Hypericum androsaemum

Hypericum is most noted for its ornamental fruit, the onset of which follows flowering. The round or elliptical berries occur in short-branched clusters atop thick, smooth, leafy stems that typically range from 24 to 36 inches in length. The berries are collared by small leaflike sepals.

Hues include brown, purplish brown, reddish brown, red-violet, burgundy, pink, red, red-orange, peach, apricot, coral, yellow, green, cream, and white.

Vase life at the consumer level should be around seven to ten days depending on care, environmental conditions, and maturity at time of sale.

Once available only from late summer through fall, Hypericum is now obtainable year-round from both domestic and foreign growers (particularly in Ecuador).

Care and Handling

Unpack Hypericum immediately upon its arrival, and check the quality. If you cannot attend to these flowers promptly, place the shipping box(es) in a floral refrigerator.

Remove any stem bindings and sleeves, as well as any foliage from the lower portions of the stems that would be under water in storage containers.

Recut stems on an angle with a clean, sharp blade, removing at least one inch of stem.

Immediately after cutting, dip or place the stem ends into a hydration solution to help the flowers take up nutrient solution more quickly.

Following the hydration solution treatment, place Hypericum stems into sterilized storage containers partially filled with properly proportioned flower food solution, prepared with cool or cold water.

Immediately after processing, place Hypericum into a floral cooler at 36-40F for at least two hours before arranging or selling them.

Buying Tips

– Select bunches that have firm, glossy, fully colored berries; firm, dark green, and blemish-free foliage; and young (not too woody) stems.
– Check fruit (berries) for blackening or skin collapse, examine foliage for blemishes caused by disease or insects, and avoid bunches with stems that are turning yellow.

Fun Facts

WHAT’S IN A NAME Plants in the Hypericum genus are commonly known as St. John’s wort, but the species most readily grown for the cut flower industry, H. androsaemum, is more specifically called tutsan—a corruption of the French “tout sain”, meaning “all healthy” (see “Over the Counter”). In addition, some in the floral industry have adopted the nickname “coffee bean berry” for these botanicals.

FAMILY MATTERS Some botanists categorize Hypericum in a new family, Hypericaceae (St. John’s wort), while others place it in the Guttiferae/Clusiaceae (mangosteen) family. Hypericum is related to mangosteens (Garcinia), balsam apples (Clusia), mammee apples (Mammea), and Alexandrian laurel (Calophyllum).

HOME SWEET HOME These botanicals are native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East, into western Africa.

VARIETY SHOW Prior to 2001, cut Hypericum could not be imported into the United States because of insect issues. When the USDA ended the import ban, the development of new varieties expanded rapidly. Currently, there are more than 400 cultivars of Hypericum, at least one-third of which are grown for the cut flower industry.

OVER THE COUNTER Some 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates recommended Hypericum/St. John’s wort to treat “nervous unrest”. Even today, because of its complex chemical makeup, which some believe produces sedative and pain-reducing effects, Hypericum is taken internally to treat mild to moderate depression; anxiety; nervous disorders; insomnia and hypersomnia; bedwetting; anorexia; and neuralgia, fibromyalgia, sciatica, and rheumatic pain. In the U.S., it is sold as a dietary supplement, for which health benefit claims cannot be legally made.

Reprinted with permission from Super Floral.