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Schinus molle
Schinus molle

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Zones 15-17, 19-27
Full Sun
Regular Water
Berries can cause gastric distress if ingested.

Schinus terebinthifolius

Brazilian Pepper Tree
Evergreen, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries


These medium-size evergreen trees are praised by some gardeners, heartily disliked by others. The two species discussed here differ markedly, though both are tolerant of many soils, and leaves of both can cause dermatitis. Female trees bear abundant, small red fruits that attract birds. S. molle is the most widely grown.

Schinus terebinthifolius

Native to Brazil; naturalized in Hawaii. Moderate growth to 30 ft. tall and wide; train to single or multiple trunks. Nonpendulous growth. Has darker green, coarser glossy leaves than S. molle, with 5 to 13 oval leaflets; showy bright red berries in winter. Highly variable; select a tree during fruiting season, looking for the largest, showiest berries and best foliage. Dried berries are sold as pink peppercorns; eaten in quantity, they can cause gastric distress. Wood is subject to breakage, so shorten long, lanky limbs and thin the canopy to let winds pass through. Prone to verticillium wilt. Attractive shade tree for patio or garden. Self-sown seedlings can be a problem. In Hawaii, where female trees are invasive, plant males only. Moderate to regular water (applied deeply).


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