Hypericum androsaemum

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Hypericum androsaemum
Dziurawiec barwierski Hypericum androsaemum 01.jpg
Hypericum androsaemum, tutsan
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Hypericaceae
Genus: Hypericum
Species: H. androsaemum
Binomial name
Hypericum androsaemum
L.

Hypericum androsaemum, commonly known as tutsan, is a plant in the genus Hypericum native to open woods and hillsides in Eurasia. It is a perennial shrub reaching up to 1.5 m in height.

Common name[edit]

The common name tutsan appears to be a corruption of toute saine literally meaning all-healthy. This is probably in reference to its healing properties. The leaves were applied to wounds, and as a stomachic. Nicholas Culpeper, in his 1653 publication Culpeper's Complete Herbal, says "Tutsan purgeth choleric humours ... both to cure sciatica and gout, and to heal burnings by fire." The berries which turn from white/green, to red, to black are poisonous.[1]

Chemical composition[edit]

Xanthonoids biosynthesis in cell cultures of Hypericum androsaemum involves the presence of a benzophenone synthase condensing a molecule of benzoyl-CoA with three malonyl-CoA yielding to 2,4,6-trihydroxybenzophenone. This intermediate is subsequently converted by a benzophenone 3′-hydroxylase, a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, leading to the formation of 2,3′,4,6-tetrahydroxybenzophenone.[2]

Invasive plant[edit]

In 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 will begin investigating the feasibility of a biological control.

It is also a declared species in Western Australia[3] and Victoria,[4] where it occurs in the wettest regions such as the Otway Ranges and the karri forests. 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 both native and introduced herbivores.

References[edit]