Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Schinus terebinthifolius
Raddi, Anacardiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results: 

High risk, score: 19 (Go to the risk assessment (Pacific))
Reject, score: 19 (Go to the risk assessment (U.S. (Florida)))

Common name(s): [more details]

English: Brazilian pepper, Christmas berry, Florida holly

Fijian: warui

French: baie rose, encent, faux poivre du Brésil, faux poivrier, poivre marron, poivre rose, poivrier d'Amérique

Hawaiian: naniohilo, wilelaiki

Spanish: copal, pimienta de Brasil

Habit:  tree

Description:  "A multiple-stemmed evergreen shrub or small tree, usually 2 to 6 m in height and 3 to 12 cm in stem diameter. A few individuals of the species develop large central stems and a dense growth of low limbs and basal sprouts. The bark is smooth and gray. Wounds in the stem and twigs exude a resinous sap that turns black on exposure to air. The alternate, compound leaves have a rachis 3 to 14 cm long, often winged, with five to nine leaflets. The leaflets are 1.5 to 7.5 cm long, lanceolate to elliptic, pointed at each end, with entire to serrate edges. The midribs, rachis, and petiole are often reddish, especially when young. Crushed foliage smells like turpentine. The inflorescences (panicles) are mostly born in the leaf axils near the twig ends and contain many small white flowers. Male and female flowers are borne on different plants (dioecious). The fruits are bright-red, fleshy drupes 4 to 6.5 mm in diameter with an aromatic brown pulp and an elliptic light brown stone (Liogier 1988, Long and Lakela 1976, National Parks Service 2002)" 

"Evergreen shrub or tree 3-6 (-15) m high, with wide-spreading, horizontal branches.  Leaves:  Dark green with prominent pale veins above, paler below, glabrous, leaflets (5)-7-(13), oblong, rounded or bluntly pointed, sometimes very small, male and female flowers on separate trees, in tightly branched, terminal and axillary clusters.  Fruits:  Bright red, slightly fleshy, one-seeded, globose drupes"  (Henderson, 1995).

Habitat/ecology:  "Brazilian pepper tree is an aggressive pioneer species that quickly colonizes disturbed areas. The species has an intermediate tolerance of shade and can survive and grow slowly under forest canopies until disturbance releases it. Although seedlings are quickly killed by inundation, large plants can withstand up to 6 months of flooding. It is very drought resistant. Brazilian pepper tree also survives fire well and can withstand high winds without significant damage. It is apparently at home in tropical, Mediterranean, and desert climates (National Parks Service 2002). In Puerto Rico, the species is most common in low-elevation, moist limestone areas and nearby coastal plains. In Florida, it grows in mangrove associations, hammocks, pinelands, old fields, and disturbed areas (Long and Lakela 1976)"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

"The low-growing, evergreen, deciduous tree is an aggressive invader of most mesic to wet lowland environments. It shades out other plants, as well as preventing reestablishment of other species due to the release of allelopathic substances (Gogue, Hurst, and Bancroft, 1974).  "Primarily invades degraded sites and the early successional stages of wetland and riparian vegetation, but may also become established in more mature communities" (Csurhes & Edwards, 1998; p. 196). 

The species is widely distributed in lowland areas of Hawai‘i" (Smith, 1985; p. 459).  In Hawai‘i, "Naturalized in usually mesic, disturbed areas, 3-920 m"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 198); "grows densely in drier mesic pastures and forests"  (Motooka et al., 2003); "thrives in sunny, dry, leeward areas, and it can take over pastures, roadsides, and vacant lots as well as invade forests" (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 106).  In Queensland, Australia, "dense infestations occur on waterlogged or poorly drained soils in coastal areas.  It can rapidly colonise disturbed bushland in low-lying areas and may suppress establishment of native vegetation. In the latter habitats, S. terebinthifolius may replace various species of grasses, sedges and other ground plants.  Fire does not appear to control the plant as it has been observed to quickly regrow from the base." (Csurhes & Edwards, 1998; p. 196). In New Caledonia, "devenu localement abondant dans la végétation secondaire" (MacKee, 1994; p. 14).

