Wikijunior:Summer Flowers of Northern New England/Hypericum perforatum

 
 
Saint John's Wort
(Hypericum perforatum)
Flower
Flower cluster
Description:
Saint John's Wort is a plant that grows about three feet high. It has yellow flowers with five petals, and lots and lots of stamens (stay-mins) which are like little threads coming out of the center of the flower. The leaves are very interesting too, and can help you be absolutely sure that the plant really is Saint John's Wort. Each leaf has several tiny see-through dots on it. If you pluck a leaf and hold it up to the light, you should be able to see them. The dots around the edges sometimes turn black.

The scientific name Hypericum means "over picture", because people used to pick the plant and hang it over the picture of a saint to ward off evil. The other part of its name, perfoliatum" means leaf with holes (remember that the holes along the edge of a piece of paper are called perforations, and leaves are also called foliage).

Now days, people use Saint John's Wort to treat depression (deep sadness).

Quick Facts:
People used to harvest Saint John's Wort on Saint John's Day, which is June 24. Wort is a very old word that means plant.

See the little see-through dots on the leaves?
Last modified on 7 July 2010, at 18:38