T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree)

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Spermatophyta
Subphylum: Angiospermae
Class: Dicotyledonae
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Schinus
Species: Schinus terebinthifolius
Common names: Brazilian pepper tree, Broadleaf pepper tree, Christmas berry, Rose pepper, Brazilian holly, Brazilian pepper, Brazilian pepper tree, Florida holly, Japanese pepper, pepperina, schinus, South American pepper.

Schinus terebinthifolius a tree native to South America. It is now classed as a highly invasive species in South Africa, United States, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and some Pacific, Caribbean and some Indian Ocean islands. Because of its allelopathy, high growth rate, a wide environmental tolerance, prolific seed production, a high germination rate it has the ability to form dense thickets displacing native vegetation as well as rapidly invading disturbed and wetland environments. In New Zealand it is listed as a National Pest Plant Accord species – nationwide.

Schinus terebinthifolius is an evergreen dioecious tree or shrub growing up to 10 m tall. It has a short trunk >30 cm diameter which is usually hidden by dense and intertwining branches. 
The tree has three to thirteen finely toothed, leaflets, which lack leaf stalks and they have very pale veins and midribs. The alternate, pinnate, shiny, green leaves are aromatic and smell of turpentine when crushed. The leaf lower surface is a dull light green.
Separate male and female flowers (3 mm long) are borne on different plants. The flowers are inconspicuous and borne in densely branched clusters at the tips of the branches and in the leaf forks.
The fruits are small, green, glossy 'berries' (about 6 mm across) which turn a bright red in colour when ripe. They desiccate into a papery shell surrounding a single seed. The seeds are dispersed by birds and mammals.

The berries are poisonous and people can have skin reactions to leaves and other parts of the tree.

A male Schinus terebinthifolius growing on the Merriland Domain, New Plymouth




The stalkless leaflrets.


Flowers (Late April)


A 3mm male flower.





The poisonous berries


Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/