Hypericum androsaemum 'Albury Purple'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 2 Professionals
Common Name: tutsan
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hypericaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Fragrant
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants of this species are noted for their shade tolerance, however too much shade decreases flower production. Prefers rich, loamy, acidic soils. Mulch roots in winter. Top growth is not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where plants may suffer tip dieback or die entirely to the ground in harsh winters. When plants die to the ground in winter, the roots often survive and send up new shoots in spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hypericum androsaemum, commonly called tutsan or sweet-amber, is a small, spreading, deciduous shrub that is native from western Europe, southern Europe and North Africa to Iran. It freely self-seeds in the landscape. It is considered to be somewhat weedy in Europe, but invasively weedy in Australia and New Zealand. It has naturalized along the U.S. Pacific coast, but is not at this time considered to be invasive in that area. It typically grows to 2-3’ tall with erect branches densely clad with ovate to oblong medium green leaves (to 4” long). Star or cup shaped, 5-petaled, golden yellow flowers (3/4” diameter) with center clumps of bushy yellow stamens bloom in cymes of 3-9 in summer. Flowers are followed by spherical red fruits that mature to black. Birds are attracted to the fruits and help spread the seed to other locations.

Genus name comes from the Greek words hyper meaning above and eikon meaning picture in reference to the practice of hanging flowers from this genus above images, pictures or windows.

Specific epithet comes from the Greek words andro (man) and haima (blood) in reference to the reddish (blood-like) plant sap.

Common name of tutsan comes from the French words toute (all) and saine (healthy) in reference to various old medicinal uses for species plants, particularly the roots. Sweet-amber is in reference to the plant's ambergris aroma.

'Albury Purple' typically grows 1.5-3' tall. Its best ornamental features are: (1) oval to oblong, dark plum-purplish green leaves (to 4" long) which emit a mildly resinous scent when bruised, (2) clusters of rose-like, 5-petaled, yellow flowers (3/4" diameter) with bushy center clumps of yellow stamens in summer and (3) red-aging-to-black berries in fall. Stems are distinctively 2-edged. This cultivar is synonymous with and sometimes also sold as 'Tedbury Purple'.


Wilt and root rot can be troublesome, particularly in hot and humid climates of the South. Leaf spot, mildew and rust are less threatening. Susceptible to nematodes which can cause root rot. Watch for thrips and scale.

Garden Uses

Low hedge or edger. Excellent for mass planting. Wood margins, slopes and naturalized areas. Fruit-laden stems are treasured for cut flower arrangements.