This is not another post about blackberries, although I am very fond of eating them, and they do look good and juicy this year.
It is about the berries on the St John’s Wort. This is one of a large number of species of Hypericum. It was also known as the “fairy herb”. The Greeks used it to ward off evil spirits, whereas Christians purified their homes by hanging up the plant on 24th June, St John’s Day. Witches were thought to ride about on the Eve of St John the Baptist Day. The oils in this plant, when burnt on a bonfire, release a scented smoke not unlike incense. Leaping through this smoke was thought to protect the individual from witches.
The yellow flowers give way to yellow berries. The plant is sometimes referred to as Tutsan, thought to have originally come from the old French toute saine. This basically means cure-all, as herbalists used the plant to treat all manner of complaints. Recently it has been found to be efficacious in the treatment of mild depression, although it does reduce the effectiveness of other medication and the contraceptive pill.
As these ripen they turn reddish.
Eventually they become black, which is how things stand at the present.