Botanical Name and Pronunciation:
Hypericum androsaemum (hi-PAIR-I-cum an-dro-SAY-mum)
Coffee Been Berry, Coffee Bean, Coffee Berry, St. Johnís Wort
red, brown, black, green, pink
Form and Size:
The leafy stems of hypericum are 24 Ė 36 inches long. At the stem ends, there are clusters of shiny and brightly colored berries.
7 Ė 14 days, sometimes longer
late-summer Ė autumn
Remove foliage from the bottom of the stem, cut under water and place in fresh water with flower food.
History and Usage:
A member of the Guttiferae family, hypericum originated in Europe and Western Asia. Its botanical and popular name, hypericum, comes from the word ďhyperĒ which is Greek for above and ďeikonĒ which is Greek for a picture. This is in reference to the old practice of hanging hypericum branches above a picture to fight off evil spirits. Hypericum could also have been named after Hyperion, the Greek Titan who was the father of Helios, the sun god. This is simply one instance of hypericum being associated with the sun, another being on the eve of a pre-Christian Europe festival, Midsummerís Eve, in which hypericum was burned to honor the sun and maintain the good will of benevolent spirits. One of its common names, St. Johnís Wort, is the name for the roots of certain plants or flowers that are said to contain healing powers. St. Johnís Wort is used today to help people with depression, though in the past it was used to heal bleeding wounds and sore throats. In arrangements, hypericum makes a beautiful filler flower.
Points of Interest:
There are no common relatives associated with hypericum. Hypericum was named St. Johnís Wort in honor of St. John the Baptist. The feast of St. John was near Midsummerís Eve, and was eventually combined with the festival and set on June 24th. The superstition associated with St. Johnís Wort, or hypericum, continued. It was said that if one picked St. Johnís Wort on St. Johnís Eve they could see where witches were holding their midsummer celebrations.