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 Schinus subsp. var.  
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Lifespan: perennial
Features: evergreen
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Anacardiaceae > Schinus var. ,

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Schinus is a genus of flowering trees and tall shrubs in the sumac family, Anacardiaceae. Members of the genus are commonly known as pepper trees. The Peruvian Pepper Tree (Schinus molle)[1] and Brazilian Pepper Tree or Christmasberry (Schinus terebinthifolius) are the source of the spice known as pink peppercorns[2] but can become serious invasive species outside their natural habitats. Schinus polygama, although less well known, is also potentially weedy in some areas.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Schinus (Greek name for the mastic-tree, Pistacia Lentiscus; applied to this genus on account of the resinous mastic-like juice of some species). Anacardiaceae. Resinous dioecous trees, one much planted in California.

Leaves alternate, pinnate; lfts. sessile, axillary: panicles terminal, bracteate: fls. small, whitish, with short, 5-lobed calyx, 5 imbricated petals, broad annular disk, and 10 stamens: fr. a globose drupe.—About 17 species, all S. American except one in the Hawaiian Isls., one in Jamaica, and one in St. Helena. Only two are cult.; they are semi-tropical and grown in the warm-house at the E. and in N. Eu., in the open at the S. and in Calif., as far north as the San Francisco Bay region. Molle, the old generic name, is from Mulli, the Peruvian name of S. Molle, and not, as sometimes supposed, Latin molle, soft, which would not be applicable in this case.

Schinus Molle is everywhere present in southern California, where it attains a height of 50 feet and sows itself. It was a great thing for this region in years past before the water systems had reached their present efficiency. Now the pepper-tree is under a ban, and justly so. Next to oleander the pepper-tree is most subject to black scale. Hence the pepper-trees, being large and numerous, have been indirectly a serious menace to the orchards of citrus fruits. Thousands of old trees, 2 to 3 feet in diameter, have been cut because of their proximity to orange orchards. Los Angeles boasts some magnificent avenues of them. S. terebinthifolius is but little known in this region, the tallest tree being only 15 feet as yet, but it is likely to be extensively planted in the near future. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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  1. World spice plants ISBN 9783540222798
  2. The Herbalist in the Kitchen ISBN 9780252031625

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