Weed of the Week: Broad-leaf Pepper Tree

Name: Broad-leaf pepper tree

Scientific name: Schinus terebinthifolius

How to identify the weed: Commonly found in backyards in the Redlands this is a large spreading tree, 3-10 metres in height, often with multiple trunks.  The shiny, hairless  leaves are arranged alternately along the stems, with 5-9 stalkless leaflets on each leaf. Toothing is often observed on the leaftlet margins in younger trees. The leaves have a distinctive pepper aroma when crushed. Flowers are inconspicuous and borne in clusters towards the end of the branch.  Small glossy berries turn bright red as they ripen.

Why is the weed a problem: A native of tropical South America, this plant grows quickly and forms dense stands that out compete native vegetation. It contains toxic resins that can impact on the health of people and animals that come into contact with any parts of the tree. It also harbours a disease known to kill mangroves.

How to manage the weed: Chemical treatment is the most effective way to eradicate this weed. Dispose of all seed and be prepared to treat regrowth for up to 18 months following initial treatment. For more information, please contact IndigiScapes on 3824 8611.

Any other interesting facts: This plant has been listed on the Global Invasive Species Database as one of the top 100 worst invasive weeds in the world!

Schinus terebinthifolia flowers Schinus terebinthifolia red fruits