Plant identification from a field guide: St. John’s-Wort

The tutor shares another field find.

Two posts ago I discussed my discovery of a Pacific crab apple. A couple of other discoveries happened in parallel.

While thumbing through the guide to find the match for the tree, I sat on one of a few proximal boulders. The ground was mainly flat, hard gravel. Poking up through it were many brave plants, about 30-40 cm tall, with bright yellow 5-petaled flowers.

After identifying the Pacific crab apple, I set to identifying those sunny-flowered plants that surrounded me. After deliberation, I came to supect they are St. John’s-Wort. The dark dots on the petals, along with purplish blotches on the leaves, convinced me. I believe them to be common St. John’s-Wort, rather than Western, because of the smallness of their leaves. They stand in an open area, consistent with their ecology.

The few years after I finished my degree – two decades ago – I fell into deep depression. Eventually I heard St. John’s-Wort could help, so started taking it. I very much think it did help me – part of the reason I’m here to write this post.

On that neglected area of hard gravel, St. John’s-Wort thrives bravely. I’m very thankful to it for the hand it gave me through some tough times. Somehow, I think it’s no accident that I ended up sitting among it the other day.

I’m looking forward to sharing more of my field finds:)


Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver:
  BC Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing, 1994.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.