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Flax-leaved St. John's Wort

Hypericum linariifolium

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Hypericaceae (St. John's Wort)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, heathland, rocky places.

Yellow, 5 petals
Rich yellow flowers, similar to those of Trailing St. John's Wort but slightly larger (up to 2cm in diameter). The flowers are black dotted along the edges of the petals.
An ovoid, 3 parted capsule.
A biennial or short-lived perennial with linear, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are black-dotted along the margins and are paired together along their stems. The stems are green, tinged red.
Other Names:
Narrow-leaved St John's Wort, Toadflax-leaved St John's Wort.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Hypericum linariifolium, also known as narrow-leaved St. John's wort, is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It has narrow, linear leaves and small yellow flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is often used in garden and landscape design, 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.


Flax-leaved St. John's Wort, also known as Hypericum linariifolium, is a plant that belongs to the Hypericaceae family. This plant is native to the Mediterranean region and can be found in various habitats, such as rocky slopes, dry grasslands, and open forests. Flax-leaved St. John's Wort is a perennial shrub that grows up to 60cm in height and produces yellow flowers during the summer months.

One of the most notable features of Flax-leaved St. John's Wort is its leaves. As the name suggests, the leaves of this plant resemble those of flax, being narrow and linear in shape, with a bluish-green color. The leaves are arranged opposite each other along the stem and are covered in fine hairs, which give them a soft texture. The flowers of Flax-leaved St. John's Wort are also quite distinctive, with five petals that are bright yellow in color and studded with numerous stamens.

Flax-leaved St. John's Wort has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Europe. The plant was commonly used to treat a range of ailments, including depression, anxiety, and nerve pain. It was also used as a topical treatment for wounds and burns. The active constituents of Flax-leaved St. John's Wort are believed to be hypericin and hyperforin, which have been shown to have antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Today, Flax-leaved St. John's Wort is still used in herbal medicine, although it is not as well-known as some of the other species of St. John's Wort. It is often used as a natural remedy for mild to moderate depression, as well as for anxiety and sleep disorders. Some studies have also suggested that Flax-leaved St. John's Wort may be effective in treating mild to moderate cases of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Despite its potential health benefits, it is important to note that Flax-leaved St. John's Wort can interact with certain medications, including antidepressants, birth control pills, and blood thinners. It can also cause photosensitivity in some people, meaning that their skin may become more sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using Flax-leaved St. John's Wort as a supplement or treatment.

Flax-leaved St. John's Wort is a fascinating plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine. While more research is needed to fully understand its potential health benefits, this plant has shown promise as a natural remedy for depression, anxiety, and other conditions. As always, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal supplement or treatment.

Flax-leaved St. John's Wort is also a popular ornamental plant, thanks to its attractive foliage and bright, showy flowers. It is well-suited to rock gardens and other dry, sunny locations, and is relatively easy to grow and maintain.

When planting Flax-leaved St. John's Wort, it is important to choose a site with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight. The plant prefers soil that is slightly alkaline, so it may be necessary to amend the soil with lime or other alkalizing agents. It is also important to avoid overwatering the plant, as it can be susceptible to root rot.

Flax-leaved St. John's Wort can be propagated from cuttings, which should be taken in the late summer or early fall. The cuttings should be about 4-6 inches long and should be taken from the current year's growth. After removing the lower leaves, the cuttings can be planted in pots or directly in the soil. It is important to keep the soil moist and the cuttings out of direct sunlight until they have rooted.

Flax-leaved St. John's Wort is a versatile and useful plant that offers a range of benefits, both medicinal and ornamental. Whether used as a natural remedy for depression or simply as a beautiful addition to a garden or landscape, this plant is sure to delight and impress. With its attractive foliage, bright yellow flowers, and interesting history, Flax-leaved St. John's Wort is definitely worth considering for anyone looking to add some variety and interest to their plant collection.

Flax-leaved St. John's Wort is an important plant in Mediterranean ecosystems, where it plays a key role in preventing soil erosion and providing habitat for a range of wildlife. The plant's deep root system helps to stabilize slopes and prevent landslides, while its flowers and leaves provide food and shelter for bees, butterflies, and other insects.

In addition to its medicinal and ecological benefits, Flax-leaved St. John's Wort also has cultural significance in many parts of the world. In ancient Greece, the plant was associated with the sun god Apollo and was believed to have healing powers. The plant was also used in traditional folk medicine in many European countries, including France, Italy, and Germany.

Today, Flax-leaved St. John's Wort is still valued for its many uses and benefits. It is often used in natural and alternative medicine as a natural remedy for a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and nerve pain. It is also a popular ornamental plant that can add beauty and interest to a range of landscapes and garden designs.

As with any herbal supplement or treatment, it is important to use Flax-leaved St. John's Wort responsibly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. While the plant has many potential health benefits, it can also interact with certain medications and may not be appropriate for everyone. With proper care and attention, however, Flax-leaved St. John's Wort can be a valuable addition to any garden or health regimen.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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