St. John’s wort

St. John’s wort

Hypericum perforatum (Hypericaceae)

Common Name:

St. John’s wort

Scientific Name:

Hypericum perforatum (Hypericaceae)


Alternative common names:

Gammock; goatsbeard; herb-john; Klamath weed; penny-john; rosin rose; Tipton’s weed; touch-and-heal (English); Johanneskruid (Afrikaans).

Description:

Erect, softly woody perennial distinguished from indigenous Hypericum spp. by its creeping underground stems. It produces many slender, erect stems up to 1m high in summer and spreading, prostrate stems in winter. Light green leaves with translucent oil glands. Bright yellow flowers with black oil glands on the margins of the petals from October to January. This plant is poisonous.

Additional Information


Where does this species come from?

Europe including the Mediterranean to Asia (central China)

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

Existing legislation: CARA 2002 - Category 1 NEMBA - Category 2

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape

How does it spread?

Seed dispersal and underground creeping stems

Why is it a problem?

It competes with and replaces indigenous and pasture species and it is poisonous to livestock

What does it look like?

General description: Erect, softly woody perennial distinguished from indigenous Hypericum spp. by its creeping underground stems.
Leaves: Small light green leaves with translucent oil glands
Flowers: Bright yellow flowers appear from October to January.
Fruit/seeds: Brown oblong capsules up to 10mm long.

Does the plant have any uses?

Medicinal use - although poisonous

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