Saturday, June 18, 2011

St. Peter's-wort - Hypericum crux-andreae

St. Peter's-wort (Hypericum crux-andreae; incorrectly -  H. stans) is yet another member of this genus with four-petal flowers. The blooms are extremely similar to St. Andrew's-cross (H. hypericoides), but the petals seem to be a bit wider. This species occurs in wetlands throughout much of Florida (except the extreme southern counties) and in much of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
St Peter's-wort is an irregular, open woody shrub that may reach 3 feet at maturity.  At the more northern regions of its range, it is deciduous and leafs out in early spring.  The foliage is reminiscent of myrtle-leaf St. John's-wort (H. myrtifolia), but the oval clasping leaves are a bit more greenish and less blue-green than the latter.
Flowering occurs in our Pinellas landscape in early summer.  The canary-yellow petals are thin, arranged in an "X" pattern and ocur at the tips of the many thin branches.  They are attractive, but not in the profusuin seen in some other species in this genus.
This species requires moist to wet conditions and should not be attempted in drier landscapes. It also seems better suited to filtered sun than full.  We have only grown this species for a short time at our Pinellas County location and I do not yet have enough experience with it to profess myself an expert.  I am not aware of anyone that has ever offered it for sale within Florida. With enough diligence, however, it may be possible to locate specimens from states adjacent to Florida. With all of the other wonderful wetland species here, this effort may not be justified. 

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