Brazilian Pepper Tree
Brazilian Pepper Tree, Florida Pepper Tree – Schinus terebinthifolius
Category 1 Invasive plant
Family – Anacardiaceae
Description – Perennial shrub or small tree up to 40 feet in height, forms dense thickets of tangled branches and stems. Originally introduced to Florida as an ornamental plant in the 1800’s, the Brazilian Pepper has become a major pest. Flowering in the fall (Sept.-Nov.) the fruit is a small red berry that is eaten and dispersed by birds.
An aggressive invader of many habitats, the Brazilian pepper tree is estimated to occupy over 700,000 acres in central and southern Florida. Leaves have a “peppery” smell when crushed. Sap is a irritant similar to that of Poison Ivy to which it is related. Smoke from burning wood is also toxic.