"Saint John His Wort" is the old terminology; the old English name "wort" simply means plant. The Hypericum is St. John's Plant for no particular reason, though many species bloom on St. John's Day, June 24.
Hypericum sphaerocarpum Michx.
Summer. Hillsides, sunny woods.
The Hypericums are flowers of high summer. In the long days and bright sunshine they reach their best growth. Their leafy stems and many-flowered heads are bright along the roads and in the woods where they are a special part of a colorful midsummer flora.
The flowers of St. John's-wort are bright yellow and thin petaled with that same sunshine-glint which the buttercups have. The five petals, however, are thinner and silkier than those of buttercups, and they stand out in a star shape, either slightly cupped or flat, or the petals bend backward while the splendid cluster of bright yellow, curling stamens stands outward to invite flying insects to slop for a while, sip nectar. and fertilize the flower with pollen from another plant.
St. John's-wort has pairs of smooth, untoothed, opposite leaves which are rather thin and somewhat clasping the slightly ribbed stem. The leaves are dryish with a prominent midrib standing out on the underside. Hypericum sphaerocarpum has larger flowers and a simpler stem than the more bushy Hypericum perforatum. The latter has many small flowers which are deep yellow, black-dotted along the tinted margins. The oval, slightly tapered leaves have tiny pale dots scattered upon them.