Trailing St John's-wort - Hypericum humifusum


Many of the Hypericum genus are tall plants with striking flowers but this one is a usually a prostrate plant trailing flat along the ground. The small (8 to 10 mm) yellow flowers only open in full sun so it can be easily missed. The petals are hardly longer than sepals. The stems branch and root at the base.

Similar Species

See ID Aids below.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

This is the only procumbent Hypericum recorded in VC55, but it can be at least partly upright.  Stems have 2 lines; sepals are unequal; petals less than twice as long as sepals.  Black glands on leaves; a few on petals and sepals

Identification aids

The St John's Wort (Hypericum) family are attractive, yellow-flowered perennials. They can look confusingly similar but can be distinguished by careful examination of key features. A hand-lens may be required (depending how good your eyesight is!). The leaf perforations are visible as translucent dots if the leaf is held up to the light.

Hypericum guide


Recording advice

A photo of the plant in its habitat 

When to see it

Usually on acid soil and favouring dry sandy or rocky places.

Life History


UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent from most of Britain except the far north of Scotland and a small area around The Wash.

VC55 Status

Occasional and local in Leicestershire and Rutland. Charnwood Forest is the area where you are most likely to see it in our area. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 22 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011) it is listed as Native; now scarce.

It is on the VC55 Rare Plant Register

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map