Hypericum majus (Larger Canadian St. Johnswort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Greater St Johnswort
Family:Hypericaceae (St. John's-wort)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; wet meadows, shores, ditches, fens
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:6 to 30 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Clusters of several to many flowers at the ends of mostly erect, branching stems. Individual flowers are ¼ to 1/3 inch across with 5 yellow petals alternating with 5 narrow green sepals, and a cluster of 12 to 20 erect yellow stamens in the center. The sepals taper to a sharply pointed tip and are longer than the petals.

Leaves: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are ¾ to 1½ inches long, up to about 1/3 inch wide, toothless and hairless, with 3 or more distinct major veins, oppositely attached and often pointing upward. Leaves have a blunt or pointed tip, usually a rounded base, and no leaf stalk, somewhat clasping the stem; the basal edges of the leaf pairs just barely touch around the stem. Stems are ridged.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a maroon to purplish conical capsule about ¼ inch long with the remains of the pistil at the top. The fruit is longer than the sepals, which fold up around it.

[photo of seed] Inside the capsule are minute, yellowish cylindrical seeds that resemble an ear of corn.


A similar species is Northern St. Johnswort (Hypericum boreale), which has proportionately broader, more oval leaves, less densely flowered clusters, leafy bracts on the flower clusters, and sepals that are more oblong with blunt tips. H. majus has no leafy bracts, narrower leaves, and sepals tapering to a sharp point at the tip. Another similar species is Lesser Canadian St. Johnswort (Hypericum canadense), generally a smaller plant with only 1 distinct vein on the leaves, but it's debatable whether that species exists in Minnesota. Various sources say it is native to MN but there are no records of it in the Bell Herbarium, and the DNR does not recognize it as existing in the state either. It may be that historical records of it were in fact H. majus. All Hypericum species have switched from the Clusiaceae family to Hypericaceae.

Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓

Map of native plant resources in the upper midwest

  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Spangle Creek Labs - Native orchids, lab propagated
  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Landscape Alternatives

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Shoreview, and in Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Donna Crider - Carlton County
on: 2020-08-01 17:36:50

Along the Kettle River

Posted by: Sharon - Anoka County
on: 2020-09-19 12:37:38

I found this at Blaine Preserve SNA and it took a while to identify it since it was not in bloom, but had the maroon fruits that almost looked like flower buds.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.