Saturday, June 18, 2011
St. Andrew's-cross - Hypericum hypericoides
St. Andrew's-cross (Hypericum hypericoides) is another common St. John's-wort with flowers that have only four petals. Unlike four-petal St. John's-wort (H. tetrapetalum), however, the petals of this species are arranged in an "X" pattern, where the petals are not equidistant from each other.
St. Andrew's-cross is tolerant of a wide variety of growing conditions and can be found in the upper edges of wetlands and in mesic understories throughout Florida and in much of the eastern U.S. In Florida, it is an evergreen woody shrub with a narrow regular aspect and a somewhat rounded crown. Mature specimens can reach 3-4 feet in height. The stems and trunk are narrow and the back is cinnamon brown in color. The opposite leaves are linear and bluish green. It makes a nice foliage plant in the home laqndscape.
Flowering is most common in the spring, but blooms are evident during most months. The flowers are rather small and the petals are narrow. Though attractive, they also tend to be hidden somewhat in the foliage.
St Andrew's-cross is an easy species in the home landscape. It adapts to nearly every growing condition and is relatively long-lived for the genus. In our landscape at Hawthorn Hill, plants have seeded into many parts of our landscape and we have to do some limited thinning each year to maintain them in the areas we most want them.
Despite this species' adaptability, it is only infrequently offered by commercial nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. We always have seedlings we could pot up at Hawthorn Hill, however, if you ask. Should you locate it for your landscape, use it as a screen at the back of a landscape bed or in scattered clusters in expansive settings.