Quick Facts

Quick facts

  • Tall Tutsan (Hypericum x inodorum) is native to France, Spain, Corsica and Italy.
  • It is a dense shrub to 2 m high with yellow flowers and red fruits.
  • It has naturalised from gardens in a number of countries including Britain, France and New Zealand.
  • It was introduced to Australia as a garden plant but has not yet naturalised in this country.
  • A variety of methods can be used to control Tall Tutsan including hand-pulling or digging, ploughing (in agricultural situations) and herbicide application.

What Does It Look Like?

What is it?

Tall Tutsan (Hypericum x inodorum) is a dense, hairless shrub growing to 2 m high. The leaves are stalkless (or almost stalkless), green on the upper surface and paler below, 2–11 cm long, 1–6 cm wide, and arranged on the stems in opposite pairs. They are more or less oval in shape, broad towards the base and narrowly tapered towards the tip.

The flowers are borne in clusters of up to 12 at the ends of branches. Individual flowers are about 1.5–3 cm wide with five yellow petals and numerous stamens (organs with a stalk or filament and containing pollen) united at their bases into five bundles opposite the petals.

The fruit is up to 13 mm long, more or less oval in outline with a domed or pointed top, succulent and bright red at first but becoming dark brown and sometimes separating into three sections at the apex. The seeds are reddish brown, more or less cylindrical, about 1.2–1.5 mm long and about 0.4 mm wide (Tutin et al. 1968; Robson 1985; Stace 1997; Webb et al. 1988; Reid 2008 pers. obs.).

For further information and assistance with identification of Tall Tutsan, contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Flower colour


Growth form (weed type/habit)


Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat

Tall Tutsan is believed to be a hybrid that occurs in nature and in cultivation with its two likely parent species, Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) and Stinking Tutsan (Hypericum hircinum) (Tutin et al. 1968; Robson 1985; Walsh 1996; Stace 1997). Based on the documented habitat preferences for Tutsan and Stinking Tutsan (Guinochet & deVilmoria 1982), Tall Tutsan probably occurs in France in moist shaded places and on the edges of streams (Reid 2008 pers. obs.). These are generally similar to habitats invaded in south-eastern Australia by Tutsan (Walsh 1996). In New Zealand, where Tall Tutsan has been recorded as naturalised, the habitat is described as waste places (Webb et al. 1988).

Are there similar species?

Tall Tutsan is most likely to be confused with other Hypericum spp. The shape of its fruits should readily distinguish it from Tutsan (Reid 2008 pers. obs.). Tall Tutsan fruits are more or less oval in outline with domed or pointed tops whereas Tutsan has more or less spherical fruits with flattish or slightly depressed tops (Webb et al. 1988).

Where doubt or confusion exists over the correct identification of a specimen, contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Why Is It A Weed?

What are its impacts?

Native ecosystems: Because Tall Tutsan has naturalised outside its native range overseas, it is assumed to have had some environmental impacts in those places, e.g. on native plant species. However, it is not naturalised anywhere in Australia and there is no evidence of impacts here. If it does eventually naturalise in Australia, it is expected to occur in moist shaded sites leading to speculation that its impacts may be similar to, but not necessarily as severe as, those of its parent species (Reid 2008 pers. obs.). In south-eastern Australia, the 'parent' plant Tutsan invades cool, moist forests and streamsides, and forms dense closed stands that smother and out-compete native ground flora and smaller shrubs and prevent the regeneration of native vegetation (Walsh 1996; Muyt 2001).

How does it spread?

The literature is unclear regarding the distance of dispersal of Tall Tutsan away from its two parents (Reid 2008 pers. obs.). In south-west Europe e.g. in France, it occurs where the parent species grow together (Tutin et al. 1968; Walsh 1996). In New Zealand, there are a few records of it escaping from cultivation, but the means and extent of dispersal are not noted (Webb et al. 1988). Tall Tutsan is described as partially fertile (Robson 1985). The fruit is described as more or less fleshy (Robson 1985) and succulent at first (Tutin et al. 1968) making dispersal by birds and foxes (as recorded for Tutsan) possible. Other means of seed dispersal recorded for Tutsan, namely by water or as a contaminant of soil, vehicles, machinery and agricultural produce are also possible (Webb et al. 1988; Parsons & Cuthbertson 1992; Muyt 2001).

