Tutsan is the larger flowered variety of Hypericum, or St. John’s Wort. It is native to western and southern Europe and from the Mediterranean to Iran. It was a common medicinal plant. Regional gardeners were growing Tutsan shrubs to make tinctures that cured all sorts of ills. Today, it is a spectacular deciduous flowering shrub that makes its best showing in June to August with large attractive berries following into September.
Tutsan Plant Info
If you are looking for an easy-to-grow, showy plant with several seasons of interest, look no further than Tutsan St. John’s Wort. The plant is fast growing and can even be sheared severely, giving it a refreshed look in spring. It is a high groundcover that may get 3 feet (1 m.) tall with a similar spread. Mass plantings of Tutsan flowers evoke woodsy appeal in even the most manicured of landscapes. Tutsan St. John’s Wort is an ancient herb with ornamental appeal. Are Tutsan and St John’s Wort the same? They are both forms of Hypericum, but Tutsan has larger floral displays than the Hypericum peiforatum, the wild form of the plant. Tutsan is classed as Hypericum androsaemum. An interesting bit of Tutsan plant info, states that this Hypericum’s leaves were apparently gathered and burned to ward off evil spirits on the eve of St. John’s Day. It has also been used since ancient times to treat wounds and inflammation. You can find it growing wild in damp woods and hedges, rambling around trees and other taller bushes. Tutsan comes from the French words “tout” (all) and “sain” (healthy), an apparent reference to the plant’s use as a healing compound.
Growing Tutsan Shrubs
Tutsan shrubs produce oval to oblong, 4 inch (10 cm.) long leaves of glossy green often adorned with rusty hues. Tutsan flowers are five petaled, golden yellow, and star shaped with bushy yellow stamens. These give way to small, round red fruits that become black with age. Flowers, seeds, and leaves have a camphor-like odor when crushed or bruised. Tutsan seems to take to any soil type so long as it is well draining and any pH, even alkaline. It prefers shady to semi-shaded locations that mimic its natural positioning at the base of woods but can also thrive in sun. Plant seeds in fall or take hardwood cuttings in summer.
Hypericum are hardy plants suitable for USDA plant hardiness zones 5 to 10. Keep this species moist but not boggy. Rust is a common issue, but it is relatively unbothered by insects and other disease. Cut the plant back hard in fall for better spring displays. In cold regions, apply a few inches (8 cm.) of mulch around cut plants to protect roots from freezes. Other than that, Tutsan care is practically effortless. Enjoy the frilled golden blooms and bright berries as another performance winner and seasonal eye candy.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.
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