Hypericum is another family of wildflowers with lots of species. Over 25 can be identified in Tennessee and many of these can be found in the Smoky Mountains, giving plenty of opportunities for misidentification. Therefore, the two species in the photos here are my best effort to identify!
St. Johns Wort is famous as an herbal treatment for mild depression. Some studies have shown the plant extract to have similar results to standard antidepressants, with half the side-effects.
Mountain St. Johns Wort (Hypericum gravolens), in the photo above and at the bottom of the page, blooms July-September in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The plant enjoys moist seeps and grassy areas. You might see it along the Cades Cove Loop Road. The images on this page were taken along Porters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier section of the Smokies.
Spotted St. Johns Wort (Hypericum punctatum) in the photo below is a smaller variety, with distinctive black dots on the leaves, stem and the underside of the blossom. These are different from the translucent dots found on other species in the Hypericum family. The leaves are also more blunt or rounded at the ends.
If you are in the area on vacation, please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN. There may be a special Smokies photo memory for you to take home.
And if you are a wildflower enthusiast, please join our Smoky Mountains Wildflowers Community on Facebook. We exchange photo identifications, bloom locations, and info on these delicate and beautiful plants.