4th September 2014

Perforated St John’s Wort is easy to distinguish from other wild St John’s Worts (Hypericums). Hold a leaf up to the light and dozens of perforations can be seen. These tiny windows of light are actually small, translucent oil glands. The plants grow in waste ground and damp, well drained areas in city and countryside. Hypericum has been in the news over the past few years, for it’s reputation of helping with mild depression, for

Flowers of Perforated St John's Wort

Flowers of wild Perforated St John’s Wort, with the typical long stamens of Hypericums.

Perforated St John's Wort showing the flower heads, leaves and seed-pods, all of which can be used to make a soothing oil.

Perforated St John’s Wort showing the flower heads, leaves and seed-pods, all of which can be used to make a soothing oil.

The small oil glands that give Perforated St John's Wort it's name.

The small oil glands that give Perforated St John’s Wort it’s name.

which it is commonly prescribed in Germany and elsewhere. It is seen as a noxious weed in many countries where it is non-native and invasive, and it’s toxicity to livestock makes it a problem where animals graze. The bright yellow, 5-petalled flower is attractive and easy to spot, with the long stamens typical of Hypericums (e.g. the garden ones like Rose of Sharon). A cream is produced for easing abrasions and muscle pain, and an easy cold-pressed version can be made by steeping flower heads, leaves and seeds in a light oil such as almond or sunflower, as a herbalist friend did for me many years ago. The oil produced, useful for massage, is a beautiful red colour, which led to many folklore myths in the past about Perforated St John’s Wort representing the spilt blood of John the Baptist. Conditions: A still , dry day with mist and dense cloud cover. Temperature: Max 19- Min 14 C.

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