Schinus terebinthifolia

Schinus terebinthifolius_Brazilian peppertree_JM DiTomaso
Photo: Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Schinus mucronulata, Schinus antiarthriticus, Schinus terebinthifolius

Common names: Brazilian pepper tree; Christmas-berry tree; Christmasberry; Florida holly

Schinus terebinthifolia (Brazilian peppertree) is an evergreen shrub or tree found along portions of the southern coast of California. Brazilian peppertree prefers riparian areas, canyons, fields and roadsides where some water is available throughout the year. Its pink fruits are sold as peppercorns, but they may be toxic to humans and animals if too many are eaten. In California, Brazilian peppertree is not yet a very large problem, but it has been a very aggressive invader in tropical areas like Hawaii and Florida. In order to control peppertree infestations, tree roots must be removed or killed, and seedlings must be controlled by hand-pulling for at least three years.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate — Alert?

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

Other Schinus terebinthifolia Information

  • Bugwood - National database from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.
  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution map of this species in California with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • GBIF - Global distribution information.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • Additional photos

    Schinus terebinthifolius_leaves and fruit_JoeDiTomaso
    Schinus terebinthifolia (Brazilian pepper tree) leaves and fruit. Photo: Joe DiTomaso
    Schinus terebinthifolius_infestation_RonVanderhoff
    Schinus terebinthifolia (Brazilian pepper tree) infestation. Photo: Ron Vanderhoff