St. Andrew's Cross

Scientific Name(s): Hypericum hypericoides
Abundance: common
What: roots, leaves
How: root tea, poultice; leaf tea, poultice
Where: disturbed areas, fields
When: summer, fall
Nutritional Value: medicinal
Dangers: none known

Medicinal Summary:
Soothes damaged/inflamed skin (poultice)

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are arranged oppositely along the stems.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are typically lanceolate or elliptical, with a length ranging from 1 to 2 inches and a width of around 0.5 to 1 inch.

Leaf Venation: The venation is pinnate, with a central vein running along the length of each leaf and smaller veins branching off to the sides.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margins are entire, without serrations or lobes.

Leaf Color: The leaves are generally green, and the color is consistent on both the upper and lower surfaces.

Flower Structure: The flowers are typically solitary or in small clusters at the ends of the stems. Each flower has four petals in an X arrangement.

Flower Color: The flowers are bright yellow.

Fruit: The fruit is a capsule, which develops after the flower has been fertilized.

Seed: The seeds are small and brown, found within the capsules.

Stem: The stems are usually erect , branching, and may have a reddish-brown color. 

Hairs: The plant may have fine hairs on the stems or leaves, contributing to a slightly textured appearance. 

Height: The height of Hypericum hypericoides can range from 1 to 3 feet, depending on the specific variety and growing conditions.

Full plant.
St. Andrew's Cross

St. Andrew's Cross

St. Andrew's Cross – Version 2

St. Andrew's Cross

St. Andrew's Cross (Hypericum hypericoides)

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.
Hypericum hypericoides USDA TX

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Hypericum hypericoides USDA NA

By mid-summer the four-petaled, yellow flowers of St. Andrew's Cross can be found all across the disturbed, partially shaded areas of Texas. This plant is tough but doesn't like full sun, preferring the shade of a wood's edge. It grows from a tiny seedling to over waist-high in just a few months. Its 1" long, dark green leaves alternate along the stems and branches. There's often a short branch growing up off the stem from the base of a leaf. The long stems droop and end up hanging downwards by late summer.

Although St. Andrew's Cross is a close relative of St. John's Wort, it doesn't have the scientifically proven medicinal benefits of its more famous cousin. Traditionally, assorted Native American tribes used the plant medicinally to sooth certain inflammations. Tea from the root has some painkiller properties as well as soothing colicky babies. Its astringent nature was also used to treat diarrhea and issues with the kidneys and bladder. As a poultice, it was used to treat chapped skin. The leaves of St. Andrew's Cross are also astringent and used to make skin soothing poultices and tea with the same urinary tract treatment as the root.

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