Stems: simple or sparingly branched above, often with small branch-lets growing from running rootstocks. Leaves: opposite, obtuse, clasping, entire. Flowers: in panicled cymes, stamens numerous, in three fascicles. Fruit: capsule conical to globose, one to five celled.
A handsome plant growing from one to two feet high, having clasping entire leaves which are usually black-dotted along the margins, and bright yellow rosin-scented flowers growing in an open branched cluster. There are many quaint superstitions connected with this plant. It was formerly believed to be a safeguard against the evil spirits who walked abroad on St. John's Eve, and was gathered by the country people with great ceremony, and hung up over their doors to avert thunder and lightning; while its ancient name of Balm-of-the-Warrior's-Wound denotes that its healing properties were much prized. It was also called Fuga Daemonum because it was believed to be a sovereign remedy to cure melancholia, a fact Huxford refers to: "So then about her brow They bound Hypericum, whose potent leaves Have sovereign power o'er all the sullen fits And cheerless fancies that besiege the mind; Banishing ever, to their native night, Dark thoughts, and causing to spring up within The heart distress'd, a glow of gladdening hope, And rainbow visions of kind destiny."