ST. John s-wort.
Flowers: growing in clusters. Calyx: of five pointed sepals. Corolla: of five petals dotted with black. Stamens; very numerous. Pistil: one, with three branching styles. Leaves: opposite; sessile; oblong; dotted; pellucid. Stern: branched; leafy. Juice: acrid.
The only one of the family in our flora that is not a native. There is no doubt, however, but that it has taken out its papers of naturalisation as it is quite at home here and pursues a course of rapid soil-exhausting growth, which no doubt is answerable for many grey hairs in the poor farmer's head.
The flower received its name from an ancient superstition that on St. John's day, June 24, the dew that had fallen on the plant was possessed of a peculiar efficacy to preserve the eyesight. It was therefore collected, dipped in oil, and made into a balm, which served equally well for every wound - "balm-of-the-warrior's wound" being one of its early names. It was also gathered on St. John's eve to be hung at the doors and windows, and in Scotland was even carried about in the pockets as a safeguard against evil spirits and witchcraft. Maidens had faith in it as foretelling by its vigourous or puny growth whether the coming year would make them brides. It has been lauded in ancient poetry, and probably more associated with good and evil than any other plant.
Sarothra gentiano\des, orange-grass, or pine-weed, has tiny flowers of a deep yellow scattered along the branches. The leaves are small, erect and wiry. It is commonly found in dry, sterile or sandy soil from Maine southward and westward. The generic name of the plant was formerly Hypericum nudi-caule.