Propagation:  "Seeds are spread by birds and mammals and germinate readily; recruitment from seed is rapid"  (Weber, 2003; p. 389).  The fruit is especially favored by frugivorous birds.

Native range:  South America, probably eastern and southern Brazil, but now widespread in cultivation and often naturalized. (Smith, 1985; p. 459).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1994) (voucher ID: PTBG 43331)
Taxon name on voucher: Schinus terebinthifolius
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Norfolk Islands
Norfolk Island introduced
invasive
Ziesing, P. (1997) (pp. 26-27)
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Norfolk Islands
Norfolk Island introduced
invasive
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 7)
"Common, and a serious weed". Voucher cited: G. Uhe 1150 (K)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (p. 459)
Vouchers cited: DA 5976, 8300, 17430
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1949) (voucher ID: BISH 15193)
Taxon name on voucher: Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1970) (voucher ID: BISH 147531)
Taxon name on voucher: Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Hiva Oa Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Wagner, Warren L. (2013)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island   Fosberg, F. R. (1997) (p. 4)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 94)
"Potential invader".
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 2628 (PAP)
Cultivée. Menace pour la biodiversité.
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
invasive
Stone, Benjamin C. (1970) (pp. 390-391)
Uncommon.
Naturalized
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 146)
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1954) (voucher ID: BISH 128988)
Taxon name on voucher: Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1980) (voucher ID: BISH 647714)
Taxon name on voucher: Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi
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
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 198)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i 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)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 198)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 198)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
invasive
Toyoda, Takeshi (2003) (p. 283)
Naturalized
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 146)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. (1999) (p. 98)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1998) (voucher ID: PTBG 46184)
Taxon name on voucher: Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi
New Caledonia
Îles Loyauté (Loyalte Islands)
Îles Loyauté (Loyalty Islands) introduced
invasive
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 100)
"Coastal habitats"
New Caledonia
Îles Loyauté (Loyalte Islands)
Île Lifou introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 14)
Vouchers cited: Sarasin 756, MacKee 27246
New Caledonia
Îles Loyauté (Loyalte Islands)
Îles Ouvéa (Ouvea Atoll) introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 14)
Voucher cited: Däniker 1894
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands introduced
invasive
cultivated
Gargominy, Oliver/Bouchet, Philipe/Pascal, Michel/Jaffre, Tanguy/Tourneu, Jean-Christophe (1996) (p. 379)
Devenue localement abondante dans les formations secondaires.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 14)
Vouchers cited: Brousmiche s.n., Compton 136 (BM), MacKee 2162, Stauffer 5715 (NOU)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île des Pins (Isle of Pines) introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 14)
Voucher cited: Denizot s.n., MacKee 23466
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Western Samoa Islands   Waterhouse, D. F. (1997) (p. 65)
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Johnston Atoll
Johnston Island introduced
cultivated
Amerson, A. Binion, Jr./Shelton, Philip C. (1976) (p. 57)
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Midway Atoll
Midway Atoll introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 198)
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Midway Atoll
Sand Island   Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd (2008) (p. 24)
Not seen in this survey, probably eradicated.
Vanuatu
New Hebrides Islands
Êfaté (Efete) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1977) (voucher ID: BISH 415781)
Taxon name on voucher: Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi
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)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 196)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 196)
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 197)
Ornamental.
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 186)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
cultivated
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 110)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 77)
Cultivated only
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
MacDonald, I. A. W./Thebaud, C./Strahm, W. A./Strasberg, D. (1991) (pp. 51-61)
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
Lavergne, Christophe (2006)
"Très envahissant"
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
Kueffer, C./Lavergne, C. (2004) (p. 4)
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
Baret, Stephane/Rouget, Mathieu/Richardson, David M./Lavergne, Christophe/Egoh, Benis/Dupont, Joel/Strasberg, Dominique (2006) (p. 758)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
invasive
Cronk, Q. C. B./Fuller, J. L. (2001) (p. 194)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
invasive
Kueffer, C./Mauremootoo, J. (2004) (p. 6)
French Territory of Mayotte
Mayotte Islands
Mayotte Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Comité français de l'Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature en France (2013)
Naturalisée, potentiellement envahissant.
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
Cronk, Q. C. B./Fuller, J. L. (2001) (p. 94)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  A major problem species in Hawai‘i and Florida.

