ST. JOHN'S-WORT
File Size: 60 KB
 
Hypericum perforatum  L.
Ottawa County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 1-3 feet
Family: Clusiaceae - St. John's-wort Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August
Stems: Erect, several to many, often branched, ridged, glabrous, reddish.
Leaves: Opposite, simple, sessile, oblong to linear, .5 to 1.5 inch long, less than 1/3 inch wide, glabrous, glandular-dotted; margins entire, rolling downward; tips pointed to rounded; upper leaves reduced.
Inflorescences: Cymes, densely flowered, leafy-bracted, terminal.
Flowers: Sepals 5, linear-lanceolate, unequal; corollas 3/4 to 1 inch wide, petals 5, to 1/2 inch long, bright yellow to orange-yellow, margins black-dotted; stamens numerous, in 3 clusters.
Fruits: Capsules, egg-shaped, to 3/4 inch long; seeds small, pitted, black or dark brown.
Habitat: Prairies, pastures, waste areas, and roadsides, most abundant in sandy soils.
Distribution: Throughout except southwest corner of Kansas.
Toxicity: Plants contain hypericin, which causes a photosensitive reaction following ingestion. This toxic reaction can be fatal to sheep and goats, which readily graze the plant.
Uses: Native Americans used St. John's-wort to treat fevers, coughs, intestinal problems, nosebleeds, and snakebites.
Comments: The dark spots on the petals are said to represent drops of St. John's blood. St. John's-wort has become a problem weed in the western portions of the U.S., where it is known as Klamathweed.

St. John's-wort flowers
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St. John's-wort leaves
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St. John's-wort fruit
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