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An evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub 2 to 5 ft high in the wild; stems four, lined or four-angled under the inflorescence. Leaves shortly stalked, lanceolate to narrow-ovate, 11⁄4 to 21⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 1 in. wide (rarely to 3 in. long, 13⁄4 in. wide), tapered at the apex to a blunt point, but sometimes acuminately pointed or obtuse. Inflorescences with mostly one to seven flowers (occasionally up to eleven). Flowers varying in colour from deep golden yellow to pale yellow-cup-shaped, 11⁄2 to 2 in. wide. Sepals broadly spathulate-obovate to almost circular or oblate, always rounded at the apex. Stamens in five bundles, one-quarter to one-third as long as the petals. Styles one-fifth to one-half as long as the ovary.
H. hookeranum was described from a specimen collected in the Nilghiri Hills of southern India, but is also found in the Himalaya from Nepal eastwards, and in Burma and Thailand. The date of first introduction is not certain, but it has probably been in cultivation off and on since early in the 19th century, and had certainly been introduced from Sikkim by 1911. In recent years seeds have been sent from the Himalaya and bordering regions, two of the most recent introductions being by the late Frank Kingdon Ward from the Triangle, Burma, and by Cox and Hutchison from the Assam Himalaya. The hypericum described in previous editions under the name H. hookeranum is H. lobbii, and the date of introduction, given as ‘shortly before 1857’ in some works of reference, is of that species.
Judging from herbarium specimens, H. hookeranum is variable in habit, in size and shape of leaf, in the number of flowers in each inflorescence, and in their size. The finest Himalayan forms have still to be introduced, but might not prove hardy.
Despite its variability, H. hookeranum is a well-marked species, at once recognisable by the short styles and stamens in combination with the sepals smoothly rounded at the apex.
This species has been reintroduced from Nepal under numbers Schilling 2504 and B.L. & M. 253 (the latter a good form of elegant habit with cup-shaped flowers of a fine yellow).