Planting of this species in the State of Florida (U.S.) is prohibited by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Hunsberger, 2001).

Control:  Additional control information from the Bugwood Wiki.

Physical: Seedlings and saplings can be hand pulled. "Cattle avoid Christmasberry but birds spread the seed.  Seeds do not germinate while in the fruit and will retain viability for no more than 9 months.  Thus, ingestion by birds is critical not only for dispersal but also for pulp removal and germination.  This suggests that eradicating small, isolated stands is possible.  Goats will control Christmasberry (An Peischel)"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Chemical: Basal application of a triclopyr herbicide mixed with an oil diluent (Hammer, 1996).

"Sensitive to foliar applications of imazapyr and to foliar and cut surface applications of triclopyr, dicamba and glyphosate, and to basal bark applications of triclopyr. Not sensitive to 2,4-D.  Sensitive to soil application of tebuthiuron and hexazinone.  Kline and Duquesnel reported excellent control with triclopyr ester/oil applied basal bark at 10% of product, triclopyr amine at 50% of product in water applied to cut surfaces, and imazapyr at 1% of product in water applied as foliar sprays.  HAVO staff reported control with triclopyr ester at 5% of product in diesel oil applied to basal bark (Chris Zimmer, HAVO).  Good control was achieved with high-volume foliar application of a 1% solution of triclopyr amine product.  The National Park Service in Big Cypress National Reserve, Florida, used high-volume spraying of triclopyr ester at 2.5 lb/acre.  For plants close to native ones, basal bark treatments are made with a 20% triclopyr ester product in oil.  Reported sensitive to cut-surface applications of dicamba, glyphosate, and picloram"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

"Foliar and particularly basal bark applications of herbicides kill the plant slowly, compared to mechanical treatments, allowing other plants to respond to increasing light and moisture availability over a couple of weeks. If desirable, the dead stem can be left to provide shade for plants coming in to replace the dead Schinus." (Duane Nelson, communication to ALLISCS listserver).

Biological: Biological control information from the publication "Biological control of invasive plants in the eastern United States".

Several native pests from Brazil have been released in Hawai‘i, but seem to be having little effect (Cronk & Fuller, 2001, pp. 194-195; Julien, 1992, p. 3).

"In the 1950s and 1960s, three insects from Brazil were released in Hawaii to control Schinus terebinthifolius (Christmasberry): a leaf-rolling moth, Episimus utilis; a seed-feeding beetle, Lithraeus atronotatus; and a stem-galling moth, Crasimorpha infuscate. The leaf-roller and beetle became established but had little effect. A seed-feeding wasp, Megastigmus transvaalensis, was accidentally introduced to Hawaii from South Africa in the early 1970s, and can cause up to 80% mortality to Christmasberry seed. This wasp may be now controlling the spread of Christmasberry in Hawaii. Other potential biological control agents for Christmasberry have been tested, including the sawfly Heteroperreyia hubrichi and the fungal pathogen Septoria schinii. Both these agents also affect the native plant Rhus sandwicensis, which--like Schinus--is in the Anardiaceae family. Because of the risk to the native species, the pathogen is no longer under consideration as a biological control agent. Further testing of the sawfly is recommended"  (Biological control in Hawai‘i).


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 4 JUL 2012.