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Native Plant of the Week: Shrubby St. Johns Wort

Family: Hypericaceae

Name: Hypericum prolificum

Bloom Time: June-August

Flower: Yellow

Soil Condition: Dry to moist

Light: Sun

Height/Width: 1-5 feet by 1-4 feet

Native Range: Central and Eastern North America including Long Island

Zone: 3-8

Photos (KMS Native Plants): habit, flower, and a very happy bumble bee

This is one of my favorite native shrubs. Its rounded habit blends in well with other shrubs and is also at home mixed with perennials in a border or meadow. Shrubby St. John's wort also works well as a low hedge. Although not a nectar source, it is visited by bumble bees, syrphid flies, Halictid bees, and several leaf beetles.

Maintenance: blooms on new wood, prune in early spring once new growth begins but it is not necessary

Benefits: pollinators, the birds eat the seeds, it tolerates clay soil, host plant for Gray Hairstreak butterflies and several moths

Fun facts: the leaves contain a phototoxic chemical hypericin. This can irritate the digestive tract or cause rashes on skin exposed to the sun. This also may deter herbivores from browsing the plant.

Companion Plants: Aster oblongifolius (Aromatic Aster), Hibiscus moscheutos (Swamp Mallow), and Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot)


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