Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Low St. John's-wort - Hypericum stragulum   W.P. Adams & Robson
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Section 6 » Family Hypericaceae
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AuthorW.P. Adams & Robson
DistributionFound throughout the Piedmont, and over the southern and central mountains. Also present in the northwestern Coastal Plain, south to Johnston and Washington counties. It appears to be absent in the northern mountains and the southern two-thirds of the Coastal Plain; occurrences in the Sandhills are possible but not likely – records for counties such as Moore and Richmond could well relate to Piedmont sites.

Widespread over much of the eastern US, from MA to KS and south to central GA and central TX. It generally is not found in the Coastal Plains south of northern NC. Note: The BONAP atlas does not have a distribution map for this species, as it follows the taxonomic treatment of this being lumped into H. hypericoides.
AbundanceFairly common to common over most of the Piedmont; uncommon to fairly common in the southern half of the mountains and northern Coastal Plain. Abundance can be somewhat confusing or uncertain, as this taxon is essentially a decumbent “form” of H. hypericoides, and the two taxa can grow in similar habitats and at the same sites.
HabitatThis is a species of dry habitats – upland woods, rocky woods, sandy pinelands, roadbanks, woodland borders, and weedy fields.
PhenologyBlooms and fruits from May to August.
IdentificationThis is a leaning or decumbent deciduous shrub growing only to about 1’ tall, with a matted appearance. It has multiple stems and thus is much wider than tall. The opposite leaves and flowers are essentially like those of H. hypericoides – narrow and oblanceolate with rounded tips and tapering sessile bases, and four yellow petals in the shape of an X instead of a plus (+). The very similar H. hypericoides has a single stem, grows to 3’ tall with branches from the upper part of the stem; and it can have somewhat more variably-shaped leaves. The main confusion might be when this latter species is cut by mowing or burned with a fire, and thus the plant would be of very short stature and might have more than one stem.
Taxonomic CommentsMany references lump this species into the more southerly (but overlapping) H. hypericoides, calling it H. hypericoides ssp. multicaule. This is not biologically correct, as these two forms have strongly overlapping ranges and can occur together; subspecies must be allopatric. Also, many older references included the four-petaled species in the genus Ascyrum. Finally, the RAB (1968) manual misspelled the scientific name as “stragalum”; it is “stragulum”.

Other Common Name(s)Straggling St. John’s-wort, Multi-stemmed St. John’s-wort, St. Andrew’s Cross (used for the combined two species)
State RankS5
Global RankG4
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