This is the most widespread of several similar perennials, all having opposite, oval leaves and clusters of yellow 5-petalled flowers with many thrusting stamens. This particular species grows in grassland, woods and hedge banks in the South and East of Scotland.
Stems are pithy and erect, growing from creeping rhizomes and branching near the top. Several short oval leaves grow in stalk-less opposite pairs along branched stems. The leaves are the best way to distinguish this species from others: if held to the light you will see they are dotted with translucent spots, giving them a perforated appearance, hence its Latin name. This plant is also known simply as St John’s Wort, or Common St John’s Wort.
Flowers grow in clusters on short branched stems at the top of the plant, each golden-yellow and measuring 25mm across, with 5 petals. The many stamens are held at the calyx in 3 distinct bunches.
Today sales of medicinal extracts of St John’s Wort exceed a billion dollars worldwide.
It has been used since ancient times to relieve depression and anxiety, and also in the treatment of sleep disorders, haemorrhoids, cuts and burns. Scientifically studied almost more than any other wild herb, its medicinal properties are well noted and understood.