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Glossary

Last Updated: Spring 2012


Synonyms: NONE

Family: Anacardiaceae

Home Range/U.S. Introduction:
Brazilian peppertree (also known as Christmas berry) is native to Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. In the United States, it has been introduced into Florida, Texas, and California as well as Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

U.S. Range Map:



USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 18 June 2012). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Species Description:
Brazilian peppertree is a dioecious shrub or small tree reaching 10 meters. The short trunk is topped by a dense growth of contorted intertwining branches. The alternate leaves are compound with 3-13 sessile, oblong finely toothed leaflets. The rachis is distinctly winged. When crushed, the leaves smell of turpentine. The white flowers are very small and develop in tightly branched terminal and axillary clusters. The fruit is a bright red globose drupe.

Habitat/Growth Characteristics:
The semitropical to tropical shrub invades hammocks, pine flatlands, and mangrove forest communities. The seeds are easily dispersed by birds and mammals and retain high viability for several months.

Problems:
Brazilian peppertree is an aggressive invader that out-competes and displaces native plants. It readily forms monocultures, thereby destroying the native ecologically productive communities.