Peruvian Peppertree (Anacardiaceæ)


The Schinus Molle, also known as the Peruvian Peppertree, Californian Pepper, false pepper, Pepperina, pirul, pepper tree, is a shrubby tree that is a native to South and Central America, and especially, the Peruvian Andes region.

As luck would have it, the tree does very well in the Mediterranean climate as well. You can find some fine specimens in Llucmajor, for instance, where I took this photo a few weeks ago.

In December and January, the tree carries an abundance of small red, or rather pink, berries.


Not only do these berries look nice, they also can be used as a condiment. They are sold as pink peppercorns, in some places. We use them quite a lot in our own cooking.

There are also, luckily for us, a myriad of medicinal properties that the tree offers, including its bark, fruit, leaves, resin and seeds, such as astringent, tonic, anti-viral, antibacterial, antiseptic, laxative and diuretic.

~ by plantarium on January 18, 2008.

5 Responses to “Peruvian Peppertree (Anacardiaceæ)”

  1. Are the berries bad for any surrounding plants?

  2. I first saw these trees in april of this year in the city of Mendoza, Argentina. It is the Napa valley of Argentina with a myriad of wineries in the area. This pepper tree was in great abundance …great color and a lovely weeping willow shape to it. After returning to the bay area I played golf in the Livermore area amongst the vineyards and lo and behold I find the same tree growing here. Similar climates …makes sense. I gathered a bagful to use in the kitchen. I always prefer to find food in the wild. I assume that all I have to do is to spread them out on a screen to dry for a month or so? Thanks for the info.

  3. Can these trees grow anywhere? Are there types of areas where it is not advisable to grow this tree?

  4. why does it loosing its leaves all the time?????? the tree is still healthy

  5. I love these Medicinal California / Peruvian pepper trees! Thanks

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