Brazilian Pepper Tree (All You Should Know)
Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolia), also known as capoeira, rose pepper, is a flowering plant belonging to the cashew (Anacardiaceae) family and is native to Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.
Because of its beauty, it can be used in Christmas decorations not only because of its flowers but also because of its green foliage, but it also has significant ecological threats in regions since it is an invasive species.
You can keep reading this article to learn more about this invasive evergreen tree.
This article will explore the Brazilian pepper tree uses, its potential as a biological threat, and the methods you can use to control its spread.
Physical description of Brazilian pepper tree
- Brazilian pepper is a small-sized tree or sprawling shrub growing up to 7-10 meters and sometimes up to 15 meters in rare species.
- The bark of the Brazilian pepper tree is smooth and grayish, thick and dense to protect the short trunk.
- The leaves of This tree, 1-2 inches in length, are arranged in alternate pinnates and have some red tint. The upper side leaves are darker, while the leaves underneath are lighter.
- This tree produces whitish flowers 2-3 inches tall. Detecting male and female flowers is difficult.
- The Brazilian pepper tree bears fruits and red berries, which are small, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter. These glossy green berries turn to red berries as they ripen.
- The sap of This tree is fragrant and resinous, resembling the scent of turpentine. When exposed to air, it darkens and takes on a blackish hue.
Uses of the Brazilian pepper tree
- The Brazilian Pepper Tree has been utilized for various purposes throughout history. Its bright red berries, often mistaken for ‘peppercorns’, have been used as a spice in culinary practices, despite not being a true pepper. The plant has also been used in traditional medicine, particularly in its native regions.
- The bark, leaves, and fruit are believed to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties.
- For example, this can treat tumors, gout, syphilis, and rheumatism.
- In traditional use, the leaves of fruits of the Brazilian pepper tree are used in baths for healing open wounds and ulcers.
- Leaves of the tree in South Africa are used to treat colds. In Argentina, it has respiratory and urinary infections.
- This tree is known for its astringent, antibacterial, diuretic, digestive stimulant, tonic, and antiviral.
- In Peru, the sap is utilized as a gentle laxative and diuretic, while the entire plant is applied externally for treating fractures and as a topical antiseptic.
- The decoction made of dried leaves of the Brazilian pepper tree is used to treat menstrual disorders in Argentina.
- In addition, the Brazilian pepper is often used for ornamental purposes due to its attractive foliage and clusters of bright red berries that mature from December to January and can be used as Christmas decorations. It also is a popular choice for landscaping in subtropical and tropical regions.
The biological threat of Brazilian pepper tree
- Despite its uses, the Brazilian pepper tree is considered an aggressive plant since it prevents the growth of other plants, such as grasses and shrubs, and does not let them receive enough sunlight.
- Its invasive effects are detrimental to plants and animal communities as it affects the quality of their life.
- It is considered an invasive species in the United States, particularly in Florida. The tree’s rapid growth and prolific seed production allow it to outcompete native vegetation, leading to a decrease in biodiversity.
- The Brazilian pepper tree, a member of the Anacardiaceae family, has other members, like oak and ivy, which are poisonous.
- The tree also contains a chemical called urushiol, which can cause skin and respiratory irritation in humans and is toxic to many animals.
- Once this chemical becomes mixed with the tree’s invasive nature, this can lead to significant detrimental effects on local ecosystems.
How to control the Brazilian pepper tree?
- To control and manage the spread of the Brazilian pepper tree, you need to apply multi-faceted approaches.
- Physical removal is one method, but it should be combined with applying herbicides containing glyphosate or triclopyr to the cut area. Or you can also add triclopyr with penetrating oil to the base of the bark.
- When you apply herbicide to the tree, consider minimizing harm to non-target species and the surrounding environment.
- Burning the entire plant can be less effective than mixed approaches since the Brazilian Peppertree can regrow from the root, and you should be sure that the tree’s root remains intact.
The last words
The Brazilian pepper or aroeira rose pepper is a small evergreen tree or shrub native to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.
An attractive appearance makes it one of the best options for ornamental purposes. Despite its various uses, it has invasive nature poses significant ecological threats.
Therefore, it is crucial to apply effective control measures to prevent its spread and some allergic effects on local people.
We hope you find this article on the uses of the Brazilian pepper tree helpful. If you or someone you know has experienced allergies due to Brazilian Peppertree, we would appreciate hearing about your experience. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.”