Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Schinus molle
L., Anacardiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 10 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: California pepper tree, pepper tree, pepperina, Peruvian mastictree, Peruvian peppertree

French: faux poivrier, molée des jardins, poivrier d'Amérique

Spanish: aguaribai, molle, pimientero de perú, pimientero falso, pirul

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Trees 5-15 m tall, with slender drooping branches forming a spreading crown. Leaves with 7-20 pairs of opposite or alternate leaflets, these narrowly lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 1.5-5 (-6) cm long, 0.2-0.7 cm wide, terminal leaflet smaller than lateral ones, glabrous to sparsely puberulent, margins entire to remotely serrate. Sepals deltate, ca. 0.4 mm long; petals yellowish-white, narrowly ovate, 1.5-2 mm long; styles and stigmas 3. Drupes lavender to pink, 6-8 mm in diameter" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 198).

Habitat/ecology:  "Forests, grass- and shrubland, riverbanks, coastal dunes and beaches.  This fast growing and drought resistant tree grows in elevations up to 2,100 m in Kenya.  It is freely coppicing and forms extensive species-poor stands that shade out all native vegetation.  Since the soil under the canopy remains bare and lacks a herbaceous ground flora, erosion can be accelerated in stands growing on slopes or near streams"  (Weber, 2003; p. 388). 

Dry forest and moist areas up to at least 4000 ft. elevation in Hawai‘i. Tolerant of poor soils and poor drainage. Withstands drought well. In Australia, "it is naturalised in riparian vegetation near Warwick (south-east Queensland) and appears to be spreading. It may have pest potential in dry temperate to tropical zones, primarily along the banks of watercourses. It appears tolerant of poor soils." (Csurhes & Edwards, 1998; p. 195). In New Zealand, "waste places, especially in coastal areas. Pepper tree is widely cultivated, especially in warmer coastal areas, and spontaneous plants occasionally occur in the vicinity of planted trees" (Webb et al., 1988; p. 110).

Propagation:  Seed, bird-dispersed.

Native range:  "Southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and northern Argentina and widely cultivated elsewhere; naturalized and cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics"  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 106).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Floreana Group
Floreana Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 198)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 198)
East Maui
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 195)
Naturalized
Chile (continental)
Chile
Chile (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 110)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
South Africa
South Africa
South Africa (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Henderson, Lesley (1995) (p. 177)

Control: 

Physical:  "Seedlings and saplings can be dug out".

Chemical:  "Larger trees are cut and the cut stumps treated with herbicide.  The drill-fill method is also effective.  Follow-up treatments are necessary to control regrowth.  Fruit bearing trees should be removed first to prevent seed dispersal"  (Weber, 2003; p. 388).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 2 NOV 2011.