T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Hypericum androsaemum (Tutsan)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Hypericum
Family: Hypericaceae
Species: H. androsaemum
Binomial name: Hypericum androsaemum
Common names: Tutsan, Sweet amber.


This plant is poisonous
Visit http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/plants-toxic-if-eaten-by-man.html

Hypericum androsaemum (Tutsan) is a native to open woods and hillsides in Eurasia. It is a semi woody, semi evergreen, perennial shrub that grows up to 1.5m tall. All parts of the shrub are hairless. The leaves are stalkless, broad and oval up to 10cm long and 5cm wide. Stems are semi-woody, winged and often reddish. Flowers occur between November and February, are yellow, up to 25mm in diameter with 5 petals and long stamens. They occur in clusters of 2-8 flowers. Berries are fleshy, approx 1cm in diameter and change from red to black as they ripen.

Tutsan is often seen in bush remnants and plantations throughout NZ. Although not as poisonous as some other Hypericum species, such as the well-known St. John's Wort (H. perforatum), the black berries should not be eaten as they are poisonous.

New Zealand tutsan was recognised as a pasture weed as early as 1955. Biological control methods were investigated about 60 years ago. In 2008 Landcare Research began investigating the feasibility of a biological control. see http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/newsletters/weeds/wtsnew49.pdf
It does not usually invade improved pastures, but is common in run-down pastures and in native forests. When established, tutsan can be dangerous because it is very difficult to remove and is very unpalatable to introduced herbivores.

Photographed late February with leaves turning red.






Ripe berries.


Leaves turning red.late February.