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Slender St. John's Wort

Hypericum pulchrum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Hypericaceae (St. John's Wort)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Grassland, heathland, meadows, moorland, roadsides, scrub, wetland, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Flowers have 5 bent back, yellow petals which are reddish beneath. The petals have minute dark dots along the margins. 5 oval, blunt sepals (also black-dotted). The flowers appear in forked clusters at the top of the stems. The flower buds are orange or red.
A dry, ovate seed capsule, opening lengthwise to release its black and shiny seeds.
The leaves are heart-shaped and half-clasp their stems. The stems are round in cross-section. The leaf margins often roll inwards.
Other Names:
Showy St John's Wort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Hypericum pulchrum, also known as Showy St. John's wort, is a perennial herb that is native to North America. It has small, yellow flowers that bloom in the summer and is known for its large showy inflorescence. The plant is often found in wetland, meadows, and woodlands, and is valued for its attractive foliage and showy flowers. It is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments.


Slender St. John's Wort, also known as Hypericum pulchrum, is a flowering plant in the Hypericaceae family. It is native to Europe and can be found growing in open, sunny habitats such as meadows, heaths, and rocky slopes. Slender St. John's Wort is a beautiful and unique plant, with several medicinal and cultural uses.

Appearance and Characteristics

Slender St. John's Wort is a perennial plant that grows up to 50cm tall. It has narrow, lance-shaped leaves that are arranged opposite each other along the stem. The flowers are bright yellow and star-shaped, with five petals and numerous stamens. The plant blooms from June to September and attracts bees and other pollinators.

Medicinal Uses

Like other species of St. John's Wort, Hypericum pulchrum has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. The plant contains several biologically active compounds, including hypericin, hyperforin, and flavonoids, which are believed to have antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects.

In traditional medicine, St. John's Wort has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including depression, anxiety, nerve pain, and wounds. Today, it is commonly used as a natural remedy for mild to moderate depression, although its effectiveness is still being studied.

Cultural Significance

Slender St. John's Wort has played a significant role in European folklore and traditions. It is believed to have protective properties and was often used to ward off evil spirits and negative energy. In some cultures, the plant was also associated with the summer solstice and used in celebrations and rituals.

In modern times, Slender St. John's Wort is still a popular plant for ornamental and decorative purposes. Its bright yellow flowers and unique appearance make it a beautiful addition to any garden or landscape.

Cultivation and Growing Conditions

Slender St. John's Wort is a hardy plant that is relatively easy to grow. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun but can tolerate some shade. The plant is drought-tolerant and can survive in a range of climates, although it may require protection in extreme temperatures.

Propagation can be done through seed or by taking stem cuttings. Once established, the plant requires little maintenance but may benefit from occasional pruning to maintain its shape and promote new growth.

In conclusion, Slender St. John's Wort is a fascinating and useful plant with a long history of medicinal and cultural significance. Its beautiful appearance and adaptability make it a valuable addition to any garden or landscape, while its medicinal properties continue to be studied and appreciated by modern science.

More Information

In addition to its traditional uses in medicine and folklore, there is growing interest in Slender St. John's Wort as a potential treatment for several health conditions. Studies have shown that the plant's active compounds may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as the ability to improve mood and cognitive function.

Research has also suggested that St. John's Wort may be effective in treating symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and mood changes. A study published in the journal Menopause found that women who took St. John's Wort experienced a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of hot flashes, as well as improvements in mood and overall quality of life.

However, it's important to note that St. John's Wort can interact with certain medications, including antidepressants, birth control pills, and blood thinners. It's important to talk to a healthcare provider before using St. John's Wort or any other natural remedies.

In terms of cultivation, Slender St. John's Wort is a hardy plant that is suitable for both garden beds and container gardening. It is easy to care for and generally resistant to pests and disease. However, the plant may be susceptible to root rot if the soil is too wet, so it's important to ensure proper drainage.

Slender St. John's Wort is a unique and valuable plant with a rich history and a range of potential health benefits. Whether grown for its ornamental value or its medicinal properties, this versatile plant is sure to bring beauty and interest to any garden or landscape.

Slender St. John's Wort is also commonly used in aromatherapy and as an ingredient in natural skin care products. The plant's essential oil is believed to have a calming and uplifting effect on the mood, and may be used to treat anxiety and depression. It is also used as a natural remedy for skin conditions such as acne, wounds, and burns.

The plant's anti-inflammatory properties make it a useful ingredient in skincare products designed to reduce redness and inflammation. Its antioxidant content may also help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and environmental toxins.

Slender St. John's Wort is also a popular ingredient in natural hair care products. Its antimicrobial properties may help to reduce dandruff and other scalp conditions, while its nourishing properties may help to improve the overall health and appearance of the hair.

Overall, Slender St. John's Wort is a versatile and valuable plant with a range of potential uses. From medicine and folklore to aromatherapy and skincare, this unique plant is sure to continue to capture the interest and imagination of people for generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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