St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

On this page... (hide)

  1.   1.  Description
  2.   2.  Obtainment
  3.   3.  Uses
    1.   3.1  Medicine
    2.   3.2  Toxicity to Livestock
  4.   4.  More
  5.   5.  'Souls
Common Name St. John's Wort, Tipton's weed, rosin rose, goatweed, chase-devil, or Klamath weed
Latin Name Hypericum perforatum
Image credit

1.  Description

This yellow-flowering perennial herb has extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its stems are erect, branched in the upper section, and can grow to 1 m high. It has opposing, stalkless, narrow, oblong leaves that are 12 mm long or slightly larger. The leaves are yellow-green in color, with transparent dots throughout the tissue and occasionally with a few black dots on the lower surface.

Its flowers measure up to 2.5 cm across, have five petals, and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots. When flower buds (not the flowers themselves) or seed pods are crushed, a reddish/purple liquid is produced.

It grows wild in many meadows. The seeds can persist for decades, germinating following disturbance.

2.  Obtainment

Very Common. Though non-native, St. John's Wort has become invasive in many places, including Nova Scotia.

3.  Uses

3.1  Medicine

  • St John's wort is widely known as an herbal treatment for depression.
  • Herbal medicine has employed extracts as a topical remedy for wounds, abrasions, burns, and muscle pain.

3.2  Toxicity to Livestock

In pastures, St John’s wort acts as both a toxic and invasive weed. Ingestion by livestock can cause photosensitization, central nervous system depression, spontaneous abortion, and can lead to death. Behavioural signs of poisoning are general restlessness and skin irritation. Restlessness is often indicated by pawing of the ground, headshaking, head rubbing, and occasional hindlimb weakness with knuckling over, panting, confusion, and depression. Mania and hyperactivity may also result, including running in circles until exhausted.

4.  More

5.  'Souls

  • Hey, did your character do something cool with this plant?
  • Or maybe your pack has it for trade?

Categories: Flora | Resources