Herbs or shrubs, sometimes small trees in tropical regions, with opposite or rarely verticillate simple entire or rarely glandular-ciliate or dentate leaves, no stipules, and terminal or axillary, solitary or cymose-paniculate flowers. Foliage pellucid-punctate or black-dotted. Flowers regular and perfect. Sepals 5 or 4, imbricated Petals of the same number, hypogynous, generally oblique or contorted. Stamens numerous or few, hypogynous, often in sets of 3 or 5; anthers versatile or innate, 2-celled, longitudinally dehiscent. Ovary 1-7-celled, composed of 1-7 carpels; styles as many as the carpels; ovules ∞, in 2 rows in each cavity, anatropous. Fruit mainly capsular; seeds mainly straight; endosperm none. About 10 genera and over 300 species, mostly of temperate and warm regions.

Sepals 4, in unequal pairs; petals 4.



Sepals and petals 5.

Petals yellow, convolute in the bud.

Leaves normal, not reduced to scales.



Leaves reduced to minute appressed scales.



Petals pink or greenish purple, imbricated in the bud.



1. ┴SCYRUM L. Sp. PL 787. 1753.

Leafy glabrous low shrubs, with the aspect of Hypericum. Flowers bright yellow. Sepals 4, in 2 pairs, the exterior ones broad and round, the interior smaller and narrower. Petals 4, oblique or slightly contorted, deciduous. Stamens 00, distinct, or united in clusters. Ovary I-celled, with 2-4 parietal placentae; styles 2-4. Capsule I-celled, 2-4-valved, dehiscent at the placentae. [Greek, not rough.]

About s species, natives of eastern and southeastern North America, the West Indies and Central America. Type species: Ascyrum hypericoides L.

Erect, 1-2 high; leaves clasping; styles 3-4.


A. stans.

Diffusely branched, 5'-10' high: leaves sessile; styles 2.


A. hypericoides.

Family 87 Hyperic ceae Lindl Nat Syst Ed 2 77 1836 1221

1. Ascyrum StÓns Michx. St. Peter's-Wort

Fig. 2879

Ascyrum stans Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 77. 1803.

Erect, simple or with a few upright branches, 1°-2° high. Stems and branches 2-edged or slightly winged; leaves clasping, erect or ascending, oval, or broadly oblong, 9"-18" long, 5"-7" wide, obtuse, thick; cymes terminal, few-flowered; pedicels 4"-6" long, 2-bracted below the middle; flowers 8-12" broad; outer sepals nearly orbicular, 4"-6" long, cordate, the inner lanceolate, 3"-6" long; petals obovate, longer than the sepals; styles 3 or 4. short; capsule ovoid, about 3" long.

In dry sandy soil, especially in pine barrens, Long Island to Pennsylvania, Florida, eastern Tennessee and Texas. July-Aug.

2. Ascyrum Hypericoides L. St. Andrew's Cross

Fig. 2880

Ascyrum hypericoides L. Sp. Pl. 788. 1753. Ascyrum Crux-Andreae L. Sp. Pl. Ed. 2, 1107. 1763.

Low, much branched from the base, diffuse or ascending, 5'-10' high. Stems and branches flattened and 2-edged; leaves oblong or obovate, sessile, narrowed and 2-glandular at the base, 1/2'-1 1/2' long, 2"-4" wide, thin, obtuse; flowers terminal or also axillary; pedicels l" - 3" long; 2-bracted near the summit; flowers 6"-9" broad; outer sepals oval or ovate, sometimes cordate, 4"-6" long, 2"-4" wide, obtuse, the inner narrower and mainly shorter; petals oblong-linear, about equalling the outer sepals; styles 2; capsule ovoid, about 2' long.

In dry sandy soil, Nantucket, Mass., to Florida, Illinois, Nebraska and Texas. Ascends to 2800 ft. in Virginia. Cuba; Jamaica. July-Aug.

2 Ascyrum Hypericoides L St Andrew s Cross 1222