Pineweed (Hypericum gentianoides)

Appears as a Small Pine Tree

By William T. Hathaway

Pineweed, Hypericum gentianoides, has such small flowers as to become easily overlooked. From a short distance away the plant appears to be a young pine sapling.

This member of the St. Johnswort family had me fooled until I finally took a close look. From a moving automobile this specimen appeared as a small pine tree planting that had escaped its intended growing site. The tiny yellow flowers at the end of the branches, and the pairs of scale-like leaves convinced me that this was a Pineweed. (A magnifying glass best shows the floral structure.)

The Pineweed grows about 3 to 10 inches high and seems to prefer barren soils along roadsides, fields and rocky outcrops. In Pittsylvania County the Pineweed is well distributed during mid-summer in rocky, sandy soils. The flowers appear from July through October. As cold weather moves in, this interesting plant turns an orange-yellow color.

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