Open the Advanced Search

Rose of Sharon

Hypericum calycinum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Hypericaceae (St. John's Wort)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, parks, towns, wasteland, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Yellow solitary flowers with 5 petals.
Dark red, berry-like capsules containing many seeds.
An evergreen shrub. The leaves are not stalked and are arranged in opposite pairs along the stems. They are shaped oval to elliptical and are anything up to 10cm in length.
Other Names:
Aaron's Beard, Creeping St John's Wort, Great St John's Wort, Jerusalem Star.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Hypericum calycinum, also known as "Rose of Sharon" or "Greater St. John's Wort", is a species of flowering plant that is native to China, Korea, and Japan. It is a perennial evergreen shrub that can grow up to 2ft tall and wide. The leaves are glossy and dark green, and the flowers are yellow, with five petals, and appear in clusters at the tips of the branches. They bloom from late spring to fall. It prefers well-drained, neutral to acidic soil and full sun to partial shade. Hypericum calycinum is known for its showy, long-lasting flowers and it is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens, borders, and as a groundcover. It is also used in traditional medicine and as a source of dye.


Hypericum calycinum, commonly known as Rose of Sharon or Aaron's beard, is a beautiful flowering plant that belongs to the family Hypericaceae. It is native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, but is widely cultivated in gardens all over the world. In this blog, we will explore the characteristics, growing conditions, and uses of Hypericum calycinum.


Hypericum calycinum is a low-growing shrub that can reach a height of up to 60 cm. It has a spreading habit and can reach a width of up to 1.2 m. The leaves are evergreen, oval-shaped, and around 3 cm long. They are dark green on top and lighter on the underside. The flowers are bright yellow and have a diameter of around 5 cm. They bloom from June to August and are followed by small capsules containing seeds.

Growing Conditions

Hypericum calycinum is an easy-to-grow plant that thrives in full sun to partial shade. It prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate a range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. The plant is drought tolerant, making it a great choice for areas with low rainfall. It is also hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as -20°C.

Propagation can be done through stem cuttings or division. To propagate by stem cuttings, take a 10 cm cutting in spring or summer and plant it in a pot filled with a mixture of sand and peat. Keep the soil moist and in a warm, bright location until the cutting roots. Division can be done in the spring by digging up the plant and dividing the clump into smaller sections.


Hypericum calycinum is mainly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes. Its bright yellow flowers and evergreen foliage make it an attractive addition to any garden. It is often planted as a ground cover, as its spreading habit can quickly fill in empty spaces. The plant is also known for its medicinal properties, with the oil extracted from the flowers and leaves being used to treat wounds, burns, and inflammation.

More Information

Hypericum calycinum has a long history of medicinal use. The oil extracted from the plant has been used as a natural remedy for various ailments, including anxiety, depression, nerve pain, and menstrual cramps. The active ingredients in the oil, including hypericin and hyperforin, have been found to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antidepressant properties. However, it is important to note that the use of Hypericum calycinum as a natural remedy should always be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Aside from its medicinal uses, Hypericum calycinum is also used in the perfume industry. The plant's essential oil is used to create fragrances and has a sweet, floral scent. Additionally, the plant is used as a source of food for various insects, including bees and butterflies, making it a valuable addition to any pollinator garden.

In terms of landscape design, Hypericum calycinum is a popular choice for gardeners who want to create a low-maintenance, yet attractive garden. Its spreading habit and evergreen foliage make it an ideal ground cover, as it can quickly fill in empty spaces and provide a lush, green backdrop for other plants. The plant also looks great when planted in mass, creating a sea of bright yellow flowers that can be enjoyed from a distance.

One of the interesting things about Hypericum calycinum is that it has a long history of use in folklore and superstition. In some cultures, the plant was believed to have protective powers against evil spirits, and it was often hung above doorways or carried on one's person to ward off bad luck. In other cultures, the plant was believed to have magical properties that could be used to bring good luck, wealth, or love.

The name "Aaron's beard" is also a nod to the plant's historical significance. In Christian tradition, Aaron was the older brother of Moses and the first high priest of the Israelites. According to legend, Aaron's beard was a symbol of his authority and wisdom, and the yellow flowers of Hypericum calycinum were said to resemble Aaron's beard. As a result, the plant became associated with religious iconography and was often depicted in religious art.

In terms of cultivation, Hypericum calycinum is generally considered to be a low-maintenance plant. It is resistant to most pests and diseases and requires minimal pruning or fertilization. However, it is important to note that the plant can be invasive in some areas, particularly in North America, where it has escaped cultivation and is now considered a noxious weed in some states. As a result, gardeners in these areas should exercise caution when planting Hypericum calycinum and monitor its growth carefully to prevent it from spreading too far.

Hypericum calycinum is also known for its unique ecological characteristics. In its native range, the plant is adapted to grow in areas with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. It can tolerate a wide range of soil types, from sandy to clay, and it is often found growing in disturbed areas such as roadsides, abandoned fields, and open woodlands.

One interesting ecological feature of Hypericum calycinum is its ability to grow in areas with low soil fertility. The plant has a mutualistic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi, which help it to access nutrients from the soil. In exchange, the plant provides the fungi with carbohydrates that it produces through photosynthesis. This relationship allows Hypericum calycinum to thrive in areas with poor soil quality, where other plants might struggle to survive.

Hypericum calycinum is also attractive to a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. The plant's bright yellow flowers provide a rich source of nectar and pollen, making it a valuable addition to any pollinator garden. In addition to supporting pollinators, the plant also provides habitat and food for a variety of insects, including the larvae of several moth species.

In some areas, Hypericum calycinum has also been used for erosion control. Its spreading habit and deep roots help to stabilize soil on steep slopes and prevent erosion. The plant's ability to thrive in disturbed areas also makes it a useful tool for restoring damaged or degraded ecosystems.

Hypericum calycinum is a plant with a rich cultural history, and it has been used for a variety of purposes in many different cultures. For example, in traditional Chinese medicine, the plant has been used to treat depression, anxiety, and liver disorders. In Europe, the plant was historically used as a remedy for wounds, burns, and skin inflammation.

One of the most well-known uses of Hypericum calycinum is as a natural remedy for depression. The plant's active ingredients, hypericin and hyperforin, are believed to work by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Studies have shown that Hypericum calycinum may be effective in treating mild to moderate depression, although more research is needed to fully understand its therapeutic effects.

In addition to its use as a natural remedy, Hypericum calycinum has also been used in the cosmetic industry. The plant's essential oil is known for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is often used in skincare products to soothe irritated or inflamed skin. The oil is also used in hair care products to condition and strengthen hair.

Hypericum calycinum is also a popular ornamental plant, thanks to its attractive foliage and bright yellow flowers. It is often used as a ground cover in gardens and landscaping, where its spreading habit and low-maintenance nature make it an ideal choice for filling in bare patches of soil. The plant also looks great when planted in mass, creating a vibrant carpet of yellow flowers that can be enjoyed from a distance.

Hypericum calycinum is also known to have some potential negative effects on the environment. While the plant is valued for its ability to grow in poor soil and disturbed areas, it can also become invasive in some regions. In fact, Hypericum calycinum is considered an invasive species in parts of North America and New Zealand, where it can outcompete native plant species and disrupt natural ecosystems.

When the plant becomes invasive, it can also negatively affect human activities. For example, in areas where Hypericum calycinum has taken over, it can interfere with farming and ranching operations by reducing grazing areas for livestock and reducing crop yields. Additionally, the plant's dense growth can create fire hazards in some regions, particularly in dry climates.

To prevent the spread of invasive Hypericum calycinum, it is important to plant it only in areas where it is not likely to spread, such as in garden beds or containers. If you are interested in using the plant in your landscaping, it is recommended to choose a sterile cultivar that will not produce seeds and spread. Additionally, it is important to dispose of any plant material carefully, as the seeds can easily spread and establish new colonies.

In conclusion, while Hypericum calycinum is a fascinating and versatile plant with many practical uses, it is important to be aware of its potential negative impacts on the environment. By taking care to plant it responsibly and dispose of plant material properly, we can continue to enjoy the many benefits of this plant without contributing to the spread of invasive populations.


Rose of Sharon filmed in Capernwray, Lancashire on the 15th and 17th June 2023.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map