Scouler's St. Johnswort
Hypericum scouleri Hook.
Family: Clusiaceae, St. Johnswort
Genus: Hypericum
Synonyms: Hypericum formosum
Other names:
Nomenclature: scouleri = named after Scouler
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
Edible plant
Medicinal plant

General: perennial with rather widespread slender stolons and rhizomes, the erect stems usually many, 10-80 cm tall, simple to freely branched.

Leaves: opposite, ovate-lanceolate to oblong-elliptic or obovate or almost round, 1-3 cm long, usually purplish-black dotted, especially along the edges, the bases somewhat clasping.

Flowers: few in open clusters with leafy bracts. Sepals triangular to ovate-lanceolate, 4-5 mm long, purplish-black dotted, usually blunt or rounded, sometimes small-toothed. The 5 petals pale to bright yellow, about twice the length of the sepals, conspicuously purplish-black dotted along the edges, or blackish-small-toothed. Stamens 75-100, joined in 3-5 distinct groups. Styles slender, 3-5 mm long. June-September.

Fruits: capsules, 6-9 mm long, 3-celled. Seeds about 0.8 mm long, yellow to brownish, finely net-veined but apparently shallowly lined lengthwise.


Mostly in moist places from the foothills to well up in the mountains, in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from B.C. to Baja Calif., and to WY and c. Mexico.
Edible Uses

The plant has been eaten fresh, dried or ground into flour and used like acorn meal.

Medicinal Uses

Western St. John's-wort was used medicinally mostly by the Shoshoni Indians. They used the plant in several ways as a poultice for sores, swellings, wounds and cuts. The dried root was used for toothache. An infusion of tops was taken over a long period of time for venereal disease. The Paiute tribe used the flowers for perfume. The Shoshoni and Paiute made a decoction of the plant used as a bath for aching feet.

Sub taxa:

ssp. nortoniae (M.E. Jones) J. Gillett:
A more slender, mostly simple-stemmed plant up to about 20 cm tall, often with relatively broader leaves, the sub-alpine ecotype.

ssp. scouleri Hook.:
Plants mostly over 20 cm tall and frequently branched, occurring from the lowlands to moderate altitudes in the mountains.

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