Spotted St. John’s-wort
is blooming in fields and woodland clearings all over Harpswell right now. According to botanists at the British Columbia Forest Service, this plant was brought to North America by the Europeans who have used it since ancient times as a remedy for anxiety and other nervous disorders. It was also applied to wounds if nerves were exposed.
Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon write that St. John’s-wort was named for St. John the Baptist. The Latin term “Hypericum” means “above pictures,” referring to the practice of placing a picture over shrines to repel evil spirits. According to folklore, if you gather this plant on the eve of St. John’s birthday, June 24th, and hang it in the windows, it will protect the house from thunder and evil spirits.
(Submitted by Lynn Knight, July 21, 2019)