Stem. - One or two feet high, often pinkish, later bright red. Leaves. - Opposite, set close to the stem or clasping by a broad base. Flowers. - Pinkish or flesh-color, small, closely clustered at the summit of the stem and in the axils of the leaves. Calyx. - Of five sepals, often pinkish. Corolla. - Of five petals. Stamens. - Nine, in three sets, the sets separated by orange-colored glands. Pistil. - One, with three styles.
If one has been so unlucky, from the usual point of view, or so fortunate, looking at the matter with the eyes of the flower-lover, as to find himself in a rich marsh early in August, his eye is likely to fall upon the small, pretty pinkish flowers and pale clasping leaves of the marsh St. John's-wort. A closer inspection will discover that the foliage is dotted with the pellucid glands, and that the stamens are clustered in groups after the family fashion. Should the same marsh be visited a few weeks later dashes of vivid color will guide one to the spot where the little pink flowers were found. In their place glow the conspicuous ovaries and bright leaves which make the plant very noticeable in late August.
Elodes is a corruption from a Greek word which signifies growing in marshes.