Aaron’s Beard

21 Mar

Aaron’s Beard (Hypericum calycinum), evergreen shrub, reaching 12-15 in. high, spreads by underground stems, yellow 3.5 in. flowers bloom late spring through summer, full sun to light shade, best with some summer water, tolerates light foot traffic.

All bear single flowers with prominent sunburst of stamens in center. Shal­lowly cup-shaped, five-petaled blooms range in color from creamy yellow to gold; flowers may be solitary or in clusters. Neat, fresh green foliage. Various species used for mass plantings, ground covers, informal hedges, borders. Grow especially well in mild, moist regions.

A difficult-to-control rust is extensively infecting plantings (especially those of the species H. calycinum) in the Pacific North­west. Remove and destroy blighted leaves and any leaf litter; avoid overhead watering of plants in the evening.

Hypericum androsaemum is a shade-tolerant native shrub from Europe, western Asia. To 3 ft. tall and wide, with stems arching toward the top. Leaves are medium green above, paler beneath, to 4 in. long and 2 in. wide. Clusters of 3/4-in., golden yellow flowers in summer. Blossoms are followed by inedible berrylike fruits that turn from red to purple to black as they age.Useful as tall ground cover at edge of woods, on shaded slopes, in a wild garden.

Hypericum calycinum is an evergreen to semievergreen shrub from Bulgaria, Turkey. Grows to 1 ft. high and spreads by vigorous underground stems. Short-stalked leaves to 4 in. long are medium green in sun, yellow green in shade. Bright yellow blossoms about 3 in. across throughout summer. Plant tops may be killed in cold winters, but will come back in spring.

This tough, dense ground cover competes successfully with tree roots and tolerates poor soil. Fast growing; will control erosion on hillsides. May invade other plantings unless confined.

Plant from flats or as rooted stems; set 1 1/2 ft. apart. Clip or mow yearly during dormant season.

Hypericum coris is from Europe. Grows 6–12 in. tall and about 1 ft.wide, with narrow, medium green, 1/2–1-in.-long leaves in whorls of four to six. Bears loose clusters of yellow, 3/4-in.-wide flowers in spring or early summer. Good choice as ground cover or rock garden plant.

Hypericum frondosum is native to the southeastern United States. This shrub is everygreen in mild climates, deciduous where winters are cold. It grows 1–3 ft. tall, with mounding form. Blue-green leaves set off clusters of 1 1/2-in., bright yellow flowers that bloom from midsummer to early fall.


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