Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
Tutsan (Sweet Amber)
Tutsan is a plant of hedgerow, woodland and prefering dappled Shade. In the Western Isles it grows in the Stornoway Castle Grounds and in Grimersta in Harris.
Tustan starts flowering in the Western Isles in mid-June and finishes in late July.
Tutsan has yellow flowers characteristic of the St John's Wort family (Hypericacae). The flowers do not have nectar and so the bees are not interested in them. However the many stamen do produce abundant pollen which attracts beetles and many insects to pollinate the flowers.
After flowering Tutsan produces red berries that look a little like shiny cranberries. They gradually turn glossy black by Autumn. The berries are inedible but not poisonous.
Tutsan has characteristic flat stems and beautiful large leaves.They begin green in spring and turn purplish in autumn.
Herbal Uses of Tutsan
The name tutsan comes from the French Patois "toute saine" which translates as (approximately) “all healthy.”
The berries of tutsan were turned into a compote and used as a diuretic.
The leaves of tutsan are used as poultices and are also made into healing salves. They have antiseptic properties and have been used to cover open wounds.
The leaves are also diuretic in nature.
Tutsan is not a native plant of the Western Isles.
Other members of the St John's wort family are native here: perforate St John's wort, Beautiful st John's Wort and Bog St John's Wort.
Photography © Frank Stark
Grimersta - Isle of Harris - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
12th June, 2007
Frank's web site of his nature photography