Hypericum perforatum L.

1157 (21). H. perforatum L., Sp. Pl. ed. 1 (1753) 787; Hayek, Prodr. Fl. Penins Balc. 1 (1925) 533; Стеф., Год. Соф. Унив. Агрон.-Лесов. Фак. 11, 5 (1933) 176; N.Robson, Fl. Eur. II (1968) 269; Exs. : Hayek, Fl St. Exicc. 21, 22 (1910) (1016; Pol. Exicc. (1938) 328 — Лечебна звъника, жълт кантарион, порезниче

Fam:   Guttiferae Juss.
Genus:   Hypericum L.
Species: Hypericum perforatum L.
English Name: Perforate St. John’s-wort


Perennial plant. Rhizome horizontal, creeping. Stems erect or ascending at the base, 20 - 100 cm high, round or double-edged, glabrous, matte green, yellow-brown at the bottom, weaker double-edged. Leaves 5 - 20 (25) mm long, 2 - 15 mm wide, sessile, linear, linearly elliptic, broadly or narrowly elliptically, linear lance or ovate, short-wedge-shaped or rounded to weakly cordate and in this case up to stem-covering base, flat or bent at the edge, with faintly visible veins and numerous transparent superficial and rare black punctate and with intramarginal glands, in its axils with shortened branches, naked. Inflorescences 5 - 20 cm long, 3 - 10 cm wide thyroid panicles. Bracts 4 - 6 mm long, lance to lance elliptical or linear, entire, without or with several black superficial punctate glands. Flowers 10 - 35 mm in diameter, yellow to orange, on petioles shorter than the calyx. Sepals 1.5 - 6 mm long, 2 - 3 times shorter than petals, equal in length to the box, elliptical or ovoid-lance to ovate, entire or large shallow irregularly toothed, on the surface with sparse black superficial large glands or pure green . Petals 10 - 16 mm long, elliptical or elliptically ovoid, on the edge with black punctate marginal glands, in the upper half with black and reddish transparent punctate and linear glands, or only with transparent ones. Stamens numerous, gathered in 3 bundles; anthers yellow with one black gland. The styles 3, spread out, longer than the ovary. Boxes 3 - 7 mm long, equal to the sepals or longer, ovate to cylindrically conical, brownish red to maroon, on the surface parallel to the vertical axis oblong linear or renal orange glandular bubbles inclined with respect to the vertical axis. Seeds 0.8 - 1 mm long, cylindrically kidney-shaped, chestnut, longitudinally reticulate.

Economic significance. It is used in folk medicine as an anti-inflammatory, hemostatic, wound healing and antitoxic agent. In the form of a decoction is taken as a booster of the digestive system, anti-dysentery and anti-rheumatic agent. It has a beneficial effect on pain in the kidneys and bile, gout, sciatica and other diseases. It is used in dyeing for dyeing woolen fabrics in yellow.


1   Leaves 2 - 3 mm wide, linear or elliptically linear. Inflorescences compact, located at the very top of the stem ..................... 2
1* Leaves wider than 3 mm, elliptical or elliptically lance or ovate. The inflorescences are loose and occupy at least one third of the height of the plants .............................................................................................................................................................................. 3
2    Leaves up to 10 mm long, strongly curled at the edge, linear. Sepals 3 - 4 mm long and 0.8 mm wide. The boxes are 4 - 6 mm long… .. var. microphyllum DC, Prodr. (1824) 550. Gusul. et Nyar., Fl. R.P.R. IV (1956) 30; H. veronense Schrank in Hoppe Bot. Taschenb. (1811) 95; H. perforatum var. veronense (Schrank) Beck., Fl. Nied. Öst. (1890) 530; Stoyan. Steph., Fl. Bulgarian ed. 1, 11 (1925) 753. Middle Stara Planina, Middle Rhodopes.
2* Leaves over 10 mm long, flat or slightly curled at the edge, linearly lance or narrowly ovate, to narrowly elliptical. Sepals 4 - 6 mm long, 1 - 1.2 mm wide, Boxes longer than 6 mm… .. var. angustifolium DC., Fl. Fr. ed. 5, III (1815) 630; Nyarady Fl. R.P.R. 4 (1956) 29; H. perforatum var. moesiacum Vel., Sitz. God. Ges. Wiss. (1903) 22; Stoyan. Steph., Fl. Bulgarian ed. 1, II (1925) 753. Black Sea coast, Stara Planina, Sofia region, Vitosha region, Strumska valley (Petrich), Southern Pirin, Middle and Eastern Rhodopes, Thracian lowland (Plovdiv - Hill of Youth, Sadovo), Tundzha hill plain (Sakar), Strandzha.
3   Boxes 45 mm long, ovoid, slightly longer than or equal to the calyxes …………...............................................…………. 4
3* Boxes 5 - 6.5 mm long, cylindrically conical, 2 - 3 times longer than the calyxes. ………….. var. lotigicapsula D. Jord. et Leather. in Addenda. Northeastern Bulgaria (Lukovit region).
4  Leaves broadly ovate, 10 - 20 mm long, 7 - 15 mm wide or broadly lance. Sepals lance, 4 - 6 mm long. . . var. latifolium Koch, Syn. ed. 2 (1843) 146; Gşhul. et Nyar., Fl. R.P.R. IV (1956) 29. Sofia region, Western border mountains, Rhodopes, Thracian lowland (Sadovo).
4* Leaves elliptical or ovate. Sepals ovate, 1 - 1.5 mm long ……………………. var. perforate. Widespread.

From:   „Флора на Н. Р. България”,  том IV, Издателство на БАН, София, (1970)

*     *     *     *     *
Hypericum perforatum, known as perforate St John's-wort,[1] is a flowering plant in the family Hypericaceae and the type species of the genus Hypericum.
Possibly a hybrid between H. maculatum and H. attenuatum, the species can be found across temperate areas of Eurasia and has been introduced as an invasive weed to much of North and South America, as well as South Africa and Australia. While the species is harmful to livestock and can interfere with prescription drugs, it has been used in folk medicine over centuries, and remains commercially cultivated in the 21st century. Hyperforin, a phytochemical constituent of the species, is under basic research for its possible biological properties.


Perforate St John's wort is a herbaceous perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its reddish stems are erect and branched in the upper section, and can grow up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) high. The stems are woody near their base and may appear jointed from leaf scars.[2] The branches are typically clustered about a depressed base. It has opposite and stalkless leaves that are narrow and oblong in shape and 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) long.[3] Leaves borne on the branches subtend the shortened branchlets. The leaves are yellow-green in color, with scattered translucent dots of glandular tissue.[4] The dots are conspicuous when held up to the light, giving the leaves the "perforated" appearance to which the plant's Latin name refers. The flowers measure up to 2.5 cm (0.98 in) across, have five petals and sepals, and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots.[5] The flowers appear in broad helicoid cymes at the ends of the upper branches, between late spring and early to mid summer. The cymes are leafy and bear many flowers. The pointed sepals have black glandular dots. The many stamens are united at the base into three bundles. The pollen grains are ellipsoidal.[6] The black and lustrous seeds are rough, netted with coarse grooves.[7]
When flower buds (not the flowers themselves) or seed pods are crushed, a reddish/purple liquid is produced.[8]


St John's wort reproduces both vegetatively and sexually. Depending on environmental and climatic conditions, and rosette age, St John's wort will alter growth form and habit to promote survival. Summer rains are particularly effective in allowing the plant to grow vegetatively, following defoliation by insects or grazing.[10] The seeds can persist for decades in the soil seed bank, germinating following disturbance.[11]


Hypericum perforatum is native to temperate parts of Europe and Asia, but has spread to temperate regions worldwide as a cosmopolitan invasive weed.[12][13] It was introduced to North America from Europe.[14] The species thrives in areas with either a winter- or summer-dominant rainfall pattern; however, distribution is restricted by temperatures too low for seed germination or seedling survival.[12] Altitudes greater than 1500 m, rainfall less than 500 mm, and a daily mean temperature greater than 24 °C are considered limiting thresholds.[10]


Although Hypericum perforatum is grown commercially in some regions of southeast Europe, it is listed as a noxious weed in more than twenty countries and has introduced populations in South and North America, India, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.[12][11] In pastures, St John's wort acts as both a toxic and invasive weed. It replaces native plant communities and forage vegetation to the extent of making productive land nonviable or becoming an invasive species in natural habitats and ecosystems.[16] Ingestion by livestock such as horses, sheep, and cattle can cause photosensitization, central nervous system depression, spontaneous abortion, or death.[16][17] Effective herbicides for control of Hypericum perforatum include 2,4-D, picloram, and glyphosate. In western North America the beetles Chrysolina quadrigemina, C. hyperici, and Agrilus hyperici have been introduced as biocontrol agents.[18]

Traditional medicine

Common St John's wort has long been used in herbalism for centuries.[19][20] It was thought to have medical properties in classical antiquity and was a standard component of theriacs, from the Mithridate of Aulus Cornelius Celsus' De Medicina (ca. 30 CE) to the Venice treacle of d'Amsterdammer Apotheek in 1686. Folk usages included oily extract ("St John's oil") and Hypericum snaps. Hypericum perforatum is a common species and is grown commercially for use in herbalism and traditional medicine.[20]
The red, oily extract of H. perforatum has been used in the treatment of wounds, including by the Knights Hospitaller, the Order of St John, after battles in the Crusades, which is most likely where the name derived.[19][21] Both hypericin and hyperforin are under study for their potential antibiotic properties.[22]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

*     *     *     *     *

Flowering Time: Blooms: V - VIII.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Growing in dry, light, grassy and bushy places and sparse forests »Widespread, up to 2000 m alitude. (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

Distribution: Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, Siberia, Asia, America, Australia and New Zealand.

Conservation status and threats: not protected species in Bulgaria by the Biodiversity Law. - Biological Diversity Act -

Medical plant: yes, it is - Medicinal Plants Act -

References: „Флора на Н. Р. България”,  том IV, Издателство на БАН, София, (1970), „Флора на Н. Р. България”,  том IV, Издателство на БАН, София, (1970)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.


© K.Nanev


© Copy right: K. Nanev© 2012. All rights reserved