Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Sharpleaf St. John's-wort + - Hypericum virgatum   Lamarck
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Section 6 » Order Theales » Family Hypericaceae
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AuthorLamarck
DistributionThis taxon is a fairly recent split from the H. denticulatum complex, and thus exact details of the range are not precise. Primarily found in the eastern and central Piedmont, but also found scattered in the remainder of the Piedmont and Mountains. Though there are some collections from the Coastal Plain, these likely refer to the very similar H. denticulatum.

Occurs mainly from southern VA, OH, and southern IL south to western FL and barely to LA. Details of the global range not completely understood.
AbundanceInfrequent to fairly common in the eastern half of the Piedmont, but rare to uncommon in the southern Mountains, and generally rare elsewhere, except absent over essentially all the Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis species occurs in sunny, open, and often hardpan habitats, typically in circumneutral to slightly acidic soils. It occurs in overgrown fields, open wooded glades and barrens, around rock outcrops, woodland borders, and powerline clearings – especially over diabase, diorite, or gabbro rock.
See also Habitat Account for General Dry-Xeric Glades and Barrens
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits shortly thereafter.
IdentificationThis is a mostly unbranched or lightly branched herb, growing to about 1 foot tall. It has opposite, oblong to obovate leaves (typically wider above the middle), growing to about 1-inch long. The very similar H. radfordiorum, found only around granitic domes in the Brushy Mountains, has narrower leaves that are mainly acute (wider toward the base). H. denticulatum (strict sense), which occurs mainly in the Coastal Plain, also has leaves mostly ovate to lanceolate, as well. There are leaf and stem glands that need to be examined in this group, to further corroborate identification. All have golden-yellow or coppery-yellow flowers that are rotate in shape and not symmetrical. Generally speaking, a foot-tall Hypericum with coppery-yellow, rotate flowers and moderately wide leaves in the Piedmont and mountains will be this species.
Taxonomic CommentsMost recent references split this taxon off from H. denticulatum as a good species. Though the scientific name was described many decades ago, for most of the 20th Century this taxon was considered to be a part of two varieties – the mostly Piedmont H. denticulatum var. recognitum and the mostly southern montane H. denticulatum var. acutifolium.

Other Common Name(s)Strict St. John’s-wort
State RankS4 [S3S4]
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