Four-petal St. John’s wort
Click on terms for botanical definitions.
Four-petal St. John’s wort is an evergreen perennial shrub. Its blooms are bright lemon-yellow with four petals and four sepals. Leaves are ovate– to cordate-shaped, oppositely arranged and have entire margins. They clasp the stem. Leaves tend to be bluish-green, but may also be yellowish-green or reddish. Stems are glabrous and woody at the base.
Four-petal St. John’s wort can bloom throughout the year, but late spring is usually its best bloom time. It occurs naturally in moist flatwoods, sandhills and ruderal areas. It is considered a near-endemic species as it occurs only in Florida and limited parts of southern Georgia. It is attractive to bees.
The species name, like the common name, alludes to the flower’s four petals: from the Greek tetra or “four,” and petalon meaning “petal or leaf.”
Native range: Throughout Florida except Collier County and a few North Florida counties
To see where natural populations of four-petal St. John’s wort have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Hardiness: Zones 8a-10b
Soil: Moist organic soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 2–3’ tall; may also be prostrate or spreading
Garden tips: Once established, four-petal St. Johns wort is easy to maintain in a landscape setting. It does best in moist soil and full sun, but can handle drier soils in partial shade. It does not do as well in drought conditions.
Four-petal St. John’s wort plants are occasionally available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery in your area.