Hypericum prolificum

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: shrubby St. John's wort 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hypericaceae
Native Range: Central and eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil, Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils, including dry rocky or sandy soils. Also tolerates some drought. Blooms on new growth. Prune in early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hypericum prolificum, commonly called shrubby St. John's wort, is a Missouri native plant that occurs on rocky ground, dry wooded slopes, uncultivated fields, gravel bars along streams and in low, moist valleys. A compact, deciduous, rounded shrub with an erect habit that typically grows 1-4' (less frequently to 5') tall. Features 5-petaled, bright yellow flowers (to 1" diameter) with numerous, yellow stamens. Stamens are bushy to the point of partially obscuring the petals (hence the species name of prolificum which refers to the stamens). Flowers appear in terminal or axillary clusters (cymes) from early to mid summer. Dark green, narrow, oblanceolate leaves are 1-3" long and 0.25-0.5" wide. Cone-shaped seed capsules split in autumn to release black seeds. Bark of older stems exfoliates to reveal attractive, pale orange inner bark.

Genus name comes from the Greek words hyper meaning "above" and eikon meaning "picture" in reference to the practice of hanging flowers from this genus above images, pictures or windows.

Specific epithet means many or prolific in reference to the many stamens.

Plants of the genus Hypericum (some species have been used since ancient times in the treatment of wounds and inflammations) were apparently gathered and burned to ward off evil spirits on the eve of St. John's Day, thus giving rise to the genus common name of St. John's wort.


No major pest or disease problems.


Mass or group in the shrub border or native plant garden. Can be grown as a hedge. Also useful for stabilizing embankments.