Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Pineland St. John's-wort - Hypericum suffruticosum   W.P. Adams & Robson
Members of Hypericaceae:
Members of Hypericum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Theales » Family Hypericaceae
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AuthorW.P. Adams & Robson
DistributionFormerly found only in the southern Coastal Plain, in Bladen, Sampson, and Jones counties. However, there are no records since 1957.

This is a Coastal Plain species ranging north to southern NC (formerly), south to central FL and west to eastern LA.
AbundanceInto the 1950s, it was very rare, but it is now extirpated. Of course, it could always be re-discovered, as it currently is known from south-central SC. It is a State Special Concern species.
HabitatIn NC, it formerly occurred in mesic pinelands, probably mostly in Mesic Pine Flatwoods. One site was reported as “savanna”, but the species is normally found in somewhat sandy pinelands.
See also Habitat Account for Loammy, Fire-maintained Herb and Shrublands
PhenologyBlooms very early for a Hypericum, from April into June; fruits shortly thereafter.
IdentificationThis is a tiny, deciduous and generally decumbent “shrub”, widely branching but with the short erect stems only reaching 4-5 inches high. The many opposite and elliptical to ovate leaves are crowded on the stem but are only 1/8-1/4-inch long and slightly narrower. In general, the leaves angle upward toward the tip of the stem. The yellow flowers have 4 petals and are mostly in a + shape as opposed to an X (as in H. hypericoides and H. stragulum); they are large for the size of the plants, and are about 1/2-inch across – wider than the leaves are long. It seems certain that no one alive has ever seen this species in the state, and thus the best habitats to target for searching are unknown in NC. As such a tiny, prostrate “shrub” could be easily overlooked if not in bloom, it appears that surveys of pinelands needs to be done from April into June, to catch some flowers in bloom.
Taxonomic CommentsMany decades ago this was one of the several 4-petaled Hypericum species assigned to the genus Ascyrum, in this case as Ascyrum pumilum.

Other Common Name(s)Dwarf St. Peter’s-wort
State RankSH
Global RankG4G5
State StatusSC-H
US Status
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B.A. SorriePhoto taken 1994, Jasper County, SC Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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