Perforate St John's-wort

Hypericum perforatum

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  3. Perforate St John's-wort


Perforate St John's-wort can be found in open woods, along hedgerows and roadside verges and on waste ground. Its bright yellow flowers appear from June to September and the blood-red juice that exudes from its stems has made it a focus for much myth and ritual. For instance, torchlight processions and gorse-burning were just some of the activities undertaken on Midsummer's Day, a pagan festival soon replaced by the Feast of St John the Baptist, hence the common name of this plant. It's also said that the red juice from its stem represents his bloody murder.

How to identify

Perforate St John's-wort can easily be identified as it appears to have many tiny 'holes' in its leaves; these are actually colourless glands that give off a 'foxy' smell. It has bright yellow, star-shaped flowers that are peppered with tiny black dots.

Where to find it

Found throughout the UK and Ireland, very widespread in England and Wales.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife, including many different species of plants. But these precious sites are under threat from development, intensive agricultural practices and climate change. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Perforate St John's-wort
Latin name
Hypericum perforatum
Height: up to 80cm
Conservation status