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Found all over the world (except for tropical lowlands, deserts and polar areas), the genus Hypericum can add style and flair to any garden or bouquet with its unique flowering beauty. Containing around 400 species within this genus family, all are generally referred to as St. John’s Wort and live under the family Hypericaceae. The subfamily to this genus used to be considered Clusiaceae but is now the subfamily Hypericoideae.
With the amount of St. John’s Wort species known, it’s no wonder they are a mix between annual and perennial herbaceous herbs. This variety of species also ranges in height from 2-4 inches to 40 feet (at this point they are considered small trees). The one thing all of these species do have in common is the fact that every flower that blooms is a shade of pale to dark yellow, no other color. Within these 5 (sometimes 4) yellow petals is a small fruit or berry, surrounded by numerous long, splayed seeds. These seeds generally vary in color from yellow to orange to red.
If you’re interested in growing your own St. John’s Wort, here are a few tips on making the growth successful:
- Keep them either in the sun or partially shaded.
- Use a sandy, well-drained soil when planting.
- If you’re planting the seeds directly outdoors, sow them in either early spring or late fall.
- If you’re growing St. John’s Wort indoors initially, start them at least 2 months before you want to put them in the ground, as they take about this long to germinate.
Throughout time, other uses besides gardening have been discovered for the Hypericum. This plant has become an integral part of the medicinal world, being used to treat things like depression and even deep wounds. Consumption of these flowering plants medicinal uses are usually by pill or by turning it into a tea. There is also research being done on one of the Hypericum species to be used as an oil extract for treating first degree burns and concussions. *Note: Talk to your doctor first before using this plant as a medicinal substance.
This flower is also a florist favorite when a pop of color or uniqueness is needed for a bouquet, wedding flower arrangement, boutonniere or any other floral creation. Lasting for 7 days on average, this flowering plant also makes for a beautiful bouquet all on its own.
Also visit our Hypericum Life Cycle page.