This is a flower of the Hypericum bush, also known as St Johns Wort. It flowers around the summer solstice on 24 June, which is St. John’s day.
I wonder what the bush is called in the Southern Hemisphere?
The name hypericum comes from the Greek word ‘hyper,’ meaning ‘above’ and ‘eikon,’ meaning ‘picture, from the tradition of hanging flowers and branches over religious icons on St. John’s Day.
But the fact that gets me the most is that the earliest examples in the plant fossil history date to the early Miocene, which is 23 million years ago.
So here I am, walking along and I spot a pretty flower and photograph it. And its relative was around 23 million years ago.
I know there are more extreme examples – for example the Ginko Biloba trees in the park a few hundred yards from that spot.
Ginko Biloba appeared about 290 million years ago.
But they are trees and they look old, with their fan-shaped leaves that mark them out as ‘different’.
But the Hypericum are these pretty yellow flowers, and I pass them without a thought to the staggering age that they have been around.