St. John's Wort information from trusted sources:
St. John's Wort
A shrubby hairless, branched herbaceous perennial plant with a woody branched root produces many round stems which put out runners from the base. The Plant has a pale brown stem, top branches and oblong stalkless leaves that grow in pairs. On the perforated leaves are transparent spots (oil glands), that look like holes, but on the unperforated varieties are rust-colored spots and were believed by pious country folk to be the mark of the blood of St. John the Baptist. Also, the sap of the plant is reddish colored and represents the blood of St. John the Baptist. Flat topped cymes of yellow flowers, whose petals are dotted with black along the margins, appear from June to September. Each flower has five yellow petals with black dots on the margins and many yellow stamens. The fruit is a three celled capsule containing small, dark brown seeds. The whole plant has a turpentine-like odor. The flowers appear in late summer and are bright yellow. Plant grows 1-3 feet tall with delicate .6 to 1.2 inch bluish-green elliptical leaves, requires full sun to partial shade. This perennial is very tough and will tolerate any soil type, extreme heat and drought. Even with extreme wilting, usually it will revive after watering. Seeds are very small and germination is spotty. Seeds may be sown in outdoor seedbeds as early as October for spring germination. The plant reseeds very lightly in the garden. In early summer, propagate by stem cuttings. Should be planted about one foot apart, no fertilization is necessary. True St. John's Wort has three extraordinary features that help identify it and virtually rule out any possibility of mistaken identity: the stalk is two-edged, (extremely rare in the plant kingdom). Hold the leaves up to light and you can see the oil glands or transparent dots. The golden-yellow flowers turn dark red if rubbed between your fingers. There is no objection to collecting the seeds of plants growing in the wild. When the seeds are ripe, shake loose from the capsules easily, collect a thimble full, dry them well and store until the following spring. In May, sow the seed in small boxes of garden soil, keep moderately damp. After 14-20 days the seeds germinate, then after another 14 days thin out the plants. Two or three weeks later the seedlings are ready for transplanting into well loosened soil in a sunny place. Set out 2.5 inches on all sides. In September, move the plants to permanent place in garden, 8 inches apart on all sides. Plants will survive the coldest winter if covered with some brush or straw. The following year the herbs will bloom. Then you can leave them alone, harvest what you need, and not need to cover them again. Other varieties: Hypericum frodosum is a small deciduous shrub with similar flowers, also called St. John's Wort, the Chinese herb (Hypericum chinense), also called St. John's Wort, is used as an ornamental plant and should not be confused with (H. perforatum).
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