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Stinking Tutsan

Hypericum hircinum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Hypericaceae (St. John's Wort)
Semi-evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Hedgerows, woodland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Yellow elliptical flowers, measuring up to 4cm in diameter. Numerous long yellow stamens.
The fruit is a berry.
The leaves are oval and pointed, in opposite pairs along the greyish-brown woody stems. The leaves are up to 6cm long. The stems are square in cross-section.
The leaves are said to smell of goats when crushed.
Other Names:
St John's Wort, Stinking St John's Wort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Hypericum hircinum, also known as St. John's Wort, is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It is commonly used as a natural remedy for mild to moderate depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. It is also used to treat a variety of other health conditions, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause symptoms, and wound healing. The plant has yellow flowers and is often used as a natural remedy for mild to moderate depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. However, some studies suggest that it may interact with certain medications, such as antidepressants and birth control pills, so it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before taking it.


Stinking Tutsan (Hypericum hircinum) is a species of flowering plant that is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. It is a popular ornamental plant, known for its delicate yellow flowers that bloom in late summer and fall. However, despite its beauty, the plant is also known for its strong, pungent odor, which is why it is commonly called "Stinking Tutsan."

The plant is a shrub that can grow up to three feet tall and wide. Its leaves are evergreen, oval in shape, and have a glossy green appearance. The flowers of the Stinking Tutsan are small, but they are arranged in clusters that create a stunning display. They are yellow in color and have five petals, each with a dark central spot. The flowers are followed by small, red berries in the fall.

In the wild, Stinking Tutsan grows in sunny and moist habitats such as meadows, forests, and along riverbanks. It prefers soils that are rich in organic matter, and can grow well in either acidic or alkaline soils. The plant is not very demanding in terms of maintenance and can be propagated easily from seeds or cuttings.

One of the most distinctive features of Stinking Tutsan is its strong, pungent odor. The odor is produced by glands located on the leaves and stems of the plant. The scent is sometimes described as a combination of garlic and animal musk, and can be quite overpowering to some people. Despite this, the plant has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and astringent properties. The dried leaves of the plant have also been used to repel insects and to deter predators from eating livestock.

In gardens, Stinking Tutsan can be used as a groundcover or as a border plant. It is a low-maintenance plant that is drought-tolerant, and can also grow well in partially shaded areas. The plant is a great addition to wildflower gardens, cottage gardens, and rock gardens. It can also be grown in pots or containers, making it a great option for those who have limited garden space.

Stinking Tutsan (Hypericum hircinum) is a beautiful and versatile plant that is well worth growing, despite its strong odor. Its delicate yellow flowers and glossy green leaves make it an attractive addition to any garden, while its low maintenance requirements and hardiness make it an easy plant to grow. Whether you are an experienced gardener or just starting out, Stinking Tutsan is a great choice for adding color and interest to your garden.

In addition to its ornamental value, Stinking Tutsan has been used for various purposes throughout history. In some cultures, the plant has been used as a cure for various ailments, including wounds, skin irritation, and respiratory problems. The plant's astringent properties make it an effective treatment for wounds and skin irritations, while its anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties make it an effective remedy for respiratory problems.

The plant is also used in some traditional rituals, particularly in the folklore of Europe. In some cultures, the plant is believed to have magical properties, and is used to ward off evil spirits and to bring good luck. The plant is also used in some traditional healing practices, where it is believed to have the ability to heal various ailments, such as colds, flu, and headaches.

Stinking Tutsan is also an important food source for many species of wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals. The plant's red berries provide a valuable source of food for birds and other wildlife in the fall and winter months, when other food sources are scarce. The plant's foliage provides a source of food and shelter for insects, while its dense growth provides cover for small mammals, such as squirrels and rabbits.

Stinking Tutsan (Hypericum hircinum) is not only a beautiful and ornamental plant, but it also has a rich history of use and cultural significance. Whether you are looking for an attractive addition to your garden, a plant with traditional medicinal properties, or a food source for wildlife, Stinking Tutsan is definitely worth considering. With its hardiness, low-maintenance requirements, and versatility, this plant is a great choice for any gardener, whether you are an experienced gardener or just starting out.

Aside from its ornamental and cultural significance, Stinking Tutsan is also an important plant species for ecological reasons. As a species of Hypericum, it is part of a large genus of plants that includes many other important species. These species provide essential habitats and food sources for many species of wildlife, and are important components of many ecosystems.

Stinking Tutsan is also an important plant species for the study of plant ecology and evolution. The genus Hypericum is one of the largest and most diverse genera of flowering plants, and it is an important area of research for scientists studying plant ecology and evolution. Studies of this genus have helped to increase our understanding of the evolution and adaptation of plants to different environments, and have provided important insights into the ecology of many ecosystems.

In addition, Stinking Tutsan is also a valuable plant species for the study of plant-insect interactions. The plant's strong odor is believed to play a role in deterring herbivores, and the plant is known to have a complex chemical defense system that is active against a wide range of herbivores. Studying the interactions between Stinking Tutsan and its herbivores can provide important insights into the mechanisms of plant-insect interactions, and can help to improve our understanding of the role of plants in ecosystems.

Overall, Stinking Tutsan is an important and valuable plant species for many reasons. Whether you are interested in its ornamental value, cultural significance, ecological importance, or scientific value, this plant is definitely worth learning about and appreciating. So if you have the chance to grow Stinking Tutsan in your garden or to see it in the wild, take the time to appreciate this beautiful and fascinating plant species.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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