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Feb 2006 ST. JOHN'S WORT
N. Walker

Golden St. John's Wort is one of many species in the family. Golden St. John's Wort, which is native to the southeastern U.S. is an attractive shrub that is evergreen in climates a little warmer than North Alabama. The plant grows to about 3 feet high before dying at only 5 or 6 years of age. The narrow leaves are opposite and attach closely to the stem. (See Image 5). The very noticeable flowers are bright yellow and have numerous long stamens configured like a fluff ball. The plant is drought resistant and tolerates a variety of soil types. An interesting and unusual feature of most members of the St. John's Wort family is the tiny translucent spots in the leaves. Holding a leaf up to the light and focusing closely with a magnifying glass can reveal these spots. (See Image 7). Golden St. John's Wort is a popular landscaping plant in Europe. Europe also has the Hypericum perforata St.John's Wort species used to obtain a well known anti-depressant preparation. St. Johns Wort is common on the rocky limestone slopes of Monte Sano Mountain. Homes on the lower slopes usually have an abundance of the plant in their back yards. It can often be spotted at the ends of roads where they terminate on the edge of the mountain. .