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Schinus terebinthifolius

Pronunciation: Sky-nus ter-ee-binth-ee-foh-lee-us
Family: Anacardiaceae (cashew family)
Common Name: Brazilian pepper, florida holly, christmas berry, pepper tree
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 30'
Width to: 30'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: Throughout the summer and fall, brazilian pepper produces 6 in (15. 2 cm) panicles (clusters) of tiny white flowers, followed by bright red berrylike drupes that persist all winter until eaten by birds and other animals.
Soil Type: Usually grows in moist soils, but established plants can tolerate most droughts.
  • Yes
Propagation: Brazilian pepper reproduces by seeds that are dispersed by birds. It also sprouts from roots, forming tangled thickets. Cut stumps resprout profusely
Native to: Argentina, paraguay and brazil. It has been widely grown as an ornamental but has proven to be extremely invasive. Brazilian pepper has established and become naturalized in most tropical and subtropical parts of the world, including the rest of south america, central america, the west indies, bermuda, florida, california, southern arizona, hawaii, southern europe, northern africa, south africa, southern asia and australia. It does best in moist (even wetland) soils, and often invades coastal habitats. The related pepper tree (s. Molle) is grown as an ornamental in california and the american sw. It also has escaped cultivation and become a weed in some areas.
Notes for Identification:

Source: floridata - it's a real pity this tree is so invasive and disruptive of natural communities. Brazilian pepper is a beautiful evergreen with showy bright red berries that are used for christmas decorations. Honey bees make honey from the flowers. The berries are a very important food source for wintering songbirds. American robins eat tons of berries, and their population has probably increased since this weed was brought to the usa it is, in fact, the birds that have spread brazilian pepper all around.  brazilian pepper should not be cultivated because a) it is illegal to do so in many places; b) it is disruptive of natural communities and species; c) it causes skin rashes and respiratory irritation in many people. Brazilian pepper plants should be cut off near the ground and the stump painted with a systemic herbicide such as roundup® or garlon®.

warning like poison ivy,   brazilian pepper is a member of the anacardiaceae family. Contact with most parts of brazilian pepper can cause an itchy skin rash and sometimes inflammation and swelling of the face and eyes. The flowers and fruits can cause respiratory irritation. Just trimming brazilian pepper, especially when in bloom, can cause these allergic reactions in many people. Ingestion of the berries causes vomiting. Interestingly, birds do not seem to be effected.

a caterpillar host plant for:  fulvous hairstreak

Seed photo: 0
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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