Hyppericum adpressumThe St. John’s Wort family is small and consists of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous annuals and perennials that live in temperate and warm climates. The most famous member of the family, St. John’s Wort, has been used to treat a variety of ills from bed wetting to depression and is used as an alternative to Prozak. Native Americans used the dried leaves as meal, and fresh leaves can be eaten as salad. The family consists of ten genera and over 300 species, mostly Hypericum. This family is considered by some as a subfamily of Clusiaceae also known as Guttiferae.

The distinctive characteristics of the family are:

Opposite, entire, leaves with tiny black or translucent dots containing oil.

Flowers yellow (occasionally pink or tinged with red or orange dots) with parts in fours to fives.

Additional characteristics that may be useful in identification:

Ovary superior and consisting of three to five carpels

Fruit is a capsule.

Botany for Gardeners  Pointer

By Karen