Common St. Johnswort

Common St. Johnswort
Common St. Johnswort. hypericum-perforatum.
Hypericaceae, the St. Johnswort family; more recently, Clusiaceae.

Plant: Erect, smooth, oppositely branching, leafy stems, 1'-2.5', with terminal clusters of many, bright yellow flowers. Perennial.
Flowers: Bright yellow, with five petals, three styles, and many long stamens. About 1" across. Several flowers may occur tightly packed together, and several such groups occur in branching terminal clusters. The petals have black dots along the margins
Leaves: Opposite, ovate, sessile, 1"-2" long. The leaves are covered with small translucent dots.
Fruit: Brown ovoid capsule
Blooming: June-September
Habitat: Fields, roadsides, waste areas.

Comments: There are a number of St. Johnsworts (or St. John's Worts) in our area. This species is introduced from Europe. The family Hypericaceae for which this plant is the prototype, has recently been demoted to a subfamily of Clusiaceae on the basis of genetic studies, at least by some botanists. The plant, and its extracts, have been widely popular as a treatment for depression in recent years. There is disagreement as to whether there is any real effect. However there is also disagreement as to whether other, mainstream anti-depressants are effective beyond a placebo. The common name supposedly derives from the plant's flowering around St. John's Eve (June 24).

Where to find it: Widely distributed on the northeast side of the park.