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Hypericum androsaemum L.


Modern name

Hypericum androsaemum L.


Androsaemum officinale All.

A half-woody shrub of vigorous bushy habit 2 to 3 ft high, with angled or slightly winged stems branching towards the top, and bearing flowers on each branchlet. Leaves slightly aromatic, the largest among hardy hypericums, and sometimes 312 to 4 in. long, 2 to 214 in. wide ovate, blunt at the apex, cordate at the base, and stalkless. Flowers three to nine together in cymose clusters at the end of the main-stalk and lateral branches; each flower about 34 in. across, light yellow; stamens in five bundles, united only at the base; styles three; sepals nearly as long as the petals. Fruit a three-celled, berry-like capsule, nearly globose, and about the size of a pea, turning first purple, finally almost black, filled when ripe with a wine-coloured juice.

Native of W. Europe, N. Africa, N.W. Yugoslavia, and of the forest region south and east of the Black Sea and south of the Caspian. It is widely distributed but local in Britain in the wild, but naturalised in many gardens in shrub borders, shady dry-walls, etc. Although of no great beauty in regard to flower, this species is handsome in its healthy, robust appearance, fine big leaves, and dark fruits. The name ‘Tutsan’ is a corruption of toute-saine (heal-all), and refers to the many curative properties the plant was once supposed to possess. It is one of the best things for furnishing rather shaded places, and flowers from June until September.



Other species in the genus