Hypericum. sp. , St John's wort

The Hypericum genus contains over 450 species. It is extremely fast growing, and spreads through runners, produced by the roots, and those produce numerous stalks, which will grow up to a height of 100 centimeter, depending on the species. (some species grow up to 200 cm !!) There are other species that will grow as fast, but are more ground covering, H. calycinum for example.

The leaves are opposite, simple oval, 1–8 cm long, either deciduous or evergreen. The flowers are bright yellow, quite large and usually star shaped. The Hypericum most used for feeding phasmids is Hypericum "Hidcote", however I also have some plants of H. moserianum, which are readily accepted by nymphs and adults. Its leaves are wider and more round, but still oval and stays more modest in height, like 60 cm maximum.

Hypericum will grow in any soil type, but adding some leaf litter or compost will stimulate growth. I personally add ground coffee to encourage healthy growth, with any type of plant.

Hypericum is commonly used in homeopathy, where it is especially useful for injuries to nerve-rich areas such as fingers, toes, and the spine (especially the coccyx). It relieves the intense pain – either sharp, or shooting upwards It also releaves symptoms of animal bites, like those from mosquitoes. The species used for medicinal purposes is Hypericum perforatum (common name Saint John's Wort)

In mild winters this plant will keep its leaves and nutritional value, however, last winter all my plants were destroyed by a combination of lower temperatures and cold, dry, wind from the east. It is worth protecting your plants by placing them in a greenhouse for a while. The cold did not really affect the plants, but the dry wind was too much and dried out all the remaining leaves. As a result, I had no other choice but to euthanize the phasmid species depending on this plant. When it got warmer, the plants came back with a vengeance and all signs of destruction were nowhere to be seen. Extremely hardy and beautiful plants, good growers and accepted by many phasmid species. It is worth planting some in the garden, or even in pots on a balcony they will do well.

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