Hypericum perforatum L. - Common St. John's wort.

Taxonomic position.

Family Hypericaceae Juss., genus Hypericum L.


H. komarovii Gorschk., H. nachitschevanicum Grossh.

Morphology and biology.

Herbaceous perennial plant 30-70 (100) cm tall. Stem is erect, branchy in the upper part, with two longitudinal ribs. Leaves are opposite, elliptical or oblong-ovate, smooth-edged, sessile, with numerous, translucent, light and black glandules. Flowers are numerous, golden yellow, assembled in a latipaniculate or corymbose inflorescence. Petals are covered with glandules along the edges, dentate on the top. Fruit is an oblong-ovoid boll. Seed are small, brown, closely meshed. Blossoms from June until August. Entomophilous. 2n=32.


Widespread throughout Europe, the European part of the former USSR (except the Far North), the Caucasus, and Western Siberia. The species occurs less frequently in Central and Eastern Siberia, Middle Asia (Kazakhstan Altai, Saur, Tarbagatai, Dzungarian Ala Tau, northern spurs of Tien Shan, and Kopet Dagh), the Mediterranean Region, Asia Minor, and Mongolia.


Xeromesophyte. Photophilous. Grows on dry and sunny sites. Grows throughout the forest and forest-steppe zones. Rarely forms extensive thickets; more often grows in narrow bands along clearings or in small clumps on dry, motley-grass, steppe meadows, in glades and clearings, in thin pinewoods, in dry coniferous/small-leaved mixed forests, in oak groves, in steppe birch patches, in meadow steppes, in fallow lands, along field edges and along roadsides. In mountainous areas, the species occurs on foothills and in the lower and middle mountain zones on stony slopes, though it rarely ascends into sub-alpine meadows (up to 2300 m above sea level).

Utilization and economic value.

Used as a spice or an odorant for liquors and teas. St. John's wort preparations produce an astringent and antimicrobial effect and are capable of stimulating tissue regeneration.


Atlas of medicinal plant habitats and resources in the USSR. 1983. Moscow, p 242. (in Russian).
Peshkova G.A., ed. 1996. Flora of Siberia. Vol. 10. Geraniaceae - Cornaceae. Novosibirsk: Nauka, p.75. (in Russian).
Plant resources of the USSR: Flowering plants, their chemical composition and utilization. 1988. Vol. 2. Leningrad: Nauka, p.11. (in Russian).

© I.G. Chukhina.

Photo © I.G. Chukhina

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