Differences Among St Johnswort Varieties
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Gina Mount
Posted on: April 7, 1998

I’m interested in growing Sheep Sorrel and St. John’s Wort comercially and need your help. I notice you sell four different kinds of St. John’s Wort and am wondering what the difference is and which you would recommend. Also, I want to be "certified organic" and don’t know what this process entails. Any advice is certaintly appreciated. I would also like to be in contact with other growers to learn from them and share with them. Thanks for providing a wonderful internet service, I am planning a visit to Richters soon.

The differences between the four varieties have not been adequately characterized yet. We hope to do that this summer (1998). The reason we offer the four varieties is because the crop is so new to cultivation (at least on a large scale) that it was thought to be a good idea to introduce as many cultivars as possible to allow growers to try them out for themselves. There are early indications that St. Johnswort is susceptible to certain diseases which may be affected by local conditions, and in the interests of making as much genetic diversity available -- with some varieties possibly proving better than others in the different regions -- we offer the four varieties even though we cannot provide much information about their differences at this stage.

As for getting certified organic, the requirements depend on the requirements set down by the certifying agency. There are several that are operating in Canada and they have very different approaches.

There is no doubt that organic herbs command a better price right now, so you are wise to consider this option. In the transcripts to the Richters Second Commercial Herb Growing Conference (available shortly) will be a discussion of the differences in prices of organically grown versus conventionally grown herbs.

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