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Hypericum perforatum     

Family: Hypericaceae

Plant Characteristics

Zone: 5 - 7    Zone Maps
Native Range: Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa, the Azores, Madeira and W. Asia.
Habitat: Open woods, hedgebanks and grassland, in dry sunny places, usually on calcareous soils.
Plant Type: Perennial
Height: 2 -3 feet   (0.9 meters)
Spread: 2 - 3 feet   (0.6 meters)
Sun: Sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium moisture
Soil: Sandy to Clay - needs well drained soil
Soil pH: Acid to Alkaline
Maintenance: Medium
Growth Rate: Medium
Blooming Season: 5 - 8
Flower Color: Yellow
Foliage Color: Green

  Commom Names
   Afrikaans - Johanneskruid
   English - Goatweed
   English - Klamathweed
   English - St. John's Wort
   English - Tipton Weed
Flowers:
Has showy flowers
Description:
Britton & Brown Illustrated Flora - 2nd Edition (1913)
"An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada"
This St. John's wort is a compact, deciduous shrub which typically grows to 3' tall in the South, but grows closer to 1.5-2' tall in colder climates where it is usually cut to the ground or naturally dies to the ground each winter. Features rose-like, 5-petaled, golden yellow flowers (to 2" diameter) with prominent, bushy, dark yellow center stamens. Flowers bloom from July to September. Oblong, light green leaves (to 2.5" long) appear on willowy stems. Formerly know as H. patulum var. henryi. Plants of the genus Hypericum (some of which have been used since ancient times in the treatment of wounds and inflammations) 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.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in any reasonably good well-drained but moisture retentive soil. Succeeds in dry soils. Plants grow well in sun or semi-shade but they flower better when in a sunny location. St. John's wort is often found as a weed in the garden. Evergreen in warm winter climates, but acts more like a woody perennial in the colder climates where it often dies to the ground in cold winter climates. It may be best to cut stems back to the ground each year in early spring. Blooms on new growth. It grows well in the summer meadow and is a useful plant for attracting insects. The whole plant, especially when in bloom, gives off a most unpleasant smell when handled. Hypericum perforatum is apparently an allotetraploid that would appear to have arisen from a cross between two diploid taxa, viz. H. maculatum subsp. maculatum (Europe to western Siberia) and H. attenuatum (western Siberia to China).

Propagation:
Seed - sow in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in the spring. It normally germinates in 1 - 3 months at 10°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.

Division - in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Poison Alert:
Skin contact with the sap, or ingestion of the plant, can cause photosensitivity in some people.

Scented Parts:
Plant: The whole plant, especially when in bloom, gives off a most unpleasant smell when handled.

Uses

Landscape Uses:
| Meadows | Woodland |

Borders, edger or low hedge. Effective massed as a ground cover.

Edible/Culinary Uses:
| Tea |   

Tea - the herb and the fruit are sometimes used as a tea substitute. The flowers can be used in making mead.

Therapeutic Uses:
| Analgesic| Antiseptic| Antispasmodic| Aromatic| Astringent| Cholagogue| Digestive| Diuretic| Expectorant| Homeopathy| Nervine| Resolvent| Sedative| Stimulant| Vermifuge| Vulnerary |

Uses: St. John's Wort has a long history of herbal use. It fell out of favor in the nineteenth century but recent research has brought it back to prominence as an extremely valuable remedy for nervous problems. In clinical trials about 67% of patients with mild to moderate depression improved when taking this plant. The flowers and leaves are analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, astringent, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, resolvent, sedative, stimulant, vermifuge and vulnerary. The herb is used in treating a wide range of disorders, including pulmonary complaints, bladder problems, diarrhoea and nervous depression. It is also very effectual in treating overnight incontinence of urine in children. Externally, it is used in poultices to dispel herd tumours, caked breasts, bruising etc. The flowering shoots are harvested in early summer and dried for later use. Use the plant with caution and do not prescribe it for patients with chronic depression. The plant was used to procure an abortion by some native North Americans, so it is best not used by pregnant women. A tea or tincture of the fresh flowers is a popular treatment for external ulcers, burns, wounds (especially those with severed nerve tissue), sores, bruises, cramps etc. An infusion of the flowers in olive oil is applied externally to wounds, sores, ulcers, swellings, rheumatism etc. It is also valued in the treatment of sunburn and as a cosmetic preparation to the skin. The plant contains many biologically active compounds including rutin, pectin, choline, sitosterol, hypericin and pseudohypericin. These last two compounds have been shown to have potent anti-retroviral activity without serious side effects and they are being researched in the treatment of AIDS. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh whole flowering plant. It is used in the treatment of injuries, bites, stings etc and is said to be the first remedy to consider when nerve-rich areas such as the spine, eyes, fingers etc are injured.


Cosmetic Uses:
| Skin Care |

Externally, it is wonderful for its ability to help heal wounds, burns and sunburn. It is anti-inflammatory and is useful for muscular aches. St. John’s Wort can be infused in vegetable oil. The infused oil can be added to your balms, ointments and muscular blends.

Dye Uses:
Color Lightfastness Part Used Mordant Material Dyed Pot Water Preparation
Gold, Brown   Flowers, Leaves          
Yellow   Whole Plant         Infused in water
Red   Flower         After acidification
Red   Whole Plant         Infused in oil or alcohol

Historical and Folklore Information:
| Flower Language |


Language of Flowers

Victorian Meaning: Animosity; Superstition
Magick

Resources

General Plant Resources
Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. (1962). Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press
Huxley. A. (1992). The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press
Chiej. R. (1984). Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald
Genders. R. (1994). Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London.
(1994). Flora of China.
Sanders. T. W. (1926). Popular Hardy Perennials. Collingridge
Bown. D. (1995). Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London.

Poisonous Plant Resources
Triska. Dr. (1975). Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn
Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. (1984). Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. HMSO
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. (1990). A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co.

Landscaping Resources
Plant Finder. Missouri Botanical Garden.

Scented Plant Resources
Fern, Ken. Plants For A Future.

Edible/Culinary Resources
Chiej. R. (1984). Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald
Facciola. S. (1990). Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications

Therapeutic Resources
Grieve. (1984). A Modern Herbal. Penguin
Launert. E. (1981). Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn
Triska. Dr. (1975). Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn
Lust. J. (1983). The Herb Book. Bantam books
Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. (1985). Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc.
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. (1990). A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co.
Chevallier. A. (1996). The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Dorling Kindersley. London
Chiej. R. (1984). Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald
Bown. D. (1995). Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London.
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. (1986). Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Castro. M. (1990). The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London.

Cosmetic Resources
Grieve. (1984). A Modern Herbal. Penguin
Launert. E. (1981). Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn
Triska. Dr. (1975). Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn
Lust. J. (1983). The Herb Book. Bantam books
Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. (1985). Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc.
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. (1990). A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co.
Chevallier. A. (1996). The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Dorling Kindersley. London
Chiej. R. (1984). Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald
Bown. D. (1995). Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London.
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. (1986). Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Castro. M. (1990). The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London.

Dye Resources

Historical Information Resources

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Uses
 *Landscape
 *Edible/Culinary
 *Therapeutic
 *Cosmetic
 *Dye
 *Historical Info

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