Hypericum hircinum

9 Sep

Hypericum hircinum (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Hypericum hircinum (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1m

Eventual Spread: 1m

Hardiness: 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a

Family: Hypericaceae

Hypericum hircinum is a semi-evergreen shrub with  bushy habit. Its mid green leaves are elliptic/ lanceolate with entire margins, up to 7cm long, 3cm broad and release an odor when crushed. Its yellow flowers have five petals, prominent stamens and are up to 3cm across. Its fruit is a red capsule and up to 13mm long.

Hypericum hircinum Flowers (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Hypericum hircinum Flowers (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Hypericum hircinum, commonly known as St John’s Wort or Stinking Tutsan, is native to the Mediterranean region. In its native habitat it grows in woodlands and scrub. This shrub has become naturalised in the UK.

The etymological root of the binomial name Hypericum is derived from the Greek meaning ‘above pictures’, in reference to this plants use over shrines to repel evil spirits. Hircinum is derived from the Latin meaning ‘smelling of male goat’, in reference to the smell of the crushed leaves.

The landscape architect may find Hypericum hircinum useful as a summer flowering shrub and may be lightly pruned to form an informal hedge.

Hypericum hircinum Leaf (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Hypericum hircinum Leaf (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Hypericum hircinum flowers are attractive to pollinating insects. Its berries are attractive to some birds.

Hypericum hircinum prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Hypericum hircinum requires little maintenance. If necessary pruning should be carried out after flowering.

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