Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Western St. John's-wort - Hypericum scouleri
Other Names:  Hypericum formosum

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR
C-value: 7

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Rhizomatous and stoloniferous. Stems erect, 5–60 cm. Leaves broadly elliptic, 5–30 mm long, black-dotted on the margins. Flowers: petals 6–12 mm long with black-dotted margins; sepals ovate with rounded tips and amber veins, 3–4 mm long. Capsule 5–7 mm long with yellow to brown seeds (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

We have subspecies scouleri and nortoniae (M.E. Jones) J. Gillett.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Montana has 3 native and 1 exotic species of Hypericum. All have leaves that are opposite, sessile, entire, and dotted with translucent glands. Hold a leaf up to the sunlight and see the glands.

Western St. John’s-wortHypericum scouleri, native and desirable
* Mature plants are 5-60 cm tall.
* Large flowers with 5-yellow petals outlined by black glands.
* Sepals are ovate with rounded tips and amber veins.
* Rhizomatous and stoloniferous.
* Habitat is moist to wet areas in meadows, along streambanks, and on ledges from the valleys to the alpine zones.

Common St. John’s-wort - Hypericum perforatum, exotic and noxious
* Size: Mature plants are 25-75 cm tall.
* Flowers: 5-yellow petals outlined by black glands and showy yellow stamens.
* Sepal: 5 linear-lanceolate with acute tips.
* Branches: reddish-colored that help make the plant more noticeable in fall.
* Fruit: a 3-valved capsules with many, tiny seeds.
* Roots: taprooted and rhizomatous.

Tinker’s-penny - Hypericum anagalloides, native and desirable
* Mature plants are 2-12 cm tall, grow along the ground, and root at leaf nodes.
* Smaller flowers with 5-yellow petals not outlined by black glands and slightly longer than sepals.
* Habitat of wetlands and wet soil in meadows along streams in montane and subalpine zones.

Larger Canadian St. John’s-wort - Hypericum majus, native and desirable
* Mature plants are 5-25 cm tall, grow decumbant.
* Smaller flowers with 5-yellow petals not outlined by black glands and about as long as sepals.
* Habitat along rivers, ponds, and lakes in valley and montane zones.

Species Range

Range Comments
Alberta, Montana, South to New Mexico; west to Pacific coast.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 72

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Moist to wet, often shallow soil of meadows, streambanks, ledges; valleys to alpine (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus vagans, Bombus auricomus, Bombus fervidus, Bombus rufocinctus, Bombus ternarius, Bombus terricola, Bombus pensylvanicus, Bombus bimaculatus, Bombus griseocollis, and Bombus impatiens (Heinrich 1976, Thorp et al. 1983, Colla and Dumesh 2010, Colla et al. 2011, Williams et al. 2014).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S., L. Richardson, and P. Williams. 2011. Bumble bees of the eastern United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 103 p.
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:39-68.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Western St. John's-wort"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Western St. John's-wort — Hypericum scouleri.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from