Tiny Plant, Tiny Flower

On Monday, after hiking most of the length of the Billy Goat A trail, I arrived at the place where my friend and I had found this plant a few days before.


Hypericum gentianoides


About eleven species (ten native, one alien) of Hypericum (St. Johnswort) can be found in the Maryland Piedmont. In many of the bedrock terraces in the Potomac Gorge I’ve seen good-sized stands of H. prolificum, aka shrubby St. Johnswort, like this:








The flowers of shrubby St. Johnswort are showy, up to an inch across, with numerous stamens.






The flowers or orangegrass, not so much.

Here’s most of a plant:20160815-_DSC0123-2

Orangegrass, also known as pineweed, is an annual that can stand up to a foot and a half tall, but the stems are so slender and the leaves so minute that it’s likely to be overlooked as “just another tuft of grass” when not in flower. Orangegrass is an eastern North American native, endangered in Iowa.

Granted this is not a spectacular flower, but I’m always happy to find something I’ve never seen before.

Flower of the Day: Spotted St. Johnswort

Hypericum punctatum; Clusiaceae (garcinia family)


Unlike yesterday’s FOTD, this Hypericum species is a forb (herb), growing to about 3 feet tall.  It looks quite similar at first glance to the alien common St. Johnswort (H. perforatum), but can be distinguished by looking at the flower petals through a handlens.  Spotted St. Johnswort has little black dots all over the petals, while common St. Johnswort has black dots only along the petal edges.  The flowers are only about half an inch across.