Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Brazilian peppertree )

 


Stephen D. Hight,
USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

 

 

 

Family: Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)

Synonym(s):

Duration: Perennial

Habit: Shrub


Listed by:
Invasive Plant Atlas of the US: 1
Federal Noxious Weed: 0
TDA Noxious Weed: 1
TPWD Prohibited Exotic Species: 1

Description: The Brazilian peppertree can grow to 30 or 40 feet in height with a trunk diameter of 3 feet. Responds to abrupt changes in its environment with heavy growth, acting as an opportunistic pioneer species (the first species to establish in a disturbed area). This broadleaf evergreen small tree or shrub is well-laden with intertwining, drooping branches and foliage. Stems are yellow-green. Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, and dark green, with 3-13 leaflets, each 1-2 inches long. A turpentine or pepper fragrance is given off upon crushing the leaves. Flowers cluster in small groups and consist of 5 small, white petals with yellow centers. Fruit are small red berries, 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter.

History: Sold and distributed in the 1800s in Florida as an ornamental; recognized as a nuisance weed in the 1950s. Sold as an ornamental in Texas. Its importation, sale, and distribution are now prohibited. Seeds can be transported by birds and mammals.Invades disturbed areas such as fallow fields, ditches, drained wetlands, and roadsides. Also invades native pine forests. Has a high tolerance for shade and low tolerance for cold temperatures.

Biology & Spread: Plants can mature 3 years after germination and produce a large amount of seeds. Both male and female flowers bloom September through November; fruits December through February. Will also propagate at the base of the plant via adventitious buds (buds that develop in places other that at the end of a twig) sprouting from roots.

Ecological Threat: The Brazilian peppertree forms dense thickets, shading out native grasses, shrubs, and taking over native pine forests. Considered one of the greatest threats to native biodiversity for its dramatic affect on both plant and animal communities.

US Habitat: Invades disturbed areas such as fallow fields, ditches, drained wetlands, and roadsides. Also invades native pine forests. Has a high tolerance for shade and low tolerance for cold temperatures.

Distribution

US Nativity: Introduced to U.S.

Native Origin: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay (NatureServe Explorer)

US States: CA, FL, HI, PR, TX, VI

Resembles/Alternatives:

Management: For established trees, apply an herbicide containing glyphosate or triclopyr to the cut stump immediately after cutting, or apply triclopyr with a penetrating oil to basal bark 0.75 feet from the ground. Use foliar applications of herbicide for seedlings.

USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.

Listing Source

Texas Department ofAgriculture Noxious Plant List
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Prohibited Exotic Species
Invaders Program
Federal Noxious Weed
Union of Concerned Scientists
United States Forest Service Southern Research Station

Text References

The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area (www.galvbayinvasives.org). Lisa Gonzalez and Jeff DallaRosa. Houston Advanced Research Center, 2006.

Data Source

Last Updated: 2007-11-08 by LBJWFC