Hypericum perforatum L.

Common St. Johnswort

Names and Myths

Hypericum Ancient Greek name. Means above a picture, or power over an apparition.9

 Hypericum from Greek hypo almost and ereike heather

perforatum perforated

 St. Johnswort -  many species are in flower on June 24 St. John the Baptist’s Day. Wort is old English for plant

Species List Family Group
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Natural history / Folklore

Widely sold as a nutritional supplement, said to help with everything from bowel movements to insomnia. It was applied as a wound poultice for punctures and burns.9  Contains hypericin which passes unchanged into the bloodstream. In albino or light skinned species this causes an increased sensitivity to sunlight. This photosensitization has resulted in death. A tea made from the dry leaves would cause a similar photosentization in humans.38

Leaves have a lemony smell and in small quanties may be added to a salad.32


Black marks along the margins of the yellow petals and translucent dots on leaves.