On this page:
Download this factsheet
Why it is a pest plant
Tutsan has the capacity to form extensive patches exceeding one hectare in size. Tutsans’ dense cover of branches and its rotting leaves can smother existing low growing plant communities and seriously inhibit regeneration (a semi-matting effect). Tutsan may hold back successional forest communities and infest forest communities under light shade. Plant species of rocklands and steep banks, for example kowhai, may be heavily impacted by tutsan. Tutsan can be spread by birds and possibly possums as well as soil and water movement. Common seed sources include roadsides, farms, waste land, old gardens, and cemeteries. In the Waikato region it appears to be spread via the roadsides due to mowing.
Occasionally tutsan resprouts from roots after poor spray kill. It is difficult to kill so herbicide timing is important.
Replant bared sites densely with desirable plants to minimise tutsan seedling regrowth.
Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
Japanese honeysuckle foliage appears similar to tutsan, but it grows as a vine. Its crushed leaves do not have a ‘curry’
Tutsan is a small perennial, semi-evergreen shrub which grows to 1.5 metres high.
Tutsan has pale yellow terminal flower bunches which appear from November to February.
Round fruit are up to 10 mm long and are red-coloured turning to black.
Leaves are oval, up to 100 mm and without a stalk.
Tutsan is found in disturbed forest and shrubland, low-growing habitats, tussockland, bare land and rocklands. It also likes rocky and open streams, coastal areas, roadsides, banks and lightly farmed land. It prefers wetter, cooler areas and tolerates light shade.
Responsibility for control
In all parts of the Waikato region land owners/occupiers are must destroy all tutsan located 20 metres or less from the boundary on their property. Tutsan is banned from sale, propagation, distribution and commercial display.
How to control tutsan
Small infestations can be removed by hand. Dig out small spots of tutsan and take care to ensure that all rhizomes are removed. Do follow up control every few months to remove any remaining rhizomes and prevent reinfestation.
Bury or compost the debris.
’Weed wipe’ or spray with glyphosate (such as roundup) or Metsulfuron (such as escort) plus a penetrant (such as Pulse).
Rhizome injection: smaller infestations may be controlled by ‘injecting’ herbicide into the rhizome.
Management – following work
After initial control, it’s important to:
- revisit the site at least annually to control re-growth
- stop weeds invading by replanting with desirable plants (such as natives) once re-growth is no longer a problem.
Follow-up control work is likely to be required.
- tutsan is difficult to kill – herbicide timing is very important
- if applying over water, a resource consent may be required. Please check with Waikato Regional Council before proceeding.
When using herbicides:
- read the instructions on the manufacturer’s label closely
- always wear protective clothing
- always minimise the risk to desirable plants
- contact the supplier for further advice.
All land occupiers in the Waikato region are required to destroy tutsan located 20 metres or less from the boundary of land occupied.
For further advice contact your nearest biosecurity pest plant contractor on 0800 BIOSECURITY (0800 246 732).
For more information on pest plants check out the Weedbusters website.
- View our Waikato Regional Pest Management Strategy.
- 'What makes a pest a pest? - A guide to Waikato's pest management future' download, order or pick up for free from our offices.
- 'Plant me instead - Plants to use in place of common pest plants'. Pick up or order for free from our offices.
- The 'National Pest Plant Accord Manual'. Pick up or order for $10 from our offices, or view it online for free.
- 'Poisonous plants and fungi in New Zealand - A guide for parents, schools and child minders'. Pick up or order for $15 from our offices.
Although this content has been prepared in good faith from a number of sources believed to be reliable, Waikato Regional Council does not give any warranty that all information contained is accurate or complete, or that advice given will be appropriate in all circumstances.