St John's Wort

Daily Walk in Difficult Times 83

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St John’s Wort has several species but I think this is Hypericum perforatum. It is smaller than I would have imagined it to be. Maybe these plants are smaller than average since the species is known to achieve up to a metre in height in some instances. A patch of them is flowering at the moment beneath the lime trees at the edge of the children’s playing field in the village.

The buds are tinged with red. When they open, the glossy yellow petals reward a close inspection, maybe with a magnifying lens. Around the edges of the petals are black dots, sometimes indented from the margin, which are glands producing oils that contribute to the plants reputation for healing properties. The leaves also bear these black glandular dots; and “pellucid windows” that are semi-transparent dots with oil-producing glands of another type. These features, together with two lines running the length of the round cross-sectioned stem, place the plant in the perforatum category. Because the pellucid windows let through the light, the leaves appear to be perforated, giving this plant its Latin specific name.

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