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.
Also see this illustration in larger format.
Copyright © 2007–2008 William T. Hathaway.