Hypericum perforatum L. St John's Wort
Sp.Pl. 2:785 (1753)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Grazyna Paczkowska, Tuesday 15 October 1996

Erect perennial, herb, 0.3-0.9 m high. Fl. yellow, Nov to Dec. Roadsides, pastures.

Distribution

Beard’s Provinces: South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Jarrah Forest, Warren.

IBRA Subregions: Avon Wheatbelt P2, Northern Jarrah Forest, Southern Jarrah Forest, Warren.

IMCRA Regions: Leeuwin-Naturaliste.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Augusta-Margaret River, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Collie, Harvey, Manjimup, Murray, Wandering, Waroona, York.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Thursday 21 December 2017

Alternative Names. Common St. John's Wort, Tipton's Weed, Klamath Weed, Goatweed.

General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Perennial. Reproduction. Primarily seed, also stem fragments, short rhizomes. Dispersal. Water, soil, machinery, animals (adhesion and ingestion), wind, contaminated hay or soil. Toxicity. Contains a toxin that causes dermatitis and photo-sensitivity in livestock. Seedbank persistence. 13+ years, with vaiblity declining from 7 years onwards. Fire response. Heat from fire stimulate germination of seed. Can resprout and sucker from deep rhizomes.

Notes. Forms dense stands where it displaces native plant species, reduces wildlife habitat, depletes soil moisture, and in late summer may increase the fire hazard. Original infestations are usually associated with disturbance. Exhibits a high degree of phenotypic and genotypic variation. Appears well-adapted to a wide variety of habitats and climate conditions. Seedlings do not tolerate high salinity, litter and competition. Mature plants will survive long periods of inundation and have deep, extensive root systems. Has two distinct growth phases: autumn/winter prostrate basal growth and spring/summer erect woody stem growth. Vegetatively reproduces from lateral roots and root crowns, stimulated by grazing, fire and defoliation. Self-pollinated and insect-pollinated. Capable of producing tens of thousands of seed annually. Seeds have 4-6 months of after-ripening, reach maximum germinability at 12 months and require bare soil, sunlight and/or heavy rain for germination. Reaches maturity in two seasons, with the first year's growth directed mainly to establishment of the root system. Declared plant in New South Wales and many parts of the United States. A number of forms, varieties and subspecies have been recognised and readily forms hybrids with other Hypericum species. A biocontrol program in Australia has been partly successful but work is still continuing.

Additional information. Origin. Europe, north Africa and western Asia. History of use/introduction. Ornamental, medicines, materials. Similar exotic species. Hypericum canariense, H. perforatum subsp. veronense. Similar native species. H. gramineum.

Suggested method of management and control. Spot spray at flowering (when half are in bud and the remaining half in open flowering, do not spray after half are in green bud) with Grazon® (triclopyr + picloram) 50 mL/10 L water. Glyphosate applied to germinants following autumn rains can be effective. Timing of applications is crucial. Repeated annual sprayings are recommended. Mechanical removal is not advised as plants resprout from extensive rhizomes. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Active Growth Y O O O O Y Y Y Y Y Y Y  
Germination         U U U U          
Flowering O O O O O O O O O O Y Y  
Fruiting Y Y O O                  
Herbicide Treatment Y O O O Y Y Y O O O Y Y  

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.

 

References

  • Anon. (1997) St John’s Wort: Hypericum perforatum L. Integrated control and management. Plant Protection Quarterly, 12 (2) Proceedings of a workshop at CSIRO Entomology, Canberra 13-14 November, 1996.
  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Buckley, Y.M., Briese, D.T. & Rees, M. (2003) Demography and management of the invasive plant species Hypericum perforatum I. using multi-level mixed-effects models for characterizing growth, survival and fecundity in a long-term data set. Journal of Applied Ecology, 40 (3): 481-493.
  • Campbell, M.H. & Nicol, H.I. (2000) Effect of split application of herbicides on the control of St John’s Wort and regeneration of native grasses and annual clovers on non-arable land. Plant Protection Quarterly, 15 (3): 119-122.
  • Campbell, M.H., Briese, D.T. & Delfosse, E.S. (1995) Hypericum perforatum L. In The Biology of Australian Weeds Vol. 1 (eds. F.D. Panetta, R.H. Groves, & R.C.H. Shepherd) . R.G. & F.J. Richardson, Melbourne.
  • Campbell, M.H., Flemons, K.F. & Dellow, J.J. (Undated) Control of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum var. angustifolium) on non-arable land. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, 15 (77): 812 - 817.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Martonfi, P., Brutovska, R. & Cellarova, E. (1996) Apomixis and hybridity in Hypericum perforatum. In Apomixis and taxonomy, Proceedings of a symposium, pp 389-396.
  • Mayo, G.M. (2004) Genetic variation in Hypericum perforatum L. and resistance to the biological control agent Aculus hyperici Liro. University of Adelaide.
  • Naughton, M. & Bourke, C.A. (2007) St John’s Wort. NSW DPI Primefact 694. URL: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/193075/St-Johns-wort.pdf - Accessed December 2007.
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries, Agriculture (2005) Weed profile: St John's wort. NSW Government URL: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/pests-weeds/weeds/profiles/st-johns-wort - Accessed March 2010.
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program (2009) Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx - Accessed October 2009.

Project information and acknowledgements