What is its history in Australia?

Tall Tutsan was presumably introduced to Australia as a garden plant in the late 1800s or early 1900s (Reid 2008 pers. obs.). In Britain, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Madeira, New Zealand, Mexico and Chile it has naturalised from gardens (Tutin et al. 1968; Robson 1985; Webb et al. 1988) and is an important part of the cut flower industry in the Netherlands (Flower Council of Holland 2001). It is not listed in nursery catalogues in Victoria between 1855 and 1889 (Brookes & Barley 1992) which suggests that introduction to Victoria is probably after this time. There is a 1959 record from a garden in Brighton, Victoria (National Herbarium of Victoria 2008b).

How To Manage It?

Best practice management

Non-chemical control: Manual control: The best time to treat Tall Tutsan with the various suitable control methods is in spring before fruits develop. Plants can be hand-pulled or dug out ensuring that the roots are removed to prevent regrowth. Any pulled, dug or cut plant material with semi-ripe or ripe fruit should be disposed of carefully. Large patches in agricultural areas are best ploughed in autumn and cultivated whenever new growth appears (Parsons and Cuthbertson 1992; Muyt 2001, both references relate to Tutsan).

Chemical control: In situations where physical control is difficult or where minimal soil disturbance is desired, plants can be treated using the Cut-Paint method. This involves cutting plants back to near ground level and painting the cut stems with a suitable herbicide. Tutsan (one of the 'parent' species) can be sprayed with selective or non-selective herbicides with selective herbicides likely to provide better results (Muyt 2001, reference relates to Tutsan). It is assumed that this advice is also applicable to its offspring, Tall Tutsan.

Please see the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for chemical information http://www.apvma.gov.au 

Does it have a biological control agent?


When does it grow? (lifecycle/growth calendar)

The above-ground parts of Tall Tutsan dry off in the coldest part of the year and regrow in spring. Flowers are produced between November and February in New Zealand which is similar to when Tutsan, one of its parents, flowers in south-eastern Australia. Presumably, like Tutsan, most of its fruits ripen from late summer to autumn. The leaves turn yellow in summer (Webb et al. 1988; Reid 2008 pers. obs.; Gardening EU undated).

Where Is It Found?

Which states and territories is it found?

Not naturalised in any Australian state or territory.

What areas within states and territories is it found?

Tall Tutsan is not naturalised in Australia (Australian National Herbarium 2008; AVH 2008; Chapple 2008 pers. comm.; Stajsic 2008 pers. comm; Tasmanian Herbarium 2008; Walsh 2008 pers. comm.). The naturalised status of this plant in Victoria was based on a 1954 collection from Warracknabeal in the Wimmera region and a record (without a specimen) from Kyneton in the Midlands (Willis 1972; Walsh 1996). Recent assessment of these records has concluded that naturalised status for Tall Tutsan in Victoria is currently not justified as there have been no subsequent records in over 50 years and the only record was not substantiated with a herbarium specimen so the Ninth Edition of A Census of the Vascular Plants of Victoria (in preparation) will treat it as an extinct alien (Reid 2008 pers. comm., Stajsic 2008 pers. comm.; Walsh 2008 pers. comm.).

Where does it originate?

Tall Tutsan is believed to be a hybrid between Tutsan and Stinking Tutsan, produced where the two parent species occur together in parts of France, Spain, Corsica and Italy (Tutin et al. 1968; Robson 1985; Stace 1997).

National And State Weed Listings

Is it a Weed of National Significance (WONS)?


Where is it a declared weed?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the Agricultural Sleeper List?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Names And Taxonomy

Main scientific name

Hypericum x inodorum

Other scientific names (synonyms)?

Hypericum elatum Aiton

Does it have other known common name(s)?

Tall St. John's Wort, Flair, Tutsan

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