Tutsan

Scientific name: Hypericum androsaemum
  • Key characteristics
  • Biology
  • Impacts
  • Control
  • Further information

  • Small, perennial, semi-evergreen shrub growing to 1.5 m high
  • Pale yellow terminal bunches of flowers appear from November to February, followed by clusters of round fruit, red-coloured, turning to black and up to 10 mm diameter. Each fruit is set in a circle of green bracts
  • Oval leaves, up to 10 cm long and without a stalk, are in opposite pairs on each branch. Leaves smell of curry when crushed
  • Found in forest, shrub-land and tussock grass-lands, where there has been a lot of disturbance, and in rocky areas. Also inhabits riparian areas, rocky and open streams, coastal areas, roadsides, banks and lightly farmed land
  • Prefers wetter, cooler areas and tolerates light shade.

Origin

  • Originated from South and Western Europe
  • Recognised as a pasture weed in New Zealand as early as 1955 and has become a significant pest plant in parts of the North Island.

Life Cycle

  • Perennial species with new plants growing from seed
  • Fruit ripen over summer but remain on the plant until eaten or knocked off to disperse large numbers of tiny, dust-like seeds
  • Fruit and seeds are spread by birds and possibly possums, as well as in water
  • Common sources of seed include roadsides, farms, waste land, old gardens and cemeteries
  • Appears to spread along roadsides in the Manawatu due to mowing of road verges.

 

  • Tutsan can form extensive patches over one hectare in size
  • Dense cover of branches and rotting leaves formed by the plants can smother existing low-growing native or desirable plant communities and seriously inhibit their regeneration
  • Can suppress pasture in high country or in areas of low fertility
  • Tutsan may infest lightly shaded native forest lands and therefore prevent forest ¬†regeneration. It can also dominate riparian areas.

  • Control of established infestations is difficult
  • Small infestations can be removed by hand
  • Repeat mowing may weaken the plant.

 

HERBICIDE CONTROL

Application Time of application
metsulfuron Spot spray spring or early summer
triclopyr Spot spray spring or early summer
triclopyr/picloram Spot spray spring or early summer
  • Follow-up control is likely to be required. Tutsan may re-sprout from woody stems after poor spray application and regeneration of plants from seed may also occur.

  • Popay I, Champion P, James T 2010. An illustrated guide to common weeds of New Zealand. New Zealand Plant Protection Society, Christchurch, New Zealand. 416 p.
  • Young S 2013. New Zealand Novachem agrichemical manual. Agrimedia Ltd., Christchurch, New Zealand. 767 p.
  • Weedbusters NZ, 2016, Hypericum androsaemum factsheet (accessed 17 October 2016)