Not a large family, mostly natives of temperate and warm regions. Ours are herbs, sometimes shrubby, without stipules, with opposite, toothless leaves, with clear or black dots; the flowers regular and complete, all the parts borne on the receptacle; the sepals and petals usually five; the stamens usually numerous, sometimes grouped in three to five clusters; the ovary superior; the fruit a capsule.

There are many kinds of Hypericum, widely distributed; the leaves without leaf-stalks, the flowers yellow, with three to six styles. This is the ancient Greek name. These plants bloom in June, about St. John's Day, and so tradition gives them magic properties, appropriate to the Eve of that day, when fairies and witches are abroad, and they are commonly called St. John's-wort.