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キンシバイ Hypericum. patulum Thunb. やビョウヤナギ Hypericum. chinense L. var. salicifolium aka. St John’s Wort

Photographed last weekend at the Medicinal Botanical Garden in Machida city, part of the Yakushi ike Park.

Last week, when I took photos of the fruits of St John’s Wort, a common garden hedge and flower, I hadn’t realized there were native ones too – actually the “kinshibai“, as they are known here, are naturalized here from 1760 perhaps earlier, and native from China. Below are the cultivated garden variety with larger flowers and pretty berry like fruits that are used flower arrangements.

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ビヨウヤナギ Biyoyanagi / H. monogynum These plants are rather popular hedges in my neighborhood and they have been showing off their sunny yellow colours in flower all this month.

HYPERICUM is a genus of about 400 species of flowering plants in the Clusiaceae family, formerly often treated separately in their own family the Hypericaceae. The genus has a nearly world-wide distribution, missing only from tropical lowlands, deserts and arctic regions. Several species are also native to Japan.

The species vary from small annual or perennial herbaceous plants 5-10 cm tall, to shrubs and small trees up to 12 m tall. The leaves are opposite, simple oval, 1-8 cm long, either deciduous or evergreen. The flowers vary from pale to dark yellow, and from 0.5-6 cm diameter, with five (rarely four) petals. The fruit is usually a dry capsule which splits to release the numerous small seeds; in some species it is fleshy and berry-like.

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All members of the genus may be referred to as “St. John’s worts” or St.John’s-worts, though they are also commonly just called Hypericums; other names include Rose of Sharon and Tutsan. Some species are used as ornamental plants and have large, showy flowers.

Cultivation and uses

Hypericum perforatum is used in herbalism and as an antidepressant. Some species are nuisance weeds in farmland and gardens.

 

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