A large and diverse genus, over 400 species, consisting of herbs, subshrubs, shrubs, and small trees, either evergreen or deciduous, the stems have pale or dark glands.  Leaves are opposite or in whorls, usually entire or sometime fringed with glands, short petioles.  Flowers solitary or in terminal or axillary clusters, bisexual, 5-parted calyx and corolla, petals yellow, numerous stamens in 5, rarely 4, equal bundles.  Fruit is usually a 3-5-celled capsule.  Found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere, only a few species are woody shrubs.
Hypericum: the Greek name, apparently from Greek, hyper, above, and eikon, a picture, it was hung above pictures to ward off evil spirits.