moist sites in woodlands, woodland edges as well as along riparian areas. But, given it is a shrub, and a perennial, plan on pampering your young plants for at least 3 years, possibly more, before you start seeing blooms. A landscape workhorse, St. John’s wort is a champion at providing food and shelter to wildlife—especially pollinators—as well as adding blossoms, colorful foliage, and great texture to entry gardens, foundation plantings, perennial beds, and mixed shrub borders. They grow in the open edges and sandy shores of ponds and lakes, in wet flatwoods. Although not native to Australia and long considered a weed, St. John’s wort is now grown there as a crop, and today Australia produces 20 percent of the world’s supply. In the … 3 Photos. The common name stems from the fact that various European species flower around June 24, which is the feast day of St. John the Baptist; “wort” derives from an Old English word for herb or plant. Stamens are bushy to the point of partially obscuring the petals (hence the species name of prolificum which refers to the stamens). St. John’s wort is a powerful herbal compound that’s been used to treat depression with the same efficacy and fewer side effects than traditional antidepressants. Also useful for stabilizing embankments. Very showy, bright yellow 1 in. St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a flowering shrub native to Europe. It typically blooms very near to the summer solstice, which is a useful identifier as to the best time to harvest the aerial parts with their sunny yellow flowers. Features 5-petaled, bright yellow flowers (to 1\" diameter) with numerous, yellow stamens. The bright yellow flowers with a profusion of yellow stamens look like fireworks. Great St. John's Wort's native habitat includes mesic to wet areas, along the edges of wetlands and lakes. While the general shape of this flower resembles other St. John's-wort species, the size of the flower sets Great St. John's-wort apart from the rest. It tolerates full sun locations but prefers partially shaded locations. flowers from June-August. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Save 30% off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. A profusion of bright yellow flowers appear in summer and are effective for a couple of weeks. The flowers are used to make liquid extracts, pills, and teas. St. John’s wort is native to Europe, West Asia, North Africa, Madeira and the Azores, and is naturalized in many parts of the world, notably North America and Australia. Mesic to wet areas, along the edges of wetlands and lakes add interest... Plant Garden September and remain on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories right! 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