By indexer
1 years ago

Square-stalked St John's-wort

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Square-stalked St John’s-wort (Hypericum tetrapterum) grows throughout Great Britain in damp and marshy places.

Its name derives in part from the extra “wings” on the stems (i.e. four instead of the two on common St John’s-wort) that give them a squared-off appearance. The “St John” reference is due to the link between this group of plants and the medieval Knights of St John of Jerusalem, who used it as part of their “medical kit” when treating battle wounds.

Square-stalked St John’s-wort has upright hairless stems that grow to a height of 28 inches (70 centimetres). Slender runners grow from the base. The leaves are stalkless and partially grasp the stem. The leaves have translucent glands that look like punctures when seen against the light, but these are smaller in the square-stalked than the common variety of St John’s-wort.

The plant flowers from June to September, producing yellow five-petalled flowers which have a small number of black glands on their edges.

St John’s-wort, of whatever variety, was supposed in medieval times to have magical properties. For example, if you wore some under your left armpit you would be protected against sickness and bad luck, but this only worked if you had come across the plant by chance and had not set out deliberately to find it!

The plant had roles to play in witchcraft, being instrumental in spells to summon ghosts, for example. However, it was also used in ceremonies to get rid of ghosts once they had caused a problem. St John’s-wort was clearly a very versatile plant!
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Smokey2017 This is good for anxiety and low moods
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bee Very interesting read and well written article. Thank you for sharing @indexer
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indexer @bee Thanks. I can fully understand why bees like wild flowers